These days, creepy occult characters, pseudo-mystics and Harry Potter-ish dudes are “chumming up” to our super-innocent, vulnerable kids. They are mesmerizing them; entrancing them with the charms of the world of darkness and the culture of death. And, sadly, they are good at it. By catching hold of our babes early on, they are able to sow their rotten seeds into their hearts, minds and souls. 

But they are no match for the Holy Spirit. By winning our children's hearts over with the awesome power of the Holy Spirit, we can help bring them into the safety of the Father's eternal embrace. 

I believe the “S.O.S” when it comes to the occult doesn't just lie in defense. I believe we must be more aggressive than that. We must do all in our capacity to bring our children in touch with the mind-blowing, life-giving, phenomenal power of the Holy Spirit. They long to be fascinated with the supernatural, so let them be. But let it be the right kind of “supernatural.”

Nothing is more extraordinary and intriguing than “tongues of fire” speaking miraculously on the birthday of God's Church, Padre Pio bilocating, or St. Joseph of Cupertino levitating. All people, especially children, have a desperate hunger to communicate with a power far beyond themselves, and find peace on this jagged and taxing earthly journey. Instead of being threatened by this hunger that our children have, and the negative things they may be turning to in order to satiate it, let us use this hunger to their spiritual advantage. Let us fill this hunger with the love of God; with the eminent melodies of sacred music, the sight of holy images, and tales of the Truth that will set them free. By acquainting their impressionable souls with this friend on high, we will help them conquer the darkness that threatens them with the Divine Light. 

With Pentecost coming up on May 20, now is the perfect time for us parents to “roll with” the power of this feast of feasts. As Mary Reed Newland, mother of seven and prolific Catholic author, once wrote in The Year and Our Children:

“We have learned so much about our bodies, and so little about our souls. To study the liturgy for Pentecost – the feast of the Holy Spirit, will profit us in only the most meager way if we do not make a continual effort to know the Holy Spirit... Let us strive to know the Holy Spirit and His work, for He is our sanctifier. Then on Pentecost we will understand what it means that He pours forth His grace upon us.” 

She then goes on to explain some innovative ways to celebrate Pentecost with our children at our side:

“During the preparation for the feast, children can learn the gifts and fruits [of the Holy Spirit] by making their own mobiles with wire clothes hangers. Tie a wire clothes hanger to a string, use it as is or bend it into an interesting shape, or suspend additional hangers from it. Let the children cut doves, candles, flames, circles, or other shapes from heavy paper and letter on them the gifts and the fruits.”

Newland also suggests writing the gifts and fruits of the Spirit on paper doves, and having each member of the family choose one, blindfolded. Throughout the following year, each person can try to come to understand and embrace the fruit and gift that they chose. More ideas for celebrating Pentecost as a family can be found here. Some informative children's books to read in honor of Pentecost are: The Very First Christians by Paul L. Maier, The Pentecost Story (Arch Books), The Gifts of the Holy Spirit and The Holy Spirit, both by Rev. Lovasik; the Saving Name of God the Son by Jean Ann Sharpe, and the Adventures of St. Paul (book and DVD) by the Daughters of St. Paul. A Coloring Book About the Holy Spirit by Catholic Book Publishing can provide a prayerful pastime for little hands as well. 

The April 2018 Magnificat daily devotional features a beautiful new collection of prayers known as the “Via Lucis,” or the “Way of Light.” These unique prayers highlight the spiritual tenets of the Easter Season and provide meditations to help the soul bask in its glorious graces. The Via Lucis could be prayed as a family in preparation for Pentecost. Further, a good novena to pray with our families in preparation for Pentecost can be found here.

Recently, Cardinal Sarah, Prefect for the Congregation of Faith and the Discipline of the Sacraments, chose to mark the Monday following Pentecost as a new memorial in celebration of Mary, Mother of the Church (for more information, visit this website). Cardinal Sarah said he hopes this memorial “will remind all Christ’s disciples that, if we want to grow and to be filled with the love of God, it is necessary to plant our life firmly on three great realities: the Cross, the Eucharist and the Mother of God.” Honoring the dawn of this feast day with our children will show them that we not only love the Holy Spirit, but we also love the Church He brought forth into the world through Mary.

This year, let us celebrate Pentecost like it deserves to be celebrated – with serious zeal – a little like the first disciples did. Let's roll with its power and let it do the work for us. Our children will witness the embers of His grace, burning within us, afire in our domestic churches. Are not our hearts, burning within us? Are not our hearts, lighted with fire?