The Bread will be coming to you in an abbreviated format for the rest of the summer so that we can focus on the great resources we hope to roll out this fall.
This week, read and reflect on being prophetic witnesses of the Kingdom of God; pray prayers in honor of Kateri Tekawitha, and teach your kids to turn work into prayer; live the Gospel by talking about the virtue of honesty and trying our Virtue Tickets game; get a quick and fun (if slightly humbling) way to talk about the faith with our Stump the Parents game; and celebrate Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It’s all coming up this week in The Bread!
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The Week at a Glance
This week continues the theme of God sending prophets to his people. In the first reading, Amos describes how God took him from his ordinary work and sent him to his people; in the Gospel reading, Jesus sends his disciples out, two by two, to proclaim the Kingdom of God. He sends them out without so much as a credit card . . . only faith in God’s providence. Perhaps this stance of vulnerability was as much a prophetic witness as anything the disciples said. How does your family show a prophetic faith in God’s providence?
The Word in a nutshell for little kids
Jesus sent his disciples on a long journey without anything but a walking stick. They didn’t have food, money, or even a backpack! Jesus wanted them to trust that God would provide what they needed. The disciples preached the Good News of God’s love to everyone they met on their journey. And guess what? God not only provided them with food and a place to stay, but helped them work miracles, too!
Breaking open the Word with older kids and teens
- As you preview the readings, share with your kids which line “speaks” to you most vividly, and invite them to share the same.
- What implications do the readings have for how you live together as a family?
- Jesuit novices are sometimes sent on a long journey with nothing but a bus ticket and thirty dollars. They, like the disciples, have to learn to keep their eyes and ears open for God’s providence. Would you ever go on such a journey?
Raise Bible-literate kids!
- Paraphrase or act out this week’s Gospel story with younger children.
- Explore the readings more in depth using the commentary accompanying the New American Bible Revised Edition (links above) and the many resources of The Sunday Website.
- Get a really good family missal: Magnifikid! (for older kids ages 5 – 10); Give Us This Day (a wealth of daily resources from Liturgical Press); or Magnificat (another rich source for the daily readings, saints, prayers, and more).
Teach your kids how to turn work into prayer
Help your kids develop a Christian attitude toward work by teaching them how to make their work—whether around the house or at school—into a prayer. We’ve got several strategies, plus talking points, here: Teach your kids how to turn work into prayer.
Prayers in honor of Saint Kateri Tekawitha
You’ll find a couple of prayers in honor of St. Kateri Tekawitha, whose feast we celebrate on Tuesday this week, at the Kateri Tekawitha website.
Summer of virtues: Honesty
Practice the virtues with your kids this summer, one each week. This week, focus on honesty, or what the Church calls truthfulness.
What is honesty?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines truthfulness as “the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy . . . The virtue of truth gives another his just due. Truthfulness keeps to the just mean between what ought to be expressed and what ought to be kept secret: it entails honesty and discretion” (#2468-2469).
Honesty is the basis of civil society; if we cannot trust one another, society begins to break down. Integrity is honesty toward one’s self; if we believe our own lies, then our very identity begins to break down.
Closely related to honesty is love of the truth. To seek the truth is to seek God; God never contradicts the truth. Saint Pope John Paul II wrote memorably about the human search for truth: “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves” (Fides et Ratio, introduction).
Break it down
- Spend some time brainstorming with your older kids and teens what it means to “be true in word and action.” Run a few scenarios.
- What are some examples of being honest with ourselves? How can things go wrong if we lie to ourselves?
- The Catechism says that we ought to strike a just balance between what ought to be expressed and what ought to be kept secret; what are some examples of when it is best not to share information?
- Point out to older kids that faith and reason go hand in hand. You can point them to the encyclical Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), quoted above.
The Virtue Tickets Game: Honesty
This week, focus on training your kids to recognize the virtue of honesty by inviting them to issue virtue tickets whenever they see honesty in action.
- Print out the sheet of Virtue Tickets for the virtue of honesty (found here: honesty tickets), or make your own.
- Have your kids cut out the individual tickets as you discuss the virtue of honesty using the talking points above.
- Throughout the week, have your kids “issue tickets” by filling out a ticket with the appropriate details whenever they “catch” someone practicing the virtue of honesty. You can play this game in one of three ways (or blend the three methods):
- Option 1: Invite your kids to actually issue the ticket to the person responsible for practicing the virtue. At the end of the week, family members can turn their tickets in for a prize that the whole family can enjoy—for instance, if everyone in the family manages to collect 25 tickets altogether, then the family will order pizza, and the kids can choose which type it will be. If the family collects 35 tickets altogether, the kids can choose ice cream to go with it, etc.
- Option 2: Whenever your kids spot an instance of honesty anywhere—on television, at the mall, in the family—they fill out a ticket, which they keep. As with option 1, the tickets are counted at the end of the week for a family prize.
- Option 3: You’re the primary ticket-writer. When you write out the ticket for your youngster, write a “penalty” (really a reward) on the back, redeemable at the end of the week (for older kids) or immediately (children under age 7).
- Your kids might enjoy issuing tickets to friends, neighbors, store clerks, etc.
Stump the Parents: A quick, if somewhat humbling, way to do family catechesis
We’ve all been there before: It’s Sunday evening, you’ve just realized your fifth grader has to assemble a model of a dinosaur from pasta noodles, and you haven’t even done family catechesis yet. Deciding that passing on the faith is more important than pasta dinosaurs, you decide to do a quick—yet effective!—family catechesis. But what can you do that doesn’t require a lot of prep time on your part?
The answer: Stump the Parents, a quick (if slightly embarassing) family catechesis game. You can also pull this one out to mix things up a little, since kids tend to love the role reversal here. Read the whole strategy here: Stump the Parents.
Celebrate Our Lady of Mount Carmel
This week, celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Carmel with a “mountain” of caramel candies and a homemade scapular treat, all of which you can find over at Shower of Roses.