We were introduced to our "Holy Door" where we will reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy as Pope Francis has asked us to do during this Year of Mercy, which began December 8th and will last until November 20th, the weekend before Advent starts. Another name for this celebration is a jubilee and one of the special things they do during jubilees is open a Holy Door. The pope opens the Holy Door at four huge churches near where he lives. Holy Doors represent Jesus, who said, "I am the door." (John 10:7).
Virtues are the good habits we practice over and over again to help us be able to do these works of mercy. We receive three of these virtues directly from God at the time of our baptism:
- Faith, which helps us to believe in God and live as he wants us to live.
- Hope, which is the trust that God will always be with us.
- Charity, which helps us love God above all things and to love everyone else because God loves them. (This includes yourself.)
Each week we will look at a work of mercy and the first one is to clothe the naked. We have the opportunity to do this right now by taking the Family Challenge!
Sharing God's Word: Luke 4:21-30
Jesus says he fulfills Isaiah’s words describing the one who will bring good news from God. Jesus’ neighbors reject his message; they are sure he is only the carpenter Joseph’s son. Like Jesus, young people face rejection, especially in their neighborhoods and classrooms. Venture explores the experiences of being rejected and rejecting others. Very often our prejudgments of others help us reject them easily; we exclude and dismiss others whom we generalize.
Feast Day: January 28
On Thursday we remember a priest and one of the great Christian saints: St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas lived over 700 years ago, and he is one of the most influential persons in the history of the Church.
When St. Thomas was a boy, he was stocky and had trouble speaking. Some of his schoolmates made fun of him and called him the "Dumb Ox." But that didn't bother him. Because St. Thomas had a gift that not many people have - the gift of understanding really hard things and then explaining them in ways that almost anybody could understand. He started writing, and eventually wrote around eighty-five works of philosophy (studying the most basic questions about human life) and theology (the study of God). They are still studied today. So instead of calling him the "Dumb Ox," people started calling him "Doctor," which meant teacher.
One of St. Thomas' works is called the Summa Theologica. It's massive - way bigger than even the entire Harry Potter series. In it, St. Thomas offers a big picture of how everything comes from God, and everything returns to God. And it shows how our task in this life is to live forever in the presence of God's beauty and love.
As we remember St. Thomas, we remember Jesus’ greatest commandment: to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, and with all of our mind. St. Thomas provides a wonderful example of what it means to love God with all of our mind. For when we use our minds that God gave us - when we work hard to study and learn, when we do our homework and come ready for school - we are offering praise and thanksgiving to God. So what we do in church and what we do in our classrooms - it all forms a seamless whole. It's all about loving and worshiping God.
- Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived without original sin.
- At the end of her life, Mary being taken up into Heaven, body and soul is called the Assumption.
Time With God: "Thanksgiving for the Eucharist" Meditation
Quiet time visualizing the burning bush and Moses, who introduces Jesus, who reminds us that he is always with us.
Hail Mary, (Lift your right hand pointing to the sky.)
Full of grace, (Lift your left hand pointing to the sky.)
The Lord is with you. (Bring your hands down folded near your heart.)
Blessed are you among women,
(Take your right hand and sweep it across your body pointing to all the girls in the group around you.)
And blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus. (Pretend you are rocking a baby in your arms.)
Holy Mary, (Lift your right hand pointing to the sky.)
Mother of God, (Lift your left hand pointing to the sky.)
Pray for us sinners, (Bring your hands down folded near your heart.)
Now (Point down to the ground with both hands.)
and at the hour of our death. (Point to a pretend watch on your wrist.)
Amen. (Bring hands together folded near your heart.)
Bring an article of clothing that doesn’t fit you anymore for the M.O.M.E. clothing exchange next week!