Heaven Is in the Details

open Bible

One Sunday, as I was preparing my classroom for the arrival of my second graders, the popular saying “The devil is in the details” came to mind. I seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for my class and attending to every little detail. I noticed that I began to worry: Is my prayer space too busy? Will the children understand my explanation of the day’s Gospel reading? Will my craft backfire? I began to question whether worrying about all of these little things was all that important. Was my attention to detail “devilish” in the way it made me worry unnecessarily?

I recalled an encounter I had earlier that reminded me that details do matter. I had stopped at a drive-thru restaurant. I handed the money to the cashier. The cashier threw the money into the register without even counting it—I had paid and that was all that mattered. The exact amount of what I owed was just a detail. This recollection made me think about how I approach my ministry as a catechist. I cannot be satisfied with simply presenting Christianity with a broad-stroke brush. I do need to pay attention to the details. The small stuff counts.

After this epiphany, I looked around my classroom with a new pair of eyes. I looked at how all the little touches I add to the classroom—all the little details that require so much time and energy—draw my students closer to an encounter with Christ and our faith. The students gather in the prayer space at the start of every class. There, they experience the power of intercessory prayer. (They can jot down prayer requests and include them in our prayer basket.) The crucifix is placed in the center, reminding us that our Lord should be at the center of our lives. The white felt covering the table recalls our Baptism and the purity of Jesus. Another piece of felt that matches the liturgical calendar provides a quick quiz to see who was paying attention at Mass. The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary has her place at Jesus’ side. A rosary leads from her statue to the crucifix as a reminder that Mary always leads us to her Son. The picture Bible was there as God’s inspired Word. A small bowl with holy water is always a weekly hit as the children love to have access to it.

The prayer space, in all its detail, inspires great curiosity and interest about what lesson the class would hold for the day. It offers teachable moments about our faith and about our life in Christ without me even saying a word.

These extra efforts—efforts that I sometimes wonder if they are just “busy work”—do matter. For example, when taking attendance, I explain what a saint is, and instead of calling out the students’ names, I say, “Future Saint so-and-so.” I always get a resounding “Here!” This definitely seems to matter as it provides a great opportunity to let them know that it’s our calling to be saints.

By God’s grace, I was filled with hope because I saw that heaven is in the details.

About Lisa Brown 10 Articles
Dr. Lisa Brown is a wife, mother of four, and a family chiropractor who’s enjoyed private practice for over 22 years. She’s also passionate about her Catholic faith and has been a catechist since 2011 as well as a core team member of her parish’s Rebuilt movement. Since the loss of their baby son in 2006, Lisa and her husband serve by assisting other parents whose unborn children have been given a poor prenatal diagnosis. Her other interests are spending time with her family, playing the saxophone, and reading.


  1. Lisa, thanks for sharing the “heavenly” details you put in your prayer space. I am definitely going to add a Holy Mary statue and the Holy Water! I have found with my class (6th Grade CCD – Salvation History) that the “gathering” in a small semi-circle for prayer as well as the prayer space are very powerful in helping the youth encounter Jesus’ presence.

    This week our opening prayer included some reflection on our class being a faith “team” – we learn, pray and help each other on our journey to Heaven. I used some quotes from our Pastor, Pope Francis and Mark Hart (check out his 9/11/15 blog – “Get in the Game: Football & the Catholic Mass). We also read 2 verses from Scripture – “For where two or three are gathered…” (Mt 18:20) and “consider how to rouse one another to love and good works…” (Heb 10:24-25), then recited the Our Father.

    I assured the youth that during our year together, Jesus will work through each one of them in some way to teach our class His Gospel and His plan. God bless you in your ministry!

    • Hi Mary! I love your idea of being a faith team! That’s something children of all ages can relate to and reinforces the idea of our faith community. I will definitely borrow that great idea and please know that you and your class will be remembered in prayer.

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