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Ave Maria Salad and the Religious Life of a Toddler

Ave Maria Salad and the Religious Life of a Toddler

The Hail Mary is definitely Bella’s favorite prayer. She says it all the time: when she’s flipping through a book, when she’s playing with dolly and making dolly ‘say grace,’ when she hears an ambulance, when she sees a statue of Mary, sometimes for no apparent reason at all. Of course her version is just a jumble of various words. Tonight listening to it, I called it an Ave Maria salad: just toss and serve.

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When Bella hears chant playing, she says, “Music. Music in church.” Not sure how she made that connection since to the best of my knowledge she’s never heard chant at Mass. Also the Pope John Paul II cd came up in the iTunes shuffle today and I told Bella, “That’s Pope John Paul praying.” She repeated it back to me adding, “That’s John Paul praying at Mass.” I definitely didn’t tell her that. How she’s able to make these connections mystifies me.

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I’ve taught her to say, “Pray for us,” as she looks at and names the various images of saints on her holy cards. One day while she was playing with my necklaces, she held my miraculous medal and said, “That’s Holy Mary,” as I’d told her, then spontaneously added, “Holy Mary, pray for us.” Then looking at my cross, she said, “Jesus on the cross. Jesus, pray for us.” Not thinking that was entirely appropriate, I taught her to say, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Now she sweetly says, “Jesus, I trust in you,”  not only when looking at my cross but spontaneously throughout the day. It is so sweet, makes my heart melt.

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