“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will never depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
This verse has been the joy and hope of many a father and mother as they faithfully take their children to Mass or to Vacation Bible school, Catholic or Protestant, giving the children a solid basis of the love and worship of God. I remember always seeing a neighbor family with five children and one in arms dressed up neat and clean for Sunday mass. This nun, herself, was brought to church every Sunday and often in between. My family sought out a church and a Mass even when we were on vacation a long way from home! The tradition was continued in my own home before becoming a nun. Sometimes I hummed a verse learned from a hymn to encourage me through the day. Favorite hymns of mine were ‘I sing a song of the Saints of God patient and brave and true’ and ‘In Christ there is no east or west.’ Sometimes ‘Dear Lord and father of mankind forgive our foolish ways’ was more applicable!
So I am old now and I have not departed from it as the Bible verse states. At my first Compline service on my return to the Begijnhof, I was still in jet lag; we processed to the vestry to sing the customary Marian song either Salve Regina or Weesgegroet Maria, Hail Holy Queen in English, in front of the 12th century Mary statue. Ugh oh! I had not brought my book – a moment of panic. What would come out when I opened my mouth if anything?? This is supposed to be a peaceful, quiet and blessed moment of sweet singing to end the day of the church, our last song. But…. there they were….the words leaping from my mouth in praise of God and Mary as if there had not been a whole month of English in between! The words must have known from somewhere deep inside me that they were needed again and out they came. I too had been trained up to Praise God.