Posts Tagged ‘Catechesis of the Good Shepherd’

So we’re back to Ordinary Time. But it took us a while to get here. These first few “ordinary” Sundays have their own solemnity–Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi (this past Sunday and the week before, respectively). It’s not until we’re well into the month of June that we see an “green” Sunday.

The chapel here in our Juniorate House is back to green. Same with our yard and the trees in the neighborhood. I enjoy this long “ordinary” time of the liturgical year. If my summer is anything like yours, it’s busy, full of exciting happenings and travels. Amidst all these changes and differences, the liturgical year beats a steady beat, a constant rhythm that reminds me of what’s truly important–praising God, growing closer to Jesus, and sharing the love of his Sacred Heart.

Earlier this year I painted a liturgical calendar for the atrium. (Very well made by Ken Wood–thanks Ken!) In Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the materials we use are to be “simple and poor” and are preferably made by the catechist’s own hands (see Points of Reflection #18 and 25). Some of the fruits of creating this calendar came in sharing the process with my sisters in community, some of whom are not familiar with CGS. There was great joy in watching the colors come to life before my eyes and gradually come together into a recognizable whole. I also have tremendous appreciation for my parents who served as benefactors in donating the material to the atrium.

So, as summer days lengthen and we enter the longest season of the Church year, may your faith deepen and grow. May it be a time of blessing and renewal. May these “ordinal Sundays” teach us to “number our days aright… and grow in wisdom of heart…” (Psalm 90:12).

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As we begin Holy Week, we pause to look back on what the Lord has worked in our hearts these past six weeks. And we look ahead to the Triduum, the sacred days of our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection. Please allow me to offer a short reflection on the beauty of Lent, the inestimable value in meditating on Scripture, and a bit of encouragement for the days to come…

(The following event occurred at the parish where I volunteer in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program on Sundays. I had the privilege of reading Luke 15:8-10 with two seven year-old girls. This is some of the fruit of that morning’s reflection.)

After great excitement at learning a new parable, the three of us sat down to reflect on the actions of the woman and her pursuit of the Found Coin. First, we wondered why our booklet was titled the “found” coin and the Bible had it titled the “lost” coin. Certainly, the girls agreed the woman was truly happy when she found her coin. I invited them to bring over the Maxims cabinet to follow up with a previous conversation I’d had with them. (The Maxims are a collection of approximately twelve sayings of Jesus from the New Testament. They help us live the Great Commandment to love God and neighbor.)

One girl eagerly read them aloud while the other made two piles–those that fit this parable and those that didn’t. In they end they came up with three connections that seemed to expressed how the woman lived:

  • “Ask, and you will receive, seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened.”
  • “Always treat others as you would have them treat you.”
    [The child commented: “Because she was nice to the coin.”]
  • “When you pray, go into a room by yourself, shut the door, and pray to your Father in private.”
    [The other added: “She was looking behind all the closed doors, praying the whole time.”]

Earlier this Lent I read a reflection by the late John Kavanaugh, SJ, who said that “Lent requires a tremendous psychological disengagement from our earthly prejudice.” My two young friends do not seem to be burdened with this earthly prejudice the way I am as an adult. The woman’s pursuit of her coin–seemingly worthless in value and certainly worth far less than the extravagant party she threw upon finding it–seemed entirely natural. So too is God’s pursuit of us. A few weeks ago we heard in the Gospel, “Be merciful as your Father is merciful.” This is how the woman in the parable lived. My first grade friends connected that in the Maxims they selected. They invite me to shed my preconceived prejudices and hear the voice of the Good Shepherd calling me to remain in Him and bear great fruit. He calls us to the Cross. With death comes new life. It is in dying with him that we can rise to new life and truly bear great fruit.

Let us pray together and may you all have a blessed Holy Week!

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