‘Christ the Lord has promised us the Holy Spirit: come, let us adore him, alleluia.’ (Invitatory antiphon).
‘Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!’ (Anne Frank).
A prayer journal might be an opportunity for a person to write their story of life. In deepening a person’s relationship with Jesus, one might record happy and sad moments, doubts and certainties, events, feelings, relationships, times when Jesus was close or absent from one’s life. Sometimes Jesus’ presence is tangible, other times not so. The gentle voice of God might be audible in calling a person by name or God’s voice maybe heard as offering consolation, peace or a word of challenge to discipleship.
As Scripture says, ‘For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.’ (Hebrews 4:12).
On writing the prayer journal the writer might experience a hint of how the Gospel ends today, ‘If all were written down, I think the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.’
Today at Mass, the end of the Gospel according to St John is proclaimed (Jn 21: 20-25). This may be heard via the webcam or in the New Testament.
The dialogue continues between Jesus and Peter. Jesus last words in the Gospel are spoken to Peter. He says, ‘Follow me’. Being a follower meant believing in the person of Jesus to the point of wholly loving him all the days of one’s life and giving up everything for him alone. In T.S. Eliot’ words; ‘costing not less than everything.’ The Scripture tells us that Peter looks back, sees John, the Beloved disciple following Jesus and Peter talks to Jesus about him. Jesus doesn’t engage with Peter’s question at that point. He says to Peter, ‘Follow me.’ John was the last of the witnesses to Christ. Finally, we hear that ‘Jesus did many other things.’ Jesus continues to work today through his disciples. God is always present and creating anew.
SEEK THE LINK IN THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
As children work through the Catholic PreSchool and Primary Religious Education Curriculum for Ireland, in the Grow in Love Religious Education programme, they are helped to understand that God loves them unconditionally. It is not the child’s love for God that is important but their understanding of God’s unique, personal and unconditional love for him/her. Children appreciate this love firstly, through the love of family and friends and subsequently they grow in God’s love by keeping close to God and Jesus.
The dialogue between Jesus and Peter in the Gospel (John 21: 1-25) models the dialogue that Jesus desires with his disciples. Jesus was eating breakfast with his friends and afterwards he spoke to Peter. He asked Peter, ‘Do you love me?’ On hearing Sacred Scripture, children encounter Jesus in dialogue with his followers. In prayer, these chats become very much part of children’s’ own reflection. Children are invited to listen and to chat to Jesus and God in their own words as they take a moment in prayer. They learn to listen and to ask God for their needs. In prayer, a child grows in trust and love of God. Jesus speaks directly and simply.
Children hear Jesus saying to Peter ‘Follow me.’ They recognise the call of Jesus to follow him as an invitation to become a disciple. They explore the freedom they have to respond to the call.
Children from Junior Infants/P1 upwards participate in recording activities and writing prayers at age and ability appropriate levels. In Fifth Class/P7 and Sixth Class, children engage in ‘JOURNAL EXERCISES’. Thoughts, prayers and reflections from their pondering on the ‘BIG QUESTION’ might be a subject of invitation for their journaling. Other entries to the journal may be from their engagement with ‘Lectio Divina’ (Sacred Reading) or ‘Visio Divina’ (Sacred Seeing) as introduced in Fourth Class/P6. Journal activities may take the form of a diary, doodling or drawing in their journal. The important fact about the prayer journal is that it gives each child a unique and blessed space, to express thoughts and feelings and to record anything the Lord might bring to mind in prayer.
There are many journal activities in the Grow in Love e-books accessible on the VERITAS website:
READ IN Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé or in the Bible
Mt 18: 21-35, Jn 14:6-12, Jn 2:1-10,
Mt 26:20-30, Jn 21:1-14, Jn 8:1-11,Lk 15, 11-32.
SING with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
‘The Summons’, ‘Tar Anuas, a Spioraid Naoimh’, ’Spirit-Filled Day’, ‘Welcome Holy Spirit’, ‘Welcome’, ’Send Forth Your Spirit’.
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Holy Spirit, I want to do what is right. Help me.
Holy Spirt, I want to live like Jesus.
Holy Spirit, I want to pray like Jesus.
PAIDIR CHUIG AN SPIORAD NAOMH
A Spioraid Naoimh, ba mhaith liom an rud ceart a dhéanamh.
A Spioraid Naoimh, ba mhaith liom maireachtáil mar a mhair Íosa.
A Spioraid Naoimh, ba mhaith liom
guí mar a ghuigh Íosa. Múin dom é.
ACT OF LOVE
O my God,
I love you with all my heart,
with all my soul, and with all my strength.
Lord, increase our love.
Help us to love one another. Amen.
‘Behold, I am with you all days, even till the end of the world.’ (Benedictus antiphon).
‘Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love; though the peoples spoke different tongues you united them in proclaiming the same faith, alleluia.’ (Magnificat antiphon).
‘For the Lord is righteous; he loves justice. The upright will see his face.’ (Psalm 10:7)
‘…now we shall try to outline the major paths of dialogue which can help us escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us.’ (Laudato Si’, no. 163).
Sr Anne Neylon