Last night, my one year old walked over to our window sill, grabbed the icon of St. Cecilia, placed it on the floor, got down on both knees and bent over and kissed it, then scampered off to chew on something. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised being that he is baptized/chrismated and communes at every liturgy, but it just took us by surprise. It was very heartwarming, so I thought I'd share
Anyone else with children have similar experiences?
Not my kids, but two stories worth retelling:http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,52627.msg964949.html#msg964949
A memorial service at the church I attend was to be held for an anniversary of the death of a very close relative. Family and friends turned up for it, including a woman of Italian stock, with her two-year-old. The little guy regularly attended RC mass with his parents, their 1970s church is plain and modern inside, with the obligatory crosses, crucifixes, and statues of the Virgin and Jesus.http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,52627.msg962714.html#msg962714
The Orthodox church where the memorial was being held is utterly different to that family's parish church. Though the buildings are about the same age, the Orthodox one is highly authentic in its historic architecture, and its internal walls, pillars and ceiling are fully painted with traditional-style icons. Dozens of portable icons also hang on the lower sections of the walls. The tot had never set foot in an Orthodox church before, and he was wide-eyed at the spectacle, gazing everywhere, and going from icon to icon. His little voice, soft but clear, could be heard from time to time. "Gesu!" at this icon of Christ. "Mama Gesu!" at that icon of the Mother of God. He did a lap of the nave, recognizing Christ and His Mother as he went.
He toddled back to his mom, who was standing near me, and next to a large and very beautiful icon of the Mother of God of Tenderness. The little fellow gazed for quite some time at the icon. He turned to his mom, and said: "Mama Gesu. Love."
There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
There's a young couple that comes very regularly to church, with their little daughter, who's probably not yet two. As cute as they come, and, while she wanders around church as little ones often do, she's always quiet and never disruptive. Last Sunday, there she was, in a pink hooded coat and bright red boots. I spotted her standing in front of the central icon stand.
She was trying to cross herself. She was getting it all wrong, but the concentration in her little face, and the pauses she took before touching her fingers to her forehead, or shoulders, or chest were proof that It Didn't Matter. Then, after a couple of minutes of "crossing" herself, the next step was to venerate the icon. Which was a good foot above her head. No problem. The little sweetie simply leaned forward, and kissed the drape on the icon stand. She bowed her head, then trotted off to where her father was standing.
I'm sure the Mother of God, and all the saints and angels must have been smiling as they looked on.