This settled in my soul after reading it today.  It is, I suspect, best understood by Catholics who spent some time as children in and waiting to go in a confessional.  That said, it seems to be universally instructive:

Teaching a Child the Art of Confession – David Shumate

“It is best not to begin with Adam and Eve.  Original sin is baffling, even for the most sophisticated minds.  Besides, children are frightened of naked people and apples.  Instead, start with the talking snake.  Children like to hear what animals have to say.  Let him hiss for a while and then tell his own tale.  They’ll figure him out in the end.  Describe sin simply as those acts which can cause suffering and leave it at that.  Steer clear of musty confessionals.  Children associate them with outhouses.  Leave Hell out of the discussion.  They’ll be able to describe it on their own terms soon enough.  If they feel the need to apologize for some transgression, tell them that one of the offices of the moon is to forgive.  As for the priest, let him slumber a while more.”

That could have been useful knowledge to me back in my grade-school years at St. Anne’s, but in reality, it would have gone over my head.  Some things can be learned only looking at my reflection in the mirror and noticing what is behind me.

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