‘Come, let us adore the Lord, for he is our God.’ (Invitatory antiphon).
It might be worthwhile to explore this phrase ‘less is more.’ Perhaps as the restrictions due to Covid-19 are lightened, it is an appropriate time to evaluate what became less available to citizens during lockdown and thus provided more of something better e.g. less shopping, more money; less driving, more walking; less working hours, more SMART work; less commuting, more family time; less junk food, more home cooked meals; less carbon footprint, more fresh air; and less socialising, more personal time. In having less, one can create a life of more.
Today’s readings from Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) (Eccles, Sir 48:1-14) and the Gospel (Mt 6:7-15) are proclaimed at Mass via the webcam or read from the Old and New Testament.
The first reading compliments Elijah and Elisha.
The Gospel proclaims the prayer Jesus taught to the disciples, ‘Our Father’. Jesus directly tells the disciples how to pray-no need to babble or use lots of words. Less is more. The value of prayer lies in the faith and love of God. It is possible that when persons pray to God saying the ‘Our Father’ they can identify that lift their hearts, souls and minds to God as Father and friend; to a God who loves each one unconditionally, always waiting for the person’s attention and presence and to share a silent moment or a gaze of love. To pray is not so much to use many words but to do recognise God’s love and surrender to God’s will. The ‘Our Father’ incorporates everything that is needed in prayer. Prayer is communication with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – verbal and non-verbal.
SEEK GOD’S LOVE IN THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
Prayer is an integral part of the Grow in Love programme. Faith is nourished by prayer. Through prayer children can explore their relationship with God. Children are invited to appreciate God’s presence in their lives and they are invited to take a moment to chat and listen to God as they would their friend or their parent/guardian. Children are provided with many opportunities for prayer throughout each lesson.
Prayer is much more than saying prayers. Prayer is raising one’s heart and mind to God.
Formal prayers provide the language for prayer and also enable children to pray as a group, answer Mass responses or pray for common intentions. Children light the virtual candle daily in school and pray for personal or class needs or those of the world.
On reaching Sixth class children have been taught all the formal prayers required. As children are taught these prayers, they identify to whom they are praying, the Father, Son and/or the Holy Spirit. The children are taught new prayers by saying them line by line and are taught to take one phrase and reflect on it.
Children pray to God in different ways and different times. Sometimes they offer a prayer of thanksgiving, a prayer of intercession, a prayer of sorrow, or a prayer of adoration.
Children are encouraged to pray with their families at home. In the ‘Our Father’, the children are taught that God is our Father; God’s name is holy; they pray for God’s Kingdom of love, joy and peace to be a reality in their lives; that each one may do God’s will on earth and in heaven. The children then are taught that they ask God for daily bread, that which will sustain them; they ask for forgiveness for themselves and to grant forgiveness to others; they ask God not to allow them to be led into temptation; and to be delivered from evil. They end the prayer by saying Amen.
This great prayer can be sung and gestures can be used to enhance its meaning. Children learn that singing is a form of prayer. Children explore how doing acts of love and being selfless is also a form of prayer.
Children pray and reflect on the psalms. They identify that sometimes those who prayed the psalms felt very loving, joyful and thankful to God. Sometimes they expressed their anger and at other times their fear. God understands all our feelings and continues to seek each person out in love.
Children recognise that prayer is a very essential part of daily life and they reflect on the prayer life of the saints.
At different points in the Liturgical year they engage in a wide variety of prayers. They can pray alone or with others; with words or without words. They keep a prayer journal.
Children are introduced to a prayer space and the value of having an atmosphere of prayer in which to pray. They form the habit of praying before meals and after meals and at regular times through the day.
Children are offered opportunities to mediate, to reflect and to acquire the skills of contemplation. By doing such exercises as Lectio Divina and Visio Divina they learn to pray with Scripture.
Jesus teaches us to pray by praying to his Father. Children also pray to Mary and they are taught her great song of praise ‘The Magnificat.’
Resources on the VERITAS website are available on Prayer and all prayers are accessible in the Children’s Grow in Love e-book.
READ from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
‘Our Father’ (Mt 6:7-15), ‘Benedictus’ (Lk 1:68-79), ‘The Magnificat’ (Lk 1: 46-55).
SING from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé:
‘Our Father’, ‘Spirit –Filled Day’, ‘O Sacrament Most Holy’, ‘A Mhuire Mháthair’, ‘Jesus remember Me’, ‘Wherever You Go’, ‘Creation Story’.
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen
Ár nAthair atá ar neamh,
Go naofar d-ainm,
Go dtaga do ríocht, go ndéantar do thoil ar an talamh
Mar a dhéantar ar neamh.
Ár narán laethúil tabhair dúinn inniu,
Agus maith dúinn ár bhfiacha,
Mar a mhaithimindne dár bhféachúna
Is ná lig sinn i gcathú,
Ach saor sinn ó olc. Áiméan.
‘Let us serve the Lord in holiness, and he will deliver us from the hands of our enemies.’ (Benedictus antiphon).
‘I have come to spread fire on earth, and how I wish it were blazing already.’ (Magnificat antiphon).
‘Rejoice, you just in the Lord.’ (Psalm 96:12).
‘… we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.’ (Laudato Si’, no. 246).
‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.’
Sr Anne Neylon