Last week, in the run up to Pentecost, I was struck by some of the images used in the readings from the Saints in the Office. I have turned some of them into guided meditations to use with children. Images can be useful as they can go beyond words. Sometimes, in the Spiritual life our experience of God is difficult to explain and we struggle with words. Offering these images to children will mean that they have a store to draw on as they encounter God now and in the future. In each mediation there will be extracts from the reading that inspired each image. This can be omitted for younger children. The first image is of rain.

Close your eyes.

Imagine a dry hillside. It hasn’t rained for a long time. Have a look around you. What can you see?

There is a tree a little way away. Walk towards it. It looks dry and the leaves are drooping. The ground around it is dry.


As you walk, it starts raining.


As you stand in the rain, look at what is happening to the tree. It is changing. As the rain gets harder you might want to stand and get wet or shelter under the tree.


What we see happening to the tree, is like what happens to us when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.

(For older children: St Cyril of Jerusalem wrote “Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit.”)

As the rain stops, walk down the hillside. There is a garden there. Walk around the garden and look at all the different plants. What is there? Fruit? Vegetables? Flowers? Take some time in the garden.


The rain brings life to all these plants. They are all different. They have different fruits. Yet they all grow in the garden. The Church is like the garden. The Holy Spirit brings about different things in different people, yet we are all part of the Church. Each person brings something unique and special to the Church.

(For Older Children: St Cyril wrote “Water comes down from heaven as rain, and although it is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects, one in the palm tree, another in the vine, and so on throughout the whole of creation. It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another, but while remaining essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that receives it. In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple and indivisible, apportions grace to each man as he wills”)

When you are ready, leave the garden and walk back up the hillside. Then open your eyes.

In true Ignatian tradition, you can always repeat a meditation, not by doing it again but by returning to the image. For example, with this one the following day you might want to return to the tree to see how it has changed over night, or return to the garden maybe to look at a vine growing there. The repetition might be shorter than the original. With older children you might remind them of content of the previous time and give them time to go back to which ever place they want. It is worth taking a little time to try different ways of doing a meditation so that children get used to it. And don’t forget to take time to enjoy it yourself.