During the month of May we’ll be highlighting our Marian dolls (which are all on sale this month!) and exploring how through play based learning we can plant a seed of faith in our children that will truly last a lifetime. Today we look at Our Lady of Knock!
The apparition of Our Lady in Knock, Ireland, came at a time when the people desperately needed some consolation. After years of persecution and famine, many in that country were losing hope. The appearance of Our Lady reassured the people that God had not forgotten them, but the really interesting thing about the apparition is that Mary didn’t speak a single word.
Many people nowadays, children and adults, are profoundly uncomfortable with silence. Our lives are full of digital distractions and days that are scheduled down to the minute. Moments of quiet and stillness are rare- but they shouldn’t be!
Why would Mary appear and not say anything? Maybe that was her point. That sometimes we don’t have to be “saying” or “doing” anything. Taking time out of our day to be silent, to be present, is how we reconnect with God.
God is always with us, present to us in every moment. We may not hear him, we may not see him, but he’s always there. When Our Lady of Knock appeared to the Irish people it gave them courage to go on- her presence was a reminder that God IS with us. He is always present, in our struggles, in our pain, and in our joys. He never forgets us, he never leaves us- and we can find him in the silence.
When Elijah was in the cave waiting for God he ignored the earthquake and the fire- but recognized the voice of God in a “still small voice.” We don’t have to suffer alone thinking God has forgotten us because nothing “amazing” is happening. God is there, waiting for us, in the present moment. In the Bible God tells us, “Be still and Know I am God.”
A really amazing way to teach children to practice silence is through Eucharistic adoration. Simply being in the presence of God, free from the distractions of everyday life, and allowing him to move in our hearts.
Sitting in silence, in the presence of God, is a powerful way to train ourselves to remember that we are always in the presence of God- because he is always with us, and as St. Augustine says, God is “Him who dwells within us.”
Interestingly enough, scientific studies have shown that silence encourages the brain to create new cells in the hippocampus. Silence can literally grow your brain! And the hippocampus is the area of the brain, which controls learning, memory, emotion and mood.
Spending time with God in silence is not only good for the soul, but it is good for health and development. Amazing!
Our Lady of Knock is a powerful reminder that God is always with us, he isn’t just “something that happened a long time ago.” We can still find him, in our hearts, in the Eucharist, in the Church, and in the silence.
This is just one example of how to use this story to explore and expand on an aspect of our faith. Together with your child, I’m sure you will discover even more! God bless!