"The whole trouble is that -- literally -- we do not know what is good for us; and what makes the trouble still worse is that we think we do. We have our own plans for our happiness, and too often we merely regard God as somebody who will help us to accomplish them. The true state of affairs is just the opposite. God has His plans for our happiness, and He is waiting for us to help Him to accomplish them. And let us be quite clear about it: We cannot improve on God's plans." This Tremendous Lover, M. Eugene Boylan, O.C.R.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A lesson on the Mystery of Repentance, Confession

Today, I was out sick, so this is the lesson plan I sent in for my other teachers to complete on my behalf. I've included the entire script that I used for your benefit below. Most of the information was taken from the "God with Us, Celebrating Forgiveness" booklet as well as A booklet from "St. Anne Atrium of the Little Flower, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd" booklet

Lesson Script:

There are two sacraments that the Church encourages us to receive very frequently. Can you tell me what they are? (allow children to answer) That’s right, Confession and Holy Communion. In our church, we call Sacraments “Mysteries.” In the next two weeks we will be talking about the Mystery of Repentance, or confession, and the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist, or communion. Especially during the Great Fast, we need to remind ourselves of the importance of these two sacraments.

Today, we are talking about the Mystery of Repentance. God made us because He loves us. God sent His Son Jesus into our world and His Holy Spirit to guide us because he loves us so much. God wants us to love Him in return, and God asks us to love others as God loves us. We are to love everyone, including those people that we do not like.

How do we show God that we love Him? (allow for children’s answers)
1. Pray
2. Worship on Sundays at the Liturgy, and by receiving the Eucharist
3. Learn more about Him by coming to CRE and reading books
4. Follow his commandments (use some examples of the 10 commandments)

How do we show that we love others? (allow for children’s answers)
1. Give money and service to the poor
2. Be kind and patient, treating others as you would like to be treated
3. Serve/Help others

To sin is to hurt others either by what we do or what we fail to do. When we sin, we are not loving God or others. We are acting selfishly. Sin separates us from God and keeps us away from Him. But, God wants us to be close to Him! God never stops loving us, even when we sin, but we need to ask God for forgiveness. God always forgives us when we are sorry for our sins.

God always waits for us to become aware of His love. Repentance means recognizing the evil we have done and humbly retuning to God our Father. We must admit our failings and ask for forgiveness. We must value God above all else. We can seek God’s forgiveness through Confession, the Mystery of Repentance.
Let me show you an example of this: (here we used THIS visual aide for the children)

Confession re-unites us with God and with our community. It is a beautiful gift! Our church expects us to go to confession at least once a year, typically during the Great Fast. All the older children will have an opportunity to go to Confession before Pascha. Those who have not been to confession before, you will be learning more about this sacrament next year and many of you will have your first confession this time next year!

Now, lets look at the steps of what happens during confession: (Hand out confession instructions, print here for older children, and one for the younger children (picture cards).) You can also use this examination of conscience for children that I like.

Review the steps with the children:

First, we do an examination of conscience. This means that we think about our sins…what we have done and what we have not done to love God. These are the things that we will confess to the priest.

Second, we begin our confession. We will talk to the priest during this time, imagining that we are talking directly to God. We will tell him our sins and how sorry we are.

Third, the priest will absolve us. God frees us from our sins and weaknesses with the Holy Spirit and we are reunited to God and to each other.

Fourth, we quietly pray, thanking God for his forgiveness and completing our penance, whatever the priest has asked us to do.

Answer any questions with the children. Confession is a beautiful gift to re-unite us with God and with each other. Use the tools that we have given you today to familiarize yourself with the sacrament. We encourage you to go to Confession with Father whenever you have committed a serious sin, but at a minimum, once a year. We will give you the opportunity to do this during class in the next two weeks.

We are going to be doing a very big craft next week and talking about the Eucharist. We need to get started on that craft today, so I have a few coloring pages for you to color. Color all the people and cut out the squares, then place all your pieces in a ziplock bag with your name on them. We will collect them and save them for next week. (Here's what's coming: HERE)

A couple extra activities if you have extra time:

Word puzzle is provided and game: Print it here

Also a game to get the kids up and moving:The Righteous vs. the Wicked, a spin on "Red light, green light" scroll down to the very bottom

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