Sharing Scripture with Children
1. If you have a sacred space in your home, sit comfortably with your children there. If not, sit together where there is a sacred image or crucifix that everyone can see or in some other peaceful setting with few distractions.
2. Little children can have something to keep them seated and busy. This can be a basket of rosaries, holy cards, religious picture books or coloring books/pages – ideally it is something oriented toward the faith that will keep their fingers busy while they listen to the words of Scripture.
3. It can be difficult to know where to begin reading Scripture with your children, so you can simply start with the daily Mass readings which can easily be found in a missal or online. The daily readings offer us the opportunity to hear an Old Testament reading, a psalm, an epistle and a Gospel passage each day and can provide interesting discussion as to how the readings are all connected.
4. Before you begin reading, guide your children to quiet their minds, bodies and voices. You can explain that we can best hear from God in the quiet moments, so we need to still our thoughts and open our hearts to hear what God will share with us as we listen to his Word.
5. Before you read, ask your children to listen carefully to each reading, trying to picture in their mind’s eye the scene and the people being described. Your children have incredible imaginations; ask God to open up their hearts through the gift of their imagination.
6. Begin by making the sign of the cross together and offer a simple prayer thanking God for the day, for the opportunity to be together and for the gift of his sacred Scriptures.
7. Read each of the readings slowly, allowing for time to think and reflect in between, but remaining quiet and thoughtful until all of the Scriptures are read. One or both parents can do all of the readings, or if you have older children, it is good to allow them to read as well.
8. Once all of the Scriptures are read, allow your children to respond to what they heard. Thank them for their responses. If they are shy, ask if they have any questions. For older children, you can encourage them to look for connections or themes between the different readings, and to wonder what God is saying to them. Some questions to ask:
- I wonder what it was like for the people who were there?
- Did a certain detail from the reading stand out to you?
- I wonder what God is trying to tell us in the reading?
9. End with prayer, asking God to keep his Word in our hearts and help us learn from it. This is also a good time to ask for the intercession of Mary and the saints – especially of a saint whose feast day it is. Pray also for any intentions you and your children might have.