St. John of the Cross was a sixteenth century Spanish mystic and a Discalced Carmelite. His feast day is December 14. He was the spiritual director for St. Teresa of Avila and cooperated with her in reforming the Carmelites. He faced opposition and even imprisonment for his work. During his time in prison, he composed a poem called the Spiritual Canticle. Part of this poem goes:
“We must dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.”
This portion can be a beautiful prayer on its own.
So one way to introduce St. John of the Cross and his beautiful poetry to very young children is to accompany it with a few mining activities. Also talk about the treasures we can find when we “dig deeply into Christ.”
Pan for Gold
Teach your children the prayer and then have them find their own treasures by panning for “gold”. The gold in this activity are painted rocks. Mix them in a sandbox and then let your kids use traditional panning methods to separate out the “gold”. Read how to do this activity.
Make a “gem” mosaic
Purchase some inexpensive sparkly mosaic tiles. Let children arrange them and glue them onto cardboard or photo frames. Give them away as a gift to remind a friend or loved one that they are a treasure.
Play “ROCK ON!”
ROCK ON! combines game play and rock collecting. Kids can learn about geology, have fun, and learn to appreciate the wonders of God’s creation all at once. Great for your STREAM curriculum (Science Technology Religion Engineering Art and Mathematics). Don’t forget to tie it in with the prayer above about mining and how digging deeply into Christ can help us find beauty in the “rocks” in our lives. Get the game.