Monday, March 27, 2006

Be Loyal to the One You Marry


It was a warm summer day when Uncle John visited Jean and Juan at their home in the city. At breakfast, Uncle John asked the kids to join him for a day at the zoo. The children were so happy, their faces were beaming! “The zoo, I love the zoo!” shouted Juan as he danced around the kitchen.

Jean jumped up in the air singing for joy. She said, “Thanks Uncle John, I promise to be good and do everything you ask of me.” Jean’s smile was from ear to ear.

Uncle John and the children were off to the bus stop to get the bus that would take them to the zoo.

The zoo was crowded with lots of people. There were so many colors, sounds and smells. The zoo was really exciting and the children were having a great time. They watched the monkeys swing from tree to tree. They watched the dolphins jump through the water making large splashes. They saw the mighty lion roar and then they saw slimy snakes.

When they saw the bald eagles that Jean had a question. “This sign says that bald eagles are endangered. What does endangered mean?”

Uncle John said, “Jean many of the bald eagles have died and have not had new baby eaglets to replace them. So, we are in danger of losing them from our planet if we do not care for them.”

“That is sad, how did it happen?” asked Jean.


“Many eagles have lost their nests to the construction of homes and businesses by humans. The trees were cut and the nesting areas were lost. The good news is that we have started to protect them and there had been a slow increase in their birth rate and maybe someday they will be able to fly freely again.”

While they were talking, Juan noticed another sign about bald eagles. “This sign said, most bald eagles ‘mate for life.’ What does ‘mate for life’ mean, Uncle John?”

“Well Juan it means that bald eagles chose one husband or wife and they never have another for their entire life. Men and women should have only one spouse for their entire life. In fact, God gave us the 6th Commandment--Thou shall not commit adultery, as a rule to insure that we only love one husband or wife.”

“What does adultery mean, Uncle John?” both children asked at the same time.

“It means that God wants us to be totally in love with our spouses, so much in love that we would never even want to love another man or woman. If a married person does give their love to another man or woman it is a violation of God’s law, which is called adultery. Adultery breaks the trust married couples have for one other. They do not feel as if they are ‘one’ any more and God wants all married couples to be ‘one.’” Uncle John explained.

“Being married is grace from God and God gives married couples great gifts. The best gift of all is the gift of life. God wants all married couples to have loving and polite children like you” said Uncle John with a great big smile.

“Now, let’s go home and have supper with your wonderful parents who love both God and you both very much” said Uncle John.

God wants good things for everybody. When your heart is full of good things, your smile will burn brightly and everybody around you will know it! What is on the inside affects the outside! Be loyal to your family and you will fly like the eagle.

Don't Hurt Others


Chelsea and Carliagni were with their parents on a summer holiday at a beautiful tropical island in the Caribbean. The sea water was as blue as the sky on a clear day and warm and refreshing. The white sand was perfect for making sandcastles and running. Chelsea and Carliagni were on the beach making sandcastles after spending the past hour playing in the water. They were having a great time!

Suddenly two unfamiliar boys came running by their blanket making a lot of noise.

"Bang, bang" said the older boy with his thumb in the air and his index finger pointing forward in the shape of a gun. The younger boy rolled around in the sand and said "Bang!" to the older boy using his hand in the very same way.

These boys were loud and snorted while they were pretending to shoot one another. The older boy dropped down on the sand, pretending to be dead while the other boy acted like a great champion. Then they both laughed and ran away.

After seeing this, the girls made guns out of their fingers imitating the other boys. "Bang bang!"

At that very moment, their mother said, "Please stop doing that immediately!"
Startled, Chelsea said, "Mom, we were just playing and our friends play this way all of the time at school."


Mom asked the girls to come to the beach chairs, it was time for a little chat. They needed to explain God's plan for respecting human life and for honoring the dignity of all persons.

Dad said, "Many years ago, God gave commandments to Moses, the fifth one said that we should not kill." So, we must not hurt or harm anyone, but help them and be a friend.”

"Oh come on, we were not killing anyone, we were just playing" said Carliagni .

Dad said, "Of course, you were not killing but you were pretending to kill. That is not a fun game to play. You were playing something that is wrong."

Mom then said, "Life is so special, I remember the days you were both born and I held you in my arms." Mom sighed and said further, "Oh, all the dreams and wishes I have for you. I could not imagine you being killed. Or you being someone who would pretend to take that dream away from another mother by killing their child."

Dad said, "If you are going to have fun, play games that make life special. Take part in sports, make each other laugh, run and play. These all are ways to enjoy life."

Mom said, "Girls, killing is against God's law. God wants you to obey the laws so you can benefit from God's love for you. God loves you more than you can imagine. God also has wishes and hoped and dreams for you! Being a person who respects life is a person who can enjoy all of the people God has made and most of all, it allows you to be truly happy."

"Wow! We are sorry” the girls said.

Mom and Dad just hugged one another and were proud that their children did not choose to make killing a game.

Many children play games that shoot and kill. Every life is precious and we should not do anything to cause harm to anyone. God wants you to be special. Don’t play any killing games instead play games that will make your life and the life of others special.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

God's Gift of Love for Your Mother and Father


Nicky and Jessica love parties! The food, the laughter, the games, always so much fun!

One day Jessica and Nicky were at one of these special family parties when Jessica went into the kitchen and gave a big hug to Aunt Helen. "Aunt Helen, I really love you and I think you are really cool. Do you want to know what I really like to do?"


"No, tell me" said Aunt Helen while giving Jessica a huge hug.

"I would like to spend time alone with you-just two girls" Jessica said with a big grin.
"That sounds like fun Jessica, let's go for a walk in the woods behind the house?" Aunt Helen said as she started towards the kitchen door. Aunt Helen and Jessica started an their "all girls" walk in the woods. Nicky ran into the basement to watch the baseball game on television.


While they were walking, Jessica said, "I love my whole family with all my heart. Sometimes, I even feel a tingle deep inside but I don't understand why. I even feel this love when they were not with me. Sometimes I just think of them and I feel a special love."

With a tear in her eye, Aunt Helen said, " Jessica that is so special! Why do you think you feel this way?"

Jessica said, "Aunt Helen, I think God puts a warm spot in our hearts for those who are close to us like our family and special friends. So, when we think of them we feel that special tingle. I feel that special tingle in a strong way when I think of my Mom and Dad."

Aunt Helen said. "That also happens to me when I am with my children and your Uncle Henry. That warm feeling is so special, isn't it?

"Oh yes is it a warm feeling. How long will it last?" Jessica wondered.

Aunt Helen explained, "God gives everyone a special amount of His love called 'grace.' Grace helps in times of trouble and also it helps make our love stronger and it lasts forever. God gives us lots of grace for our family. He wants us to honor and love our parents all the days of our lives whether they are with us or are far away.”

"Really?" Jessica asked.

Aunt Helen continued "Whether our parents or family are in the same room, in a far away country or even in heaven, your love will always keep strong. In fact, God thinks it is so important that he made it the Fourth Commandment. God wrote that we should Honor our Mother and our Father all the days of our lives."

Jessica said, "That was really a nice thing God did to give us that grace to love everyone in the same way that I love my parents." She put her arms around Aunt Helen and her face glowed with a huge smile.

They walked back to the party with that warm feeling in their hearts because by sharing God's love, they loved each other in a special way.

The main duties of children are to love God and their parents with all their hearts. When we do good things we not only honor our parents but we honor our family name which goes on forever. This obedience is needed for our everyday lives. When we are in school, we must obey our teachers and those in authority. This will make our lives happier and more pleasing to all, especially God.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I Wonder...


How Can God Hear Everyone's Prayers At Once?

God can hear everyone's prayers at once because God is everywhere. We can only be at one place at a time, and usually we can't understand more than one person at a time. But God is not like us - He is not limited. God is infinitely greater than we are. He can hear thousands of prayers at once. Not only can God hear and understand everyone who is praying to him in many different languages, but he also can give each person his full attention. Isn't God great!



Friday, March 17, 2006

Keep a Special Day for God


One Sunday Nicky and Jessica went shopping with their Aunt Lisa. They were looking at all kinds of stores window-shopping. Jessica was telling Aunt Lisa how she would love a new dress when Nicky interrupted. He noticed that many of the stores were closed. He asked, “Aunt Lisa, why are so many stores closed today and their lights are turned out?”

Aunt Lisa replied, “Nicky, the reason the stores are closed is because it is Sunday.” Nicky scrunched up his nose and said, “Huh? Sunday? I know that’s when people go to Church and when people spend lots of time with their families but why can’t I go to this jewelry store to get my watch fixed?”

Aunt Lisa said, “Nicky, many stores are closed on Sunday because it is the Lord’s Day and the Third Commandment tells us to keep holy the Lord’s Day.” She explained that in many countries people do not work on Sunday so that they can spend time thanking God for all the good things in their lives and for the gifts, they received during the week. “

Jessica smiled and said, “Aunt Lisa, I always thank God for all the great things in my life.” Aunt Lisa gave her a hug and said, “Jessica, I know that both you and Nicky are always thankful but let me tell you more.”

She explained, “Sunday is the special day when the entire Family of God comes together to thank Him. It is like in our family when on ordinary days, you tell each other how ‘thanks’ and ‘good job’ but there are those special days when our family and friends join together to celebrate. Recently we all went to graduation celebrations of your cousins Steve, Richard, Tanya and Ann. We made it a special event and made them feel extremely special. We gave them cool gifts, remember?”

Aunt Lisa continued, “Sundays are the special days when God’s family around the world gets together at Mass to thank God for all his blessings. Some families worship together on Sunday with all the neighbors in their local communities as a way of thanking God for wonderful gifts. Some ask God for forgiveness. They even give God special gifts like part of their allowance or the best gift--the gift of their love for God.”

Aunt Lisa gave them each a hug and said, “I love you both and I need you to know that when I go to Church I always thank God for the both of you!”

It is always important to make Sunday a special day for God and join all of God’s family to say thanks. We should make every effort to attend Mass. Taking time to say thanks to family and friends is just as important—they too, are gifts from God.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

THE "U" IN JESUS


Before U were thought of or time had begun,
God even stuck U in the name of His Son.
And each time U pray, you'll see it's true
You can't spell out JesUs and not include U.
You're a pretty big part of His wonderful name,
For U, He was born; that's why He came.
And His great love for U is the reason He died.
It even takes U to spell crUcified.
Isn't it thrilling and splendidly grand
He rose from the dead, with U in His plan.
The stones split away, the gold trUmpet blew,
and this word resUrrection is spelled with a U.
When JesUs left earth at His upward ascension,
He felt there was one thing He just had to mention.
Go into the world and tell them it's true That I love them all -
Just like I love U.
So many great people are spelled with a U,
Don't they have a right to know JesUs too?
It all depends now on what U will do,
He'd like them to know
But it all starts with U

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Funny Bone



A leaf out of a book

A little boy opened the family Bible, and looked at the old pages as he turned them. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked it up and looked at an old leaf from a tree that had been pressed in between the pages. “Mama, look what I found!” the boy called out. “What do you have, dear?” she asked. With amazement in his voice, the boy replied, “I think it’s Adam’s suit!”

God is so good

God is so good,
God is so good,
God is so good,
He's so good to me.

God you’re so good
God you’re so good
God you’re so good
You’re so good to me.

I Wonder...

How Come When I Pray to God He Doesn't Always Answer Me?

There is a difference between hearing and answering. God hears all our prayers, but He doesn't always give us what we ask for. He answers all our prayers, but not always the way we want Him to. When we ask God for something, sometimes He answers yes, no or wait. A good answer is not always yes.

Blessed are the Meek


Alice went to her class. In her class was a friend that lived on her same street.

"Hi, Katie." Alice was glad to see a friend.

"Hey Alice. If you need any help, just let me know," said Katie with a smile

"Thank you Katie," said Alice.

Mrs. Williams, their teacher, announced that Katie got the highest grade in the class from their test last week in science.

Mrs. Williams gave Katie a treat. The whole class clapped for Katie.

"Congratulations, Katie," Alice said.

"Thank you. During recess, we can share this treat," Katie offered

"No, Katie, its yours, you earned it," said Alice.

With a smile Katie answered, "I want to share with you."

"Thank you Katie, and I could use some help in science."

"Sure Alice, right after school."

Jesus teaches us that we all have gifts that He has given to us. We should share what we are good at with others and never be boastful.

Wasn't that nice of Katie?
Do you think Katie made Alice feel as if she had a friend?
Do you think Katie made Jesus happy?


Remember to pray and ask Jesus to give you a meek and humble heart and mind.

Use Words to Honor God and People


“Way cool!” said Nicky. He was happy because Uncle Henry was taking Jessica and him to a Memorial Day parade! It was a warm day in the city as summer was beginning. Jessica studied in school that Memorial Day was a day when all the people remembered those who had given their life for their country.

In their city, there were always parades for big events. The parades had marching bands that played great music, big, colorful floats dedicated to the theme and many of the city’s famous people.


Nicky and Jessica were very happy to be going. Uncle Henry also brought along his friend James. He was older than Nicky and Jessica but still younger than their very old Uncle Henry. Jessica used to tease her Uncle Henry saying, “He is so old that he even had grey hair.” She loved to tease her Uncle because she knew he loved her with all his heart and that he was always having fun.

During the parade, James got really excited about the music and started to shout out loud. An ugly scene happened. James lost his temper and said some very nasty words. He was red in the face and waved his hands all around. Nicky covered his ears because he knew that from his training about loving God and one another that nasty words were not what God wanted us to say. Jessica stood there with her mouth opened, she was embarrassed. Uncle Henry did his best to stop James.

After the fuss was over, James apologized to everyone, including Uncle Henry, Nicky and Jessica. James said he had a problem with anger and that sometimes he said things that were offensive to others. He said he was especially sorry about saying nasty things about God. James said, “God tells us in the Second Commandment that we should not use his name in vain.” I used God’s name in vain and I am sorry.

Nicky was not really sure what “in vain” meant but he knew it was important to respect for the Lord's name and James’s angry words did not respect God. Uncle Henry said that Nicky had it 100% correct!

Uncle Henry said that he was very happy that Nicky and Jessica did not use bad words or have anger problems. He was always proud of them for the way that they always respected other people. For their reward, Uncle Henry and James took Nicky and Jessica to the ice cream stand and bought them a big ice cream cone when the parade ended.

It is always important to respect God and all of God’s people by using good words and not using nasty words. Even though others may use curse words to act cool, we all know that God has a special love for those who use their words to make the world a better place.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I Wonder...

Why Do We Pray?

Prayer is talking with God. When we have a good friend, we talk to that person about all sorts of things. By spending time with that person we build a relationship and become friends.

In the same way, we should talk to God about what is happening in our life. God wants us to share our life with Him, to tell Him about what makes us happy, sad, and afraid. He wants to know what we want and what we would like Him to do, for ourself and for others. Also, when we pray, we open ourself up to God so that He can make good and positive changes in us.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I Want!!!


"I want the doll with the hair that grows, and the clothes that go with her, and new roller blades, and the phone that really talks, and perfume and new clothes . . .

. . . OH YEAH. . .

I want the car, and the studio, and the house for the doll,
and a new purse,
and . . . "

"WAIT A MINUTE!


You need to let me tell what I want!"

"I want a 12-speed bike, and a monster truck, and the talking space station and a ping-pong table, and a big trampoline, and a super-hero costume, and . . ."

HEY! You didn't let me finish. I want . . .

Oh my! It seems as if this could go on all day! This is the way it is in the James household. Every time a new catalog comes in the mail, the children gather around and pick and choose all the things they think they want.

What do you think happens when they receive some of these things?
Do you think they appreciate what they receive?
Do you think they are happy?
How long will that happiness last?



The Story of Achan
Joshua 7

Achan and his family lived in a tent. That may sound strange to you , because your family and the people you know probably live in houses or apartment buildings. But, living in tents was quite common for Achan and his family.

Achan had everything he needed. He had his tent-home. He had a flock of sheep for wool to make clothing. He had herds of cattle for milk and meat. He had a wife and children that loved him. Achan should have been very happy. But he wasn't.


Achan wanted more!

One day Achan saw some very lovely things. He saw:


a beautiful robe from Babylon,
and a piece of gold,

and some silver coins.

As he looked at those items, he thought, "I sure would like to have all that. My clothes are made from sheep's wool. That robe from Babylon is much nicer than the clothing I have. It would look so good on me. And if I had that gold and those silver coins, why, I could buy anything I want."

Achan thought it all over in his mind. The more he thought about it, the better it sounded. The new robe and all that money he just could not pass up. He couldn't just leave it there. After all, if he didn't take it, someone else would come along and take it, right? He finally made his decision.

Achan picked up the gold and the silver coins and put them in a safe place, then he carefully placed the expensive robe over his shoulder so it would not get dirty or wrinkled. Achan was so happy as he journeyed home. He almost couldn't believe his good fortune.

After Achan got home with his treasures, he began to think more about what he had done. He thought, "None of my friends have a robe like this one. It is so special that if I wear it, they will wonder where I got it. I can't tell them I found it and stole it." Then he thought about the gold and the silver. "If I take this gold to the market and try to buy new things, people will wonder how I got the gold. Only the rich people have gold and I am not rich. I can't use the silver either, because it is not from my country, and they will know that I have stolen it. What can I do now?"

Achan began to dig a hole. He dug a deep hole in the ground under his tent. In that hole, he buried the robe, the gold, and the silver. "Ah, that takes care of that!' He thought. 'It is all under the ground, and no one will ever know what I have done."

Achan forgot about God. He forgot that God sees everything and knew what he did. In the end, Achan had to be punished for the sin he committed.

Hmmm….

Do you think it is wrong or sinful to want things?
If you see something that doesn't look like it belongs to anyone is it all right to take it?
What should Achan have done when he saw the robe, the gold, and the silver coins?

Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5).


Let us pray that we will not be covetous and be content with what we have.

Dear God, Thank you for all the good things you have given us, such as our family, home, clothing, and food.Help us learn to be happy with what we have and not to be tempted to steal in order to get the things we think we want. Let us remember that you are always watching over us, and help us to only do those things thatwill be pleasing to you. In Jesus' name.

Amen.

Loving God With All Your Heart


Jessica and Nicky were stuck in the house looking for exciting things to do because it was raining. They soon became bored and started to do odd things.

Nicky started making noises. "Grrrrr!" said Nicky as he sneaked up behind Jessica.

This really annoyed Jessica so she started to push Nicky away. She said, "Nicky, stop being so dumb!"

Nicky just laughed and then started to jump up and down making a "hissing" sound like a snake.

Hearing the fuss, Aunt Helen ran into the room. She separated them and asked them to spend some time in their rooms thinking about the things that are really important to them. She told them to write a list of all the things or people they loved the most in life.

Aunt Helen asked to see the lists the kids made a short time after.

"Very interesting!" said Aunt Helen. "I see things like baseball, candy, music, movies, television, video games, stuffed animals and even chocolate but I don't see God's name anywhere." "All these things on their lists were great but to be truly happy, you need to make God your first love. You need to make God the center of your lives. You must love the Lord our God with all your hearts."

She told them that making other things the most important thing is breaking the 1 st Commandment. "I AM the Lord your God and I shall not have others gods before me."

"What are other gods?" Jessica asked.

Aunt Helen said, ""Other gods" can be things we love more than God."

Nicky thought for a minute and said, "That must mean that if going to a baseball game is more important to me than anything else, it is a god!

Aunt Helen just smiled.

Jessica said "I guess that 1st commandment is for us today because we made all the fun things in life our gods"

"It looks like you both understand." said Aunt Helen as she hugged them. "If you learn to trust and love God with all your heart, you will have life at its best."


Let us remember that God wants all of our love. Give all your love to God. He will give you lots more love than you can ever dream about. Then you can give that love to other people and this gift of love can continue for a long long time.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit


Alice and Nicholas were in their new school. Going to a new school can be hard.

They sat together waiting for the bell to ring to start school.

A boy approached them,


"I am James. I can run faster than anyone else in the whole school"

"I am Nicholas and this is Alice. I'm glad that you run fast," Nicholas said.

“Run with me and I will show you how fast I can run. I can beat you."

"I believe you, James. I don't want to run,"

James was insisting, "Yes, you have to run with me. Are you afraid?"

"I am not afraid, I just don't want to run," Nicholas said.

By this time there were a lot of people around. James kept after Nicholas, calling him names until finally Nicholas said,

"OK, I will run with you."

James was laughing when he said,

"We will run to that tree and back. Try to keep up with me."


Ready,
set,
go!

Nicholas ran as fast as he could. He ran to the tree touched it, and started back. James was running as hard as he could too. Nicholas was faster. He touched the tree and started back and James wasn't even to the tree yet. James never touched the tree. He just turned and started back.

James ran fast but Nicholas ran faster. Nicholas won.

Jesus teaches us that when we are humble, as Nicholas was, we get many rewards from Him.


What do you think?
Was that right for James to insist Nicholas run?
Did James want a race with Nicholas to show he was better?
Do you think James was humbled by losing?

What Have We Learnt?

Happy are the Poor in Spirit. This means that Jesus is happy when we are humble. We should not be boastful or selfish. If we do not listen to the words of Jesus we may develop a prideful attitude and think that we are better than everyone. This is not a good thing.

Remember to pray to Jesus and ask Him to give us an attitude of humility. The best model of humility Jesus gave to us is our Blessed Mother. We can ask her to help us become humble like she.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What Can We Do For Jesus?



Many people during Lent often decide to go without their favourite foods, which is a good thing, as they practice acts of penance.

There is also another way to please God and that is to try and be extra helpful to our parents. So instead of rushing out to play games, it may be a good thing with your Mom's permission to help her wash the dishes or to do some extra chores in your home.


Our favourite food is not always the only thing we must give up when Lent begins. We should also practice goodness and kindness to all, even if we are feeling a bit grumpy.

This kind of penace would make God very happy with us.

Copyright © 2006 Steve Smith. All rights reserved.