This week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary; plus, launch a summer of practicing virtue with the practice of humility, “queen of the virtues.”
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The Week at a Glance
Younger kids: Act out, paraphrase, or read a kids’ version of one of Sunday’s readings. Your child probably knows about blood from pricked fingers or scraped knees; talk about how Jesus willingly gave his blood in order to heal the “wounds” caused by sin.
Older kids: Have your kids read the Sunday Scriptures before Mass (Saturday evening works well). Then explore the Scriptures with these activities:
- Ask: What line or image from these readings stood out for you? Why?
- Ask: Did you notice a common theme or connection between the readings? The first and second readings set up and inform the Gospel reading by connecting Jesus’ action to the sacrificial action of Moses and the high priests. How do the first and second readings help us better understand the significance of the Eucharist?
- Study: Read the Scriptures in their original context and check out scholarly notes in the New American Bible Revised Edition. The links at the top of this article will take you to the Scripture text in the NABRE.
- Advanced Bible study: Explore the readings in greater depth at The Sunday Website.
- Ask: How do these readings call us to live as a family? “Christianity calls us to routinely sacrifice, to take some aspect of creation and return it to God as a sign of our thanksgiving, communion, or atonement,” says Father Barron in his homily on today’s readings. How do we practice this kind of sacrifice as a family?
Consecrate your family to the Sacred Heart
With the celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary coming up, think about consecrating your family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart began in the 17th century, inspired by the visions of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. Fr. Luciano Alimandi says the devotion arose in part as a reaction against the distortions of Calvinism and Jansenism, which preached that some people are predestined to eternal damnation. EWTN offers more background in its meditation on the devotion.
Before consecrating your family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, use this guide from the Mother Theresa Center for suggested ways to prepare for the consecration.
An Act of Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sacred Heart of Jesus, You made clear to Saint Margaret Mary Your desire of being King in Christian families. We today wish to proclaim Your most complete kingly dominion over our own family. We want to live in the future with Your life. We want to cause to flourish in our midst those virtues to which You have promised peace here below. We want to banish far from us the spirit of the world which You have cursed. You shall be King over our minds in the simplicity of our faith, and over our hearts by the wholehearted love with which they shall burn for You, the flame of which we will keep alive by the frequent reception of Your divine Eucharist. Be so kind, O divine Heart, as to preside over our assemblings, to bless our enterprises, both spiritual and temporal, to dispel our cares, to sanctify our joys, and to alleviate our sufferings. If ever one or other of us should have the misfortune to afflict You, remind him, O Heart of Jesus, that You are good and merciful to the penitent sinner. And when the hour of separation strikes, when death shall come to cast mourning into our midst, we will all, both those who go and those who stay, be submissive to Your eternal decrees. We shall console ourselves with the thought that a day will come when the entire family, reunited in heaven, can sing forever Your glories and Your mercies. May the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the glorious patriarch Saint Joseph present this consecration to You, and keep it in our minds all the days of our life. All glory to the Heart of Jesus, our King and our Father!
Make an Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
In the midst of World War II, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary so as to obtain by her intercession “peace among nations, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, the love of purity and the practice of virtue,” according to Catholic Culture, where you can read more about the historic precedents of the feast.
An Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.
Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.
O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.
We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.
Practice lectio divina
Read one of this week’s Scripture readings (or a few verses) slowly and prayerfully with your kids a few times. For more about how to do lectio divina with kids of all ages, see Lectio Divina for Kids: Praying with Sacred Texts.
Summer of virtues: Humility
Practice the virtues with your kids this summer, one each week, starting with the virtue of humility.
“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues,” according to St. Augustine, “hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” Humility is sometimes called “the queen of all virtues.”
Why? Because, in its essence, it is about recognizing our complete dependence on God, and the fact that God loves all people as much as us. (We’re not “special” in the sense of being loved more than God’s other children!) The vice opposing humility is pride, the exaltation of one’s self over others and over God. Pride is the source of sin.
It’s important for kids to know that humility is not the same as being humiliated. As a virtue,k humility must be freely practiced. Nor does humility involve false modesty, poor self-image, or an untruthful disregard for one’s self. Rather, humility is about recognizing who we really are—sinful, limited creatures who are loved by God—and acting accordingly.
Some examples of humility in the home might be doing chores cheerfully, not complaining, not boasting about accomplishments, waiting before others are served or serving others before serving one’s self food, listening to others talk, complimenting others, sharing credit for accomplishments, admitting being in error, and so on.
What to do:
- Make a chart or some other way of keeping track of your kids’ progress (coins in jars, tokens, clothespins on a string, Good Deed Beads, etc.).
- Talk about the virtue of humility with your kids. Have them brainstorm what it might look like—what are some examples?
- All throughout the week, everyone in the family works at practicing the virtue—and “catching” others practicing the virtue of humility. Whenever someone is “caught,” they earn a mark or a token.
- If you find it impractical to “catch” people throughout the day, then review the day at dinnertime or bedtime to look for instances of the virtue.
- At the end of the week, count up all the marks or tokens, and enjoy some sort of reward as a family. For example, each token might be worth ten cents or a dollar to be spent on a fun family activity, or a meal out.
- Young children might enjoy wearing a badge marking their accomplishment. You can make a badge using plain old paper, or get fancy with aluminum foil, ribbons, glitter glue, felt, or other items.
You might also want to read:
- Humility and Prayer: CCC 2559
- Definition of Humility at Catholic Culture
- 10 Ways to Teach Your Children Humility
- The Virtuous Life: Humility
What do you know about the Blessed Body and Blood of Christ?
Do your older kids and teens know the answers to these questions about the Eucharist? You’ll find succinct answers to all of these questions in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
- In what way is the Eucharist a “memorial” of the sacrifice of Christ? (#280)
- In what way does the Church participate in the eucharistic sacrifice? (#281)
- How is Christ present in the Eucharist? (#282)
- What is the meaning of transubstantiation? (#283)
- What are the fruits of Holy Communion? (#291)
Dinner conversation prompt: What do you want to do this summer?
Go around the table and have each person say what he or she would like to do this summer. If you’re ambitious, keep a list. You can also download a PDF version of Peanut Butter & Grace’s 101 Things To Do This Summer as a prompt.
Celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
- Make valentines from Jesus to each child, with a message echoing the theme of Christ’s infinite love.
- If you make an act of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus or the Immaculate Heart of Mary, cap the celebration with a heart-shaped cake or other heart-themed goodies. Use the time to talk about why Catholics practice devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart.