To be fair, we're meeting at 6 pm on a Sunday evening. By that time of the day, we're all tired, especially me. If I could find a video and press play, so that I could sit back and relax, I would. But that goes against what I'm trying to do. So instead, we try to cover the material that is in the books we bought from the church (in case we go back to actual RE classes, they will have covered everything) and then go ahead and discuss topics that I think will be interesting for the kids. It's the other subjects that have me worried.
For example, we talked a little about saints last night. I've grown up believing in saints, invoking the help of St. Anthony when I can't find something (he's always come through, by the way, except with respect to Fried Chicken Monkey, which means, I did actually give the beast away...shame on me), or whispering a few words to St. Jude, St. Theresa, a small list of other ones. So we did some internet digging, just to see what we could find on saints. Amazingly, the people that write the For Dummies books have a Catholicism for Dummies text. Here's a small sample of what we read:
First of all, a clarification: The Catholic Church doesn’t make saints like Hollywood makes movie stars. Catholic saints are men and women who lived holy lives in obedience to God’s will, and they became saints at the moment they entered heaven. However, the Church does recognize those souls that the Church can confirm are in heaven as saints.This paragraph got me and, by default, the kids, thinking. First of all, what is heaven to the kids? And second of all, how does the Church confirm that the souls of these people are in heaven? I went ahead and asked the kids what they thought heaven was like. I wanted to hear what they had to say. All five of them gave me a standard answer, one that involved clouds and gates and everything anyone wanted. But at that point, they started to get a little silly. Each one tried to outdo the other one, and as I sat watching the kids describe their own person heaven, I wanted to roll my eyes, rap my ruler on their knuckles, and move on. I didn't do any of that, by the way. Instead, I made them wrap up the conversation and watch a short video that showed a tour of the Catholic Church. The video calmed them down enough that when it was time to go, we were back to normal.
Thankfully, we never got around to answering the second question: How does the Church confirm that the souls of the saints are in heaven? Care to take a guess? Because that is beyond my level of understanding, and one that I think I'd never find a satisfactory answer. I choose to believe in God and the saints, but I'm not certain anyone can give me proof that the souls of the saints are in heaven. Do they call up St. Peter and ask for a roster? You tell me.
All I know is that by the end of this academic year with these five kids, I might very well be able to prove that I've lead a life of heroic virtue. If I can come up with a miracle that can be attributed to me, perhaps someday I'll be on the path to sainthood, too.