First Reconciliation

70 x 7 = forgiveness/a Divine Act

Preparation for the celebration of Reconciliation enters its eighth week.  In the initial weeks of the process, the children dedicated time to count their blessings, both in class and at home. The children’s responses embraced family and friends, food on the table, plants and animals, the earth, learning and school, legos, swimming lessons to name a few. Yes, these dear children are blessed, and they know it.  The earlier lessons cultivated a sense of gratitude.

Fast forward five weeks, and our last  lesson the children were intentionally counting and placing 70 beans in little plastic snack bags. This sensory activity drew on the question of Peter to Jesus, “How often should I forgive my brother, seven times?”  Peter thought his response was going above and beyond. However, Jesus expects more; the children got it. The story of forgiveness prompted much discussion. According to the story- what’s the point? One little boy shouted out, “We must FORGIVE ALWAYS.” These are those teachable moments, when God’s Self-gift of grace touches the hearts of these dear children.
God only knows what was stirring in their hearts as they carefully counted each little bean – one. . . two . . . three . .  The take away – a little bag filled with 70 beans to remind us:
    • God will always always forgive us!
    • We must forgive always!
    • To forgive another is a divine act flowing from our response to God’s grace.

The children returned home with their little plastic snack bag filled with 70 beans.  It’s at home where this Gospel takes on flesh and blood. Forgive your brother, forgive your sister, forgive your spouse, forgive your partner, forgive your child, your mother, your father seventy times seven says Jesus.

Throughout the week, let’s us pray that we may be ever responsive to God’s Self-gift of grace in our lives and in the lives of our children.  Expect those teachable moments to talk about forgiveness with your child.

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