Sometimes when I'm working around the house I'll just put on EWTN TV or Ave Maria Radio (on my computer when I'm upstairs), and listen as I work. In these past two years since I started taking my faith more seriously, I've learned alot about the Catholic faith doing this. Other times, it is good to simply work in silence - something I've been working at even moreso now, than in the past.
This morning, as I prepared a large pot of chicken soup to share with my brother and his son - both of whom have suffered with the flu the last couple of days - I turned EWTN on. As soon as I saw the cartoons, I nearly changed the channel, but something prompted me to watch for a time. I'm glad I did. It was a real contrast to my "butterfly-and-me" catechism of my youth. If I had young kids, I would seriously consider getting the videos or taping the Saturday lineup of kids programs to watch with them.
The hour worth of programming that I had on, while different shows, all carried a common theme: Reconciliation. When I first tuned in, Image of God - a new program - was on. The teacher held a dialogue with the children and it focused on laws and why we follow them. She spoke about following all lawful authority - parents, teachers, even aunts and uncles, as a way that is pleasing to God. She then explained how parents, out of love, often ask children to do things they may not understand and God expects us to follow their wishes. In a like manner, so it is with God. We may not understand all of his Commandments, or Doctrines of the Church, but we must follow them. Actually, this is the highest form of faith - to accept and follow a Commandment or teaching without understanding it, out of pure love of God and trust in Him.
Between programs, instead of commercials, they played these short 5-minute clips of cartoon stories from the Gospel. Included was the story of the Prodigal Son. Another was aimed at prayer and how we must be like children. There were other short clips built into EWTN's Faith Factory. In "Hey Brother Leo", the children got a very short, but effective lesson on the Trinity using a simple lightbulb and its elements. As is always good in teaching, Brother Leo Mary, kept repeating - "three unique persons in one God". He also explained how we ought not get caught up in common heresies involving the Trinity. His visual was actually quite interesting, even though we all know that there is no single analogy that can fully help us to understand the Trinity. I also got a glimpse - for the second time - of a short clip by Fr. Antoine Thomas who spoke on the subject of sin very briefly, but effectly. I've seen something previously on children's adoration which impressed me. Click here to see a list of videos available from Children of Hope.
There was a 20 minute cartoon involving two young boys who were best buddies that was excellent. It used common sins committed by children to teach about forgiveness and confession. One kid - Philip - was a whiz at learning. He hid his report card from his parents because he cheated on one question and got caught - causing a failing grade. He wanted to be perfect and couldn't approach his parents. He spoke to a priest who explained the sin of pride, but the boy was still afraid to approach his parents who eventually confronted him and forgave him. At the same time, his best friend had stolen a brand new basketball from him - intercepting it at the post office as the other was waiting for it through the mail. It was a birthday gift and the ball was from a reputable team. This boy - Manuel - found himself unable to sleep and eventually went to talk to an old monk at a nearby monastery. The monk explained why he couldn't sleep and why he felt so miserable. Then he told him he needed to return the ball to his friend and apologize, while explaining the need to also seek forgiveness from God in Confession. The boy asked why he couldn't just confess to God on his own and the monk explained to him the gospel story of when Jesus gave to the apostles the power to forgive sins (John 20:19-23).
As I came up stairs, the sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist - based out of nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan, were about to have their children's program begin - Truth in the Heart.
You can buy these videos from the EWTN Catalogue
Faith Factory's Image of God
Other multimedia selections can be found here
Now, if you don't have cable television, but have access to the internet, you can watch any EWTN program live on the internet. I do this all the time when upstairs because I do not have a cable box there. Granted, it is a small window, but streaming video works fine - unless you are on dialup. Just go to the EWTN site and put your cursor over "Television" and pick from the options.