Teaching to breathe with both lungs
The Catholic Church has always maintained that a disciple of Jesus Christ breathes with both lungs in order to win the race and compete well in the battle to deepen one’s relationship with Jesus Christ and keep the devil at bay. The first lung is our Liturgical Prayer. That includes the regular devoted participation in the sacramental life of the Church. That means realizing while we bring our children to weekday Mass when we send them to the Catholic School, that is liturgical prayer but also realizing our Catholic School is a six day a week enterprise. To keep Holy the Sabbath means we go to the weekend celebrations of our parish if we are Catholic and our house of worship for non-parishioners. Hence the first day of the week in a Catholic School is attending Mass or your Sunday service on the weekends. Weekday Mass is liturgical but does not fulfill keeping the Lord’s Day Holy. That can only be done as a family. Another way in which we use our liturgical lung to breathe in fully the mysteries of our faith is to practice the sacrament of reconciliation on a regular basis. We can invite, even mandate our PSR Students and School Students come to the chapel for the sacrament of reconciliation a few times a year; it’s their choice whether they will avail themselves to the sacrament once they get to the chapel. Praise God, most do! And, it is important our families take their children and avail themselves to this sacrament outside of school and PSR so that by the time they leave our formation programs, they are able to make use of the sacrament because they are using it on their own with their family. Some would say that praying Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and participating in Benediction is also breathing with the liturgical lung. Some would say that is praying with our other lung of devotional prayer. Whichever, it is good and holy. Soon, our Sacred Heart Students from third through twelfth grade will experience XLT adoration (Exult) where they will be in front of the Blessed Sacrament becoming students of silence. Silence interspersed with devotional music is what makes up an XLT Holy Hour. We need to become students of silence if we are going to be disciples who also listen as well as speak to the Lord in prayer. Hopefully parents will take their families to Holy Hours on Tuesdays and Fridays or any time Sacred Heart Chapel is open or from 7:30-8:30 on Wednesdays at Saint John Chapel or the first Sunday of the Month from 1-2pm at Saint Patrick chapel. We need to be feeding both of our lungs: liturgical and devotional to run the race to compete well.
This year we are offering our Sacred Heart students many tools the Catholic Church offers to pray devotional prayers well. These tools are like armor for us to do well in the battle to be disciples of Jesus Christ and keep Satan at bay. From first grade through twelfth grade, each student will receive a piece of the armor. These pieces of armor will be given in prayer services held in the Sacred Heart Chapel. We as Catholics are starving – actually suffocating – because our devotional life, our other lung, is not getting enough oxygen, is not getting enough use. We aim to change that for our young people and ask families of the young not to see this as merely an exercise that Sacred Heart Students are participating in, but that all families will participate in. Let them evangelize so that when they come home after the prayer service where they receive their piece of the armor the whole family may begin to use it regularly; individually or as a family.
The fifth graders have already received their red (for Sacred Heart) rope (so it won’t break) rosary with the card to explain how to pray it and all 20 mysteries of the rosary. Join in and pray the rosary with them. This past week, the Freshmen received a prayer journal, pen and the Prayer Process card so they can more quickly see the working of the Holy Spirit in their daily lives as they grow in practicing daily prayer journaling. Join them in your own daily prayer journaling. With all the negativity that is happening, we all can stand to see God active in our lives which happens when we take up the armor of prayer journaling.
Other pieces of armor that will be given out this year… and hopefully every year…as we assist our young disciples grow in relationship with Jesus Christ and keep Satan at bay:
First Grade: A crucifix
Second Grade; Favorite Bible Stories book
Third Grade: Invested in the Scapular
Fourth Grade: Divine Mercy Chaplet with finger rosary
Sixth Grade: Their favorite Saint Holy Card
Seventh Grade: The Bible
Eighth Grade: Theology of His Body; Theology of Her Body by Jason Evert
Sophomores: A covenant to be a safe driver
Juniors: A Benedictine Bracelet to make good decisions with cell phone usage
Seniors: Write a letter to your next Faith Community
A pillar of a steward’s way of life is prayer. Please join our young disciples in prayer and also join them in using both lungs fully: liturgical life and devotional life of the church. And, let’s make our school week what it is, a six day a week enterprise. See you at Mass and confession and together, let’s continue to grow in holiness as we practice your devotional prayers!