Monday, August 19, 2013

Jane Shares her Religion Lesson with Her Little Brother

Year of Faith

God loves us!  God loves us!   God loves us!

Jane Shares her Religion Lesson with Her Little Brother

   When Jane came home from school, Billy pleaded, “Jane, push me on the swing Dad made for me.”
   Jane said, “Okay, and I will tell you a story, too.”
She took Billy by the hand and walked him to the back yard. Jane lifted Billy into the swing.  She pushed it gently.
    Billy said, “Tell me the story!”
   Jane said, “Jesus was going around his country telling people about God, his Father.
   Crowds gathered wherever he went.  And people wanted to get up close to see and hear him.
   “Billy, Jesus cured people of all kinds of things.  He could make blind people see, and he fixed the ears of people who couldn’t hear, so that they could hear everything. He even brought people back to life.
   And one day, people were crowding around him. The Apostles, his closest friends, were trying to keep people from pushing and shoving.  Some women wanted Jesus to bless their children.  I guess they were really pushing their children up front.
   So, some of the apostles, stopped them. They told them to get away, because they were crowding Jesus. And do you know what happened?”
   Billy, wide–eyed turned in the swing to look at Jane behind him.  “What happened?” he asked.
   “Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me.’ Jesus really likes children. He talked to them and he blessed them.  
   “And Mr James, my catechist, says Jesus loves us, too. And we can tell Jesus anything at all and he will listen. Right now, we can talk to Jesus because he promised to be with us always.”
   Billy’s eyes opened even wider. “You mean Jesus is here right now?”
  “Yes,” Jane said, “And he likes to be with us. Want to tell Jesus anything?”
   Billy said, “Oh, Jesus, THANK YOU for this swing Dad made for me.”
   Jane said, “That’s a nice prayer, Billy?”

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jane Prepares for First Holy Communion

Year of Faith! 

  Jane came running in from school. She wanted to find her little brother Billy, but he was playing in the back yard.  "Billy, Billy?  Where are you?"

As she ran through the house, she grinned from ear to ear. She opened the screen door and ran into the yard.  "Billy," she said.  "I am going to make my First Holy Communion!"

Billy was busy filling his little pail with black dirt. He was going to plant flower seeds his mother had given him. When he saw his sister,  he looked up.
Jane grabbed him by both shoulders and repeated, "I am going to make my First Holy Communion!"
"What's that?" Billy asked.
"Billy, you know. You see Mom and Dad going up to the front of the church every Sunday. They are receiving Holy Communion, and I am going to do it, too.
"But Mom and Dad always tell you to stay with me. Am I going to be all by myself now?"
"No, Silly! Mom and Dad will figure out something."
"Jane, what's Holy Communion? Why can you and Mom and Dad get it and not me?"
"First," Jane said, "You are not old enough. You have to reach the age of reason."
Billy made a face. "Age of reason?"
"That means you have to be at least seven and understand what's right and wrong."
"I am five and a half, and I know what's right and wrong."
"Well, sometimes you do, but not always. Like the other day when Dad saw you sitting in the car and trying to start it.."
"Dad was mad about that! But he said he will teach me when I am old enough to get a license. There are a lot of things only old people can do."
"Billy, I am not OLD!  I am just old enough to receive Jesus."
"You are going to receive Jesus? How?"
"That's what I'm telling you. Jesus is going to come to me in Holy Communion?
And Mr. James is going to prepare me."
"How is he going to do that?"
"I don't know, but he said the first thing is to tell Jesus everyday that I want Him to come to me."

Friday, May 24, 2013

God Loves Us!

Year of Faith


God Loves Us!  God Loves Us! God Loves Us!

Mom! Mom! You know what Mr. James taught us today?”
“No, Jane. What did he teach you?” Mrs. Santos asked.
“Mr James says, “We need to know four things to be followers of Jesus and members of his Church.”
“Only four?” Mrs. Santos asked.
“Yes. We need to know:
        1. What we believe.
        2. What will help us increase our faith,
        3. How to live what we believe
        4. And how to talk with God.
“That sounds like a pretty big order,” Mrs. Santos said.”
“Mr. James says we need to know how to talk with God. God can show us how to do the first three.”
Billy came running into the kitchen. “Jane, did Mr. James tell you any stories about Jesus today?”
“Yes, Billy, Mr James said Jesus taught that brothers have to be good to their big sisters.”
Billy waved the comics at Jane and asked, “What about sisters being good to their little brothers?”
Jane laughed and said, “Okay, okay. I will read the comics for you.”

Billy, Jane's Little Brother
[1] See Prologue to Catechism of the Catholic Church I–3 and 
Acts 2:42

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Year of Faith

  God Loves us, God loves us, God loves us!
Jane and her friends ran into the house singing "God loves us." Jane was excited, "Mom, Mom! Guess what? Jesus brought a little girl back to life! Mr. James, told us all about it.  He says, Jesus did that so we would understand he is God.
"I wish I could have seen that. Just imagine!  Everybody was sad, and the girl's father didn't know what to do, but he must have heard that Jesus was nearby.  He just went and asked Jesus to heal his daughter.

"And his servants came and said not to bother because she was dead. Jesus said she was not dead, but just sleeping. He went to the house and took the little girl by the hand and asked her to get up.

"And she got up, and then he told them to give her something to eat.

"And that is in the Bible in Matthew, chapter 9, verses 18 to 26.

"Mr. James says Jesus didn't do miracles to show off, or to become famous. He did them to show that he is God and that God loves us.  Isn't that great?"

Jane's mother said, "Yes, we better celebrate that. Would you girls like a cold drink and some cookies?"

One of Jane's friends said, "Gee, Mrs. Santos, this is like a miracle. I smelled the cookies and I wanted one so badly!"

Mrs. Santos laughed. "You girls are just charmers. I am sure God has great plans for you. When Jesus tells you to stand up for what you believe, I am sure you will do as he asks."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Year of Faith! What is a Pope?
What is a POPE ?

    Billy ran into Jane’s room shouting, “Jane, Jane. What’s a Pope?”
   Jane, looking at the TV, said, “Billy, be quiet. Look at the white smoke.”
   Billy said, “I know, Tommy’s mother called him. She said something about the Pope and white smoke. What’s a Pope?”
  Jane gave Billy a look, as she did whenever he didn’t know something.
  “Billy,” she said in her superior “big sister” voice. “The whole world is waiting for a new Pope. The white smoke means we have one.”
   Billy screwed up his face and said, “But, what is it, and why is it burning up?”
  “Billy,” Jane said in a ‘Don’t you know anything voice.’”   
  Jane looked at his confused little face then, and remembered how Mr.James, the catechist, had told her Jesus wants us to love everybody.
   In a gentler voice, she said, “When Jesus came, he had some close friends who followed Him everywhere. He taught them and wanted them to spread His message of love to the whole world.”
   “Were they popes?” Billy asked.
   “No, we call them apostles.  One of them was Peter, and one day Jesus asked the apostles what people were saying about Him and His teaching.
   “The apostles said some people thought he was Isaiah come back to life. Others thought he was a prophet.”
   “What’s a prop it?” Billy interrupted.
   Jane sighed and shook her head. She continued. “Then, Jesus asked them who they thought he was? 
   "And Peter said, ”You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”
   Everybody was surprised, because Peter was always getting things mixed up. Sometimes Peter said dumb things and Jesus had to straighten him out.
  “Everyone knew Peter hadn’t figured this out himself. Jesus said Peter had learned it from His Father in Heaven."
   Billy eyes opened wide. “Did Peter go to Heaven and talk to Jesus’ Father?”
  “No. Sometimes, God tell us things in our heart. If we listen, Billy! We have to listen!”
   Billy waited for Jane to say more.
  “So anyway, Jesus said Peter was a rock, and on this rock, He was going to build His Church”
  “Why did he say Peter was a rock?”
   “Because Peter, the name, means rock, but Jesus knew Peter was going to be a true follower. So, after Jesus ascended into heaven, the Christians looked to Peter. He and the other apostles knew what Jesus taught. And Peter was special, like a father to everyone.
   " Peter died in Rome. and ever since then, the Bishop of Rome has been special.  So we call Peter the first Pope. And in Latin and in Greek, Pope means father.  And NOW we are waiting to see who the new Pope is, because the last Pope Benedict has resigned because he doesn’t feel well.”
   “Jane?” Billy started to ask, but Jane said, “Quiet, Billy! We are going to see the new Pope!”
    “See, there he is. Pope Francis is the new Pope,” Jane said. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jesus is Present in my Little Brother!

Jesus is Present in My Little Brother!

      “God loves us. God loves us, God loves us,” Jane sang as she skipped into the kitchen.
       Mrs. Santos asked, “Well, what did Mr. James have to say today?”
       "Mr. James says, Lent is a time when we remember what Jesus did for us and what He is doing now.  Mom, I am so thirsty! Mr. James told us all about how Jesus was taken prisoner. Do you know Jesus was tortured that night?  Mr. James showed us where the Gospel says he was scourged.”
       Mrs. Santos poured some cold lemonade into a glass as she asked, “And do you know what scourged means?”
       “Yes,’ Jane said, “It means the soldiers beat Him. Isn’t that awful, after how good Jesus was to everyone?
       As Jane drank her lemonade, she thought of Jesus being tortured.  People in Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan are being hurt, too. People are being hurt just like Jesus was.”
      “Mom, Mr James said Jesus not only died on the cross. He rose again and ascended into heaven, but He is present now in the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament, in us and people we meet, too.”
      “That’s right, Jane, Jesus promised to send his Spirit to be with us forever. Jesus promised he would never abandon us. He loves us.”
      Just then, Jane’s little brother ran into the kitchen.  He was waving the newspaper. “Jane, Jane, read me the comics, pu – leeze!”
     Jane made a face even as she wondered, “Jesus is present in Billy?” 
     “Mom, do you think Jesus likes the comics?”
     Mrs. Santos laughed aloud.  “I don’t know, but your little brother likes them.”
Jane took the newspaper from her little brother and began to read.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stop, Look, and Listen

Sally Learns to Pray! Second Post for Year of Faith Series
          “God loves us! ♫♫ God loves us! ♫♫ God loves us!”
          Sally came in singing the song she learned in Religion Class.
          Jane came in with her friends. They were going to work on their school project.
          'Hi, Mrs. Santos!" Jane said.
          Mrs. Santos greeted Jane and Sally. They all sat down to have milk and cookies.  "What did you learn today, girls?" she asked. 
         The two girls were both talking at once. 
         Jane said, "Mr. James  says there are lots of different ways to pray.” 
          Sally said, ”Mom, I told Mr. James that you and Daddy taught me to pray."
          Jane said," My Mom and Dad taught me, too. Mr. James says  anybody with parents who teach them to pray are really lucky."
         Sally said, "He says some people never learn to pray until they get sick or in trouble or something. He wants us to learn lots of ways, so we can talk to God all the time, whether we are happy or sad."
          “And what did you learn about talking to God this time?”
          "Mr. James taught us to try the Stop, Look, and Listen Method."
          "How does that go?" Mrs. Santos asked.
         Sally said,  "First, you stop. Just stop and sit or sand still."
         Jane said, "Then, you look. Mr. James told us to name what we saw, not out loud, but just quietly in our heads. I looked out the window and saw a little bird in a tree."
         Sally said, "Then you listen, with your eyes closed, to the world about you. With my eyes closed, I could hear that bird going, chirp, chirp, chirp. I thanked God for the birds and their songs."
         Jane said, "And Mr. James said that is the way to become aware of God's Presence, thinking about how God loves us and the beautiful things God provides for us."
          Mrs. Santos, “Well, that’s great!  I hope you learn to pray in lots of ways.  Everybody needs God's Love. Your little brother will be home in five minutes. Are you going to love him?”
         "Aw, Mom!" Sally laughed and said, "This week I only learned that God loves me. Mr. James didn’t say anything about brothers. Billy is such a pest, but I guess I can love him, too."


Monday, February 11, 2013

Mr James, The New Teacher

Maria               Sally                      Jane

A New Teacher

 God loves us! ♫♫ God loves us! ♫♫ God loves us!”

          Sally, Jane, and Maria walked home singing the song they learned in Religion Class. 

When Sally got to her house, she waved goodbye to her friends and skipped into the living room.

         “Mom , Mr. James is my new Religion Teacher. He is not like my other teachers..”           
          “What is different about him?”
          “I know how to pray, because you and Daddy and Grandma always help me say my prayers before I go to bed.  But Mr. James says there are lots and lots of ways to pray.  He wants us to learn lots of ways, so we can pray no matter what happens to us.
            “He says learning to pray is not like adding or subtracting. Sometimes I don’t know the answer when I have to add or subtract. But when I pray, Mr James says I will always know the answer.”
           He says, “When we ask God for anything, God’s answer is always love.  God loves us all the time.
           "If I tell God why I am sad,or something hurts, the first thing God does is love me. And if  ANYTHING is wrong, God wants me to say right away what it is!
         “Mr James says that’s just the way God is. God just loves and loves and loves. God loves EVERYBODY. That's why people can love each other. God shows us how.
          Mom gave Sally a big hug! God loves you and I love you, too.
          Sally said, "I love you, too, Mom."
          Mom said, “That’s a great way to pray!  I hope you learn to pray in lots of ways.”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Year of Fatih

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph help our family, pray for us 
  Plaque of Holy Family at Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, New York
        created many years ago by a Maryknoll Sister Artist

Dear Parent,

Yes, I do love writing for your child. I like creating stories for children. I hope you will read them to your child or help your child read them.

 During this Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI, let us see what we can offer your child.  I will start with some short stories about prayer. The Year of Faith began in October of 2012.  The purpose is to take a good look at the wonderful life of Faith. The Holy Father has called us to reflect on our Faith that Jesus calls us to enjoy. I hope your child will find many opportunities to learn more about the Catholic Faith, so that he or she will have the joy of knowing Jesus ever more intimately as the years go by.

Take some time to sit with your child and make God's Love visible for him or her. I hope the brief reflections will help you start the conversation.

                                                                           Peace, Joy in Christ
                                                                            Sister Elizabeth
Maryknoll Sisters - 100 years of Making God's Love Visible