Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Mother Nature Bedtime Story

Every night when I put my son to bed we say two prayers together: the St. Michael Prayer ("his" prayer) and another one ("my" prayer), which varies. The other night we were saying the Hail Mary and Ewan asked me:

"What's a womb?"
"The place where a baby grows in a mom's body."
"How can Jesus have a womb? He's a man."

Oh, I see the confusion. Like the difference between "Let's eat, Grandma!" and "Let's eat Grandma!" he hears the prayer as saying, "Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus!" forgetting that the entire prayer is addressed to someone else (Mary), not Jesus at all.

"In the Hail Mary prayer we are talking to Mary, Jesus' mother, so when we say "blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus," we are saying "blessed is your son, Jesus."
"Oh. What does fruit of the womb mean?"
"Like a tree makes fruit. An apple tree makes an apple. Mary is like a tree and Jesus is the fruit."

Connections sparking in his 9-year-old brain...

"And God is like the rain that makes the tree grow!"
"Sure, or maybe the Holy Spirit is like the rain?" I suggest, though like all analogies, it is also imperfect and fails to fully explain divine truth.

"OK, then God the Father is the Sun."
"Yep, that makes sense."

And then he comes up with another connection.

"There's also Mother Nature," he says.
"Hmm, Mother Nature is more an idea, not a real person," I say.
"Mother Nature is real too. Mary is Mother Nature."

Just when I thought this was going well, it seems like he's got his religion and mythology mixed. I start blaming myself for every fantasy-based cartoon and movie he's ever watched.

"Mary is Mother Nature because she makes everything beautiful," he concludes.


"Wow, Ewan, that makes me really happy that you understand things that way. Not everyone does!"

Even if it is not perfectly correct theology, it is great that he is making analogies to understand the Faith for himself and sees Mary as a beautiful mother who helps make the world more beautiful too.