by Carole Mertz

The young child learns her verses.
In catechism, she meets with her pastor
Each week as if it’s all new all
Over again, and speaking slowly
Thinking it through, she smiles

At verse’s end. No small feat to memorize–
The young child speaks her verses
Slowly and with dedicated thought, retaining
As much as possible, from week to week,
Acquiring a new kind of effort.

How strongly the verbum domini manet in
Aeternum speaks to us! Consider
How sweetly the young child speaks her verses
Rendered more precious by her strong effort
And showing us something we didn’t know:

We think back to our own days, the questions
We had, the stresses of learning,
Groping our way along through mysteries,
As young children speaking our verses
And trying to learn obedience.

Those verses we’d learned and thought forgotten
Are retained by us in our later days.
The recall of them becomes so important to us,
And recognized as such, and all because
The young child so sweetly speaks her verses.


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