When I Was Little

For the 2009 Christmas season, Sr. Clare wrote this article for HM Zoom+, the Home of the Mother Magazine for kids. We also have it recorded by Sr. Clare herself in Spanish. This Christmas, we pray for the grace to make Jesus the center of our hearts, like Sr. Clare writes at the end of the article. If He is missing, there will be a huge empty space like in this story about the jigsaw puzzle.

And of course, Shauna and Megan, Sr. Clare’s sisters, still remember the giant jungle jigsaw they had.

One of the things that my little sisters and I liked to do when we were little—apart from jumping on our beds and singing into hairbrushes as if they were microphones—was doing jigsaw puzzles. Sometimes we would have races to see who could finish the jigsaw first. As I was the oldest, I almost always won.

For Christmas one year, one of our aunts bought us a really big jungle-themed jigsaw. It had seventy-five pieces to it (for us, that was really big!). As there was only one jigsaw, my sisters and I had to share and do it together. One of our uncles laughed and said, "I don't know if you're going to be able to finish that!" Just by saying that, it made us determined to do so.

Every day after school, when we finished our homework we went straight to the jigsaw. I have to admit it wasn't very easy. My youngest sister wasn't very patient and even though a part of the jigsaw didn't fit where she wanted to put it, she did everything in her power to try and squeeze it in there. "We're never going to be able to finish this!" she said with her hands on her hips. She didn't want to do it anymore. My other sister and I were still firm in our decision to finish. "Just wait until we're done," I said to her.  "Everyone will think we're so great." My little sister agreed.


There were only a few pieces left now to finish the Jungle Jigsaw. We were very excited. As we were putting the last pieces together something traumatic happened: we couldn't find the puzzle piece that went right in the middle. The gorilla had no head! I blamed my little sister, my little sister blamed me, and my other sister said she knew we couldn't finish it and started laughing.  But no, I was bent on finishing it. I was going to find that missing piece and finish that jigsaw.

I looked under the sofa, behind the television and in all the bedrooms of the house. I checked inside my shoes just in case, but the missing piece was nowhere to be found. I was so upset. It was the middle piece, and the jigsaw could not be complete without it!

Boys and girls, we often seem to have our hearts full of things that are not God. We seem to love computer games, music, toys, television, and sports more than God. All these things can never make us truly happy. They do sometimes, but just for a while. Our heart is like my Jungle Jigsaw that had the missing piece, a big space in the middle. My jigsaw could not be completed without it, just like our hearts cannot be full and complete without Jesus. Jesus should have a special place in our hearts. He should be the center of our hearts. Without Him we are incomplete; we are missing the most important part! There is a space in our hearts that belongs to Him alone and we, like my little sister, try to squeeze other things in there. As Christmas draws near, we should ask Mother Mary to give us the grace to put Baby Jesus in the center of our hearts now and forever. He is the centerpiece, the most important piece in the jigsaw of our hearts.


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