Catechist Corner

It's all about sharing the faith.

Living In This Moment

This week, when visiting with my spiritual director, we ended up on the topic the Lord’s name based on a comment around my reading the Bible this year.  Afterwards, he happened to send me this short poem.  I liked it so much that I thought I would share it with you for a little perspective.

 

I was regretting the past and fearing the future…
Suddenly, my Lord was speaking:
 
“My name is I AM.” God paused.
I waited. God continued,
“When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard, I am not there.
My name is NOT, I WAS….

When you live in the future,
with its problems and fears,
it is hard, I am not there.
My name is NOT, I WILL BE….
 
When you live in this moment,
it is not hard, I AM HERE.
My name is I AM.”

 

Until next time, keep sharing the faith.

6 + 6 = Q&A

Q&ASome of my readers may remember a post I made a few months ago called “6 + 6 = Awkward“.  Well, it’s that time of year where we review the Ten Commandments.  After some introductory reading, I chose to review each commandment in detail.  I asked for a volunteer to read the First Commandment aloud.  A boy raised his hand and I chose him to read.  The first words out of his mouth were, “What is adultery?”

I actually chuckled.  I forced patience on them because I told them there were five other commandments that we needed to review before we got to that one.  It’s very clear though, what was on their minds and that they already had an idea of what that commandment relates to.  To no surprise, they had questions, lots and lots of questions.

When we finally got to the Sixth Commandment, I explained it’s literal meaning as well as it’s broader meaning, just like I did with each commandment before it.  Then I let the questions begin:

– What does adultery mean?
– You have to be married?  Why?
– How about if it’s with your girlfriend?
– What if you live with your boyfriend?
– What if you love your boyfriend?
– What if it happens the day before you get married?
– Is being a homosexual a sin?
– What if someone has already done stuff?

I have to thank my students from last year for preparing me for this discussion.  Last year, I flew by this topic and avoided answering questions in any detail.  Not this year.  I felt like I missed a teaching opportunity the last time this happened and I did not want a repeat of that this year.  Oddly enough, I did not prepare for the discussion.  In fact, I completely forgot what had happened last year; but when the first question arose, I felt at perfect ease discussing it.

The Holy Spirit must have been guiding me last night because I had a “sex” discussion with these kids without skipping a beat.  I did everything possible to control the giggle-fest that ensued once the discussion began and I was successful in doing so.  Also, while talking about it, I wrote the word “Sex” on the board to dispel any sense of hesitation or shyness on my part.  My inclination was that by have a serious and open discussion about what the Church teaches regarding this topic, I had more of a chance of making an impact.

We focused on things like the importance of sex only happening within a marriage, why it is otherwise considered a mortal sin, what the natural purpose of the act is (i.e. love, commitment and procreation), why being with a boyfriend / girlfriend is not enough, etc.  We even discussed why being a homosexual, or more accurately having those tendencies, is not a sin in and of itself.  I focused on the fact that a person is not a sin, only acts are sins.  I did this to help distinguish between the dignity we all deserve as human beings and the sinfulness of acts that we may commit, irrelevant of any sexual tendencies.

All in all, the discussion went very well.  I made it a point to not let it digress and gave them the opportunity to ask some questions that were clearly on their minds.  My only regret was not having a little more time.  I know I left some questions unanswered and since next week is a unit review, I may leave a little extra time to answer any remaining questions.  I’d rather they ask me and come away with an accurate understanding of what we are called to believe then to have the questions remain without answers or with poor answers from others.  Of course, recognizing the controversial nature of the topic, I gave my CRE a heads up just in case any parents called in about it.  While my comments were perfectly in line with the teachings of the Church, that does not mean that some parent out there may not like what was discussed.

Until next time, keep sharing the faith!

Here I come to save the day!!

Mighty MouseSuperheroes.  Who’s your favorite?  Maybe it’s Superman, or Batman, or Wonder Woman, or maybe it’s even the Green Lantern or the Flash.  Mine happens to be Mighty Mouse, for those of you who remember the little guy.  No matter which superhero is your favorite, they all have a couple of things in common … they use their gifts and talents to help people, and they all suffer in one way or another while doing their good deeds.

We focused on superheroes last night in class with the 6th graders.  We spoke about their favorite superheroes as well as some of their real-life heroes.  We discussed some of their qualities, like courage and love of their fellow man.  We spoke about the challenges that they each face and how difficult it truly is being a hero.

Then we transitioned to one of the great Old Testament heroes.  To quote the movie, it was “Moses, Moses, Moses.”  We reviewed Moses’ early days and how he came to leave Egypt, but we focused mostly on his calling.  We spoke about what it means to be called.  Each and every one of us is called to impact the world, albeit in different ways; but being called can be a scary thing.  Most times, you are being called to do something that you haven’t done before or that you think you just cannot do.  I know I’d be a bit scared if I saw a burning bush that was telling me to take off my shoes, because last I checked, bushes don’t speak.  We know that’s how Moses must have felt, among feeling other emotions.

What if Moses had said “No thanks, God, I’m not your guy so go with your backup plan”?  News flash – God doesn’t make backup plans.  We each have a purpose for being here, most likely more than one; but we all have a choice to fulfill that purpose or not.  If I had not accepted my call as a Catechist, then maybe some kids would not learn their faith as fully.  Sure there are other Catechists, but there is only one Catechist that does things “exactly” the way I do it (we are all unique, after all) and maybe my style impacts some students in a special way; or maybe this ministry is preparing me to help someone in the future who is struggling with their faith that would not otherwise be helped, or maybe I help set an example that will touch someone’s heart.  None of us truly know what our purpose is, but saying no to our calling will definitely have an impact that none of us will ever truly understand, sort of in the same way that saying yes will have an impact.  If Moses had said no, then who knows what might have happened to the Israelites.

Luckily, Moses said yes.  Afraid and unsure, but trusting in God, he went back to Egypt to demand that the Hebrews be freed per the command of God.  We discussed how God supported Moses’ words and reviewed the first 9 plagues.  Then we discussed the biggie – The Angel of Death, and why Passover and the Passover Seder have been and continue to be so important for the Jewish faith.

That was the perfect segue over to the Eucharist.  We all know the Last Supper occurred at the Passover Seder that year.  Just as the Jews celebrate and remember through a meal the saving power of God by His freeing them from Egypt, we too remember the saving power of God through Jesus through a meal.  Of course, there are differences between the two celebrations as well, but it was interesting to see some of the links.

So, whether it’s one of the Super Friends, Mighty Mouse, Moses, Jesus, or even your grandmother; heroes love, sacrifice, trust in good, help others and show people the way.

Next time, the class will discuss the rest of the Exodus and the Ten Commandments.  Until then, keep sharing the faith.