Understanding God’s mercy and the sacrament of confession can be a difficult concept for us to grasp as adults, but explaining it to children can be even harder for us as parents. Personally I never felt I had the perfect way to share this beautiful message of God’s ocean of mercy, until I received a copy of Susan Joy Bellavance’s King of the Shattered Glass by Marian Press.
This beautifully illustrated book shares the allegory of a young girl named Marguerite, an orphan girl who worked in a kitchen of the king during the Medieval times. When a traveling merchant brings glass to the castle, the king was so enchanted by the beautiful and exquisite treasure he had the glass-maker brought to the town to create glass for him. With the glass-maker came only one rule, if you broke the glass, you had to return it to the king. All the castle staff was afraid of what would happen if they broke the glass so hid their shattered pieces, except for Marguerite. The little scullery maid had a heart of virtue. Although she was terrified of the punishment, each time her poor choices lead to broken glass, she brought them to the king out of obedience. Each time the king looked kindly upon her and forgave her. In the end, the King grows to cherish Marguerite and makes a stained glass window of her receiving a crown from him and asks her to become his daughter.
As I read this story to my six year old, I found myself in tears. The tenderness of the king and his overabundance of mercy on this little scullery maid was a poignant reminder of how God wants us to come to Him with complete honesty of our sins. When we give him our brokenness out of love, he can take all our shattered glass and turn it in to something more glorious than we can ever imagine. God wants to give us this gift of mercy and for us to be his sons and daughters.
King of the Shattered Glass is already a household favorite in our home. My daughter keeps it under her bed so it’s handy to read before we say our evening prayers. It’s perfect for preparation for the Sacrament of Confession or for any child who you want to share the parable of mercy, honesty and forgiveness.