Posted tagged ‘Scripture’

In today’s mail:

November 14, 2013

mail bag

Some creative ideas from one of Family Formation’s distance parishes.

I decided to do a couple of new things this year and they are working really well.

Our families were not doing the memory verses. I’m not for sure why. I believe it is important for us to memorize parts of our faith so I came up with another option for the families. Each month they can do the memory verse OR learn a new prayer. Learning a new prayer has been a hit!

I printed each prayer on 1/4 sheet of colored cardstock (the bright colors) (English on one side and Spanish on the other). Each prayer card has two holes punched in it so it can become part of a prayer ring.

At our first session for the year, each child picked up the cards that had the prayers they already knew on them AND one prayer to learn. These prayer cards were put together with covers using one inch metal book rings. Each month that the child learns his/her prayer, he/she can pick a new prayer to learn.

The kids like being able to pick a new prayer to learn. One boy has an extra prayer ring that they keep in the vehicle they drive to meet the bus. Each morning they pray on the way to the bus stop and he works on learning his prayer.

A Hispanic mother was very excited last month because she and her son had both learned the “Our Father” in English. She told me that she goes to the English Mass but always prays the “Our Father” in Spanish. She was obviously excited that she could now pray it in English.

Thanks, Anne, for sharing these great ideas!

We love hearing your creative ideas for making Family Formation work better!  Feel free to email them to us or just comment on the blog.

The Miracles of Jesus

February 10, 2013

CanaIf you’d like a little extra activity for this week’s lesson on miracles, challenge your kids to a bit of analytical thinking.  As you’re reading through some of the Scripture references on page one, have them apply the three qualifications that define a miracle from page three.

It’s a simple way to encourage discussion and will help them to dig a little deeper into the familiar stories.

Encouraging reading the Bible

October 18, 2012

As you’ve probably discovered by now, this year’s particular Family Formation focus is on becoming more comfortable with reading Scripture.  Besides being our Challenge topic, it was the theme of our October classroom time and three of this month’s Home Lessons, including the one you’re probably doing this week.  There are so many ways you can encourage your family to read more Scripture and I’ve listed a few guidelines below:

For your youngest kids, I’d recommend just starting with stories.  There are many, many resources for this age group from inexpensive individual stories (paperback for about $2 each) to children’s Bibles, stories on CD and DVD, the list goes on!   At this age, there’s probably little value for trying to present the Bible as a unified plan (in my opinion).  Preschoolers like to know that “God always has a plan” but making sure they understand the details of salvation history is probably too much information – it’s much better to just help them become familiar with Adam, Noah, David, Joshua, Paul, and of course, Jesus.  (They can put it all together later.)

At the next stage, their attention level is longer and they’re more capable of making connections.  This is a good time to re-read that story Bible, this time from begging to end.  The stories are still written simply and the pictures are helpful, but it’s at this stage that kids will start to understand the big picture from Original Sin to redemption.  While earlier they were just able to accept the fact that Jesus was born, now they’re old enough to question and start to understand the why of  His birth.  It’s more important at this stage (especially when you get to the New Testament) to make sure you have a Catholic Bible.

Finally, your kids will be at the stage where they can study the Bible and use it as a tool for personal prayer.  Presumably they are competent readers now and would greatly benefit from owning their own copy of Scripture.  There are many translations available, but if you want one to follow the readings at Mass, the New American Bible is closest.  Whatever translation you choose, it is critical that it have an imprimatur.*  Not only does this mean the translation of Scripture has been reviewed and approved, but so have all the footnotes and comments.  An imprimatur is the best way for Catholics to know their reading time will lead them closer to Christ through His Church.

There are many ways to approach reading the Bible at this stage (cover to cover, Bible Timeline or other thematic studies, randomly open and read, etc.), but one I always recommend is to simply read along with the Universal Church.  Every day of the week is assigned particular readings that, over time, can give you an excellent Scriptural education and it’s fun to know that every Catholic in the world will be hearing the same verses proclaimed at Masses that day.  You can always find these readings online, but it may be more convenient to simply find where they’re listed in the Sunday bulletin, cut out that section and tuck it in your Bible for daily reference.

Whatever methods you choose, combined with a little daily perseverance, are going to help you grow in holiness!

*Found near the front with the copyright information, an imprimatur is the official declaration by a bishop that the translation has been reviewed and is approved.

Art for October Prayer Tables

September 25, 2012

Scripture is the major theme of October’s Home and Classroom Lessons, so this is a nice time to show honor to the great gift of the Bible on your prayer table.  If you have a treasured Bible, display it in a nicer-than-average way there this month.  You’ll also be working on a color, cut and paste craft in the first week of Home Lessons and a “stained glass” candle holder the next week – both are perfect ways to decorate and update your prayer center!  Until then, if you have access to color printing, I recommend adding the piece below to your collection of art:

St. Matthew and the Angel by Guido Reni

Besides being beautiful, like most religious art, this piece teaches important lessons.

The Church teaches that while Scripture was written by men, it was inspired by God who, in a very real way, was the primary Author.  We get an illustration of that truth in this piece as we see the great Gospel writer receiving the words directly from one of God’s messengers.  Can’t you just hear the conversation? [angel counting on his fingers] “Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers…”

This has been a recurring subject in sacred art and you can see other examples here, here, here, here, here, and here.

On a practical level, for those of you just starting a Prayer Center in your home, there is a a trifold brochure on creating a prayer center in your home in your September Home Lesson packet, and you can learn a little more in this past post.

There are many sources for sacred art, and some of them, including the calendar you probably picked up at your parish last December and the Christmas cards you’ve already thrown away, are free.  My absolute favorite source of high quality, printable digital files is the Web Gallery of Art which currently has over 29,000 pieces* – many of them in the Sacred Art category.  That’s where all the art links in this post came from and it’s always the first place I look for prayer center art, desktop backgrounds, etc.  The search engines are great and the scans are all high quality.

For ease of use nothing beats a clear acrylic free-standing frame, available from those gigantic discount stores. They’re very inexpensive and the art can be easily changed by just sliding it out – no assembly required! My favorite size is 8 X 10, but they also come in smaller sizes that would be suitable for holy card art, inspirational quotes, Christmas card art, etc.

*Fair Warning:  The Web Gallery of Art is not a specifically religious site.  There are many classical pieces with a wide variety of subject matter, including nudes.  It’s likely you will not want to send unsupervised children there.

More About Abraham (for older saints)

March 11, 2012

Abraham lived an amazing, adventure-filled life, but the attribute we still admire today is his remarkable example of faith! Abraham trusted God so completely that he was able to clearly hear what God wanted and he was willing to do it.  (CCC 145-146, 2570)  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that every nation of the earth has been blessed by Abraham’s faith, specifically because it prepared the Jewish people for the coming Christ Himself!   (CCC 706)

While it seems normal to us to believe in only one God, that was a strange belief back in Abraham’s day when most people believed there were many gods who ruled different aspects of their lives. Today, there are three major religions which view Abraham as their father in faith: Muslims (who descend from Abraham’s son, Ishmael Genesis 16:15), Jews (the chosen people God descended from Abraham’s son, Isaac) and Christians (followers of Christ and all His teachings, CCC 1289). All three believe in “the one, true, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” (CCC 841)

From its very beginning, Christ gave the Church the gift of unity. While that oneness has been damaged in many ways over the centuries, the Holy Spirit will guard it from ever being fully lost and we must always pray and look for ways to help restore it. The Church looks forward to the day when the beliefs, like monotheism, that unite those from different faith traditions will restore us to the unity Christ intended for all people.  (CCC 820)

(from the Greek words mono: one, and theos: god)

The belief that there is one God ruling over all of creation.

Fulfill your ministry!

January 15, 2011

I charge you to preach the word, to stay with this task whether convenient or inconvenient – correcting, reproving, appealing – constantly teaching and never losing patience.  For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but, following their own desires, will surround themselves with teachers who tickle their ears.  They will stop listening to the truth and will wander off to fables.  As for you, be steady and self-possessed; put up with hardship, perform your work as an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:2-5


October 10, 2010

When you read the Scriptures about stewardship that go with this week’s Home Lesson, be sure to check the day on your W.O.G. Logs!

Matthew 25:14-30

Luke 12:42-48

Matthew 24:45-51

Mark 10:28-31

Matthew 6:25-34

John 15:16-17

Luke 21:1-4

Luke 6:38

2 Corinthians 9:7

James 2:15-17

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