Today we talked Theology of the Body, which KJ jokes is our Catholic birds and bees. We separate the boys and girls with a divider, so they can’t see (or really hear) each other, and yet we can teach them together. (We used to do a boy’s session and a girl’s session, but we prefer this much better.)
We talked about love as a sacrifice, about the free, total, faithful, and fruitful design of it. When the kids walked in, KJ had them take a Band-Aid and put it on their skin; throughout the talk, she has them take it off and put it back on. She points out how the Band-Aid changes as they keep
This talk includes discussion of the dangers and sad effects of pornography, masturbation, and contraception. We don’t shove it at them: one of the kids actually asked a question today (“What about donating sperm?”) that led to a discussion of masturbation and the fact that no, it is not an okay approach to things.
Session two kicked off with “Fishers of Men“:
We talked about our parish priest and all he does. Why can’t priests be married? And when do priests ever sleep?
We had the kids gather in a circle and take off one sock and shoe. They went around the circle, washing the foot of the person to their right and as they prayed a prayer KJ had printed for them.
We followed that with an object lesson that includes a candle, flame, and glass jar. The lit candle is our soul with Jesus making it burn brightly. As we talked about how easy sin is, I lowered the jar over the candle. The candle eventually sputtered, and I talked about how the sacrament of reconciliation helps us keep the candle burning, gives it the air it needs.
There has never been more than one or two kids, in all my years of teaching, who are in a habit of going to confession. Discussing what happens at confession, then, is helpful (during their retreat in a few weeks, they will go to confession). We also pass out a little guide to confession, talk about favorite apps, and discuss what an examination of conscience is and how they can use it.
Our introduction to the next session was this memorable video of Susan Boyle’s first appearance on Britain’s Got Talent:
It was striking the effect this had on the group: when they first saw Boyle’s face on the screen, a few of them made comments and there was a lot of giggling. And though I don’t know that any of them would listen to Susan Boyle on their own, they recognized what happened.
We spent some time talking about how quickly we judge people and make assumptions about them that may not be in keeping with their dignity as a child of God.
And then, KJ read this story from Beth Moore (which I just found on YouTube):
Our day ended with a lifeboat activity: seven kids come to the front and read a brief description of who they are. Each small group, including the group of volunteers in the front, has to pick who gets tossed overboard (the lifeboat only has six seats).
It’s always interesting to hear the reasoning on this activity and why they pick who they pick (and how heated they get about it).
We then do the reveal and tell them who each person is and the impact they will have on the world if they live (for example, the old man in the wheelchair is Saint John Paul II and the nondescript homeless woman is Mother Teresa of Calcultta.)
This week, I find myself examining my faith and my life. I can’t help it: being immersed in this is stretching my brain in ways it isn’t often stretched. I only hope that some of the seeds we’re planting bear fruit for these kids.