“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’ (Matthew 13:31-32).
We know that this passage refers to the Church, who is the kingdom of heaven. It starts so small and grows big enough for all peoples and cultures to make nests on her branches. But this passage, however, can also be likened to children.
Children are also like small mustard seeds that so often show us how great they can truly be.
These little ones often inspire us with their incredible simplicity, with their quick readiness to believe, and, most especially, with their almost unparalleled docility to those who instruct them.
It is massively important to remember when dealing with children and the topic of Catholic prayers for children, that children who have been baptized (thus no longer having any stain of original sin) and have not yet reached the age of reason to be able to commit their own personal sin, remain completely spotless and utterly uninhibited to receive God in His fullness.
We need to get children praying for everything!
Each and every one of them are small spiritual powerhouses that have the power to speak a thousand words with little to no effort. It is no wonder that Jesus says, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
Kids have so much to teach us. Jesus often complains about how people around Him took so long to come to believe:
Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! (Luke 24:25)
In this respect, we must believe with the willing faith of children. Children have the gift of believing before understanding. They believe so that they can understand. This, of course, is the ancient adage of the Church: “Fides quaerens intellectum” (faith seeking understanding).
Notice how it is that children come to believe in almost anything — It all begins with wonder!
They see the miraculous and the spiritual well before they see the mundane. They are moved from wonder, into belief, and finally into an unquenchable thirst of discovery that often takes the form of the endless string of “Why?”
Sofia Cavalletti, one of the greatest catechists of children in the twentieth century said,
It has been observed that “early childhood develops under the sign of wonder”; for the child everything is a source of wonder because everything is new. Wonder is an exceedingly important stimulus for the human spirit, so much so that Plato said, “This sense of wonder is the mark of the philosopher. Philosophy indeed has no other origin. (The Religious Potential of the Child, 138).
Catholic Prayers for Children
I encourage you, therefore, those of you that have received the blessing of children, to bring them to prayer often. We must nurture the little mustard seed that is naturally born inside them and bring that seed to its natural end of being a great tree where the birds of the air can make their nests. The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
With guidance, these children can grow from being the normative philosophers to the next generation of the Church’s saints! May we learn from them with great zeal, for
Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3-4).