Pop-Up Catechesis: Speaking God’s Language Through Silence

When I was in high school, I remember being told by a Jesuit priest (one of my teachers) to listen for God in the silence. This was no easy task. First of all, it was not easy for me to find a quiet place in a home that I shared with my eight siblings! Second, when I did find some silence, I never heard God speaking to me. When I related this to the priest, […]

Lent and the Importance of Being Still

“Be still, and know that I am God.” —Psalm 46:10 This Scripture passage is the favorite of many, because it is so direct and so true. We all need to be reminded that God is God and we are not. And stillness helps us to recognize this truth. In fact, being still is a necessary part of spiritual renewal. Think of it this way. Have you ever come across a spiritual tradition that has not […]

A Prayer to Listen to the Holy Spirit

The Scriptures remind us that the voice of God often comes in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11–13). Practice listening for God’s voice, and invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your group of Confirmation candidates, catechists, or other adults through a prayer service composed by Julianne Stanz. The prayer is inspired by Shhh…God Is in the Silence by Fiona Basile. A copy of the book is needed for the prayer service readings.

Pop-Up Catechesis: St. Joseph and a Place for Introverts in the Church

We live in a culture that idealizes extroverts. As a society, we too often tend to equate success, not only with money, but also with the person who can talk the loudest and fastest. We live in a culture of personality. Unfortunately (and this is a pet peeve of mine), the same is often true in our Church: we too often equate discipleship with the ability to talk loud, fast, and convincingly about our faith in […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Spending Time in Quiet

In today’s Pop-Up Catechesis episode, we explore the value of spending some time in quiet. During this time of sheltering-at-home, the isolation we are experiencing may tempt us to surround ourselves with noise and stimulation. And while it is good to be engaged in activity, let’s not lose sight of the fact that this is an opportunity to cultivate the practice of encountering God’s presence in the quiet. It is especially important for us to […]

Encountering God in the Silence—Shhh!

In my years of experience as a catechist, I have always sought to provide those I teach with experiences of silence which, according to St. John of the Cross, and, more recently, Fr. Thomas Keating, is God’s “primary language.” At first, the young people are often uncomfortable with silence, because they experience so little of it in our society. Gradually, however, with some coaching, they can learn to view silence, not just as empty space, but as […]

Ascension Leads to Looking at Summer Spiritual Experiences

As we celebrate the Lord’s Ascension, just about all of us have moved into the more peaceful period between the end of the religious education year and the start of Vacation Bible School. When I worked in a parish, I savored each and every one of those days, and as I was praying, I turned to St. Luke’s version of the Ascension story (Luke 24:50–53). What struck me in those few verses is that Jesus’ […]

Four Ways to Encourage Silence

The topic of silence has come up a few times in discussions with my seventh graders, and every time it does, the young people make it obvious by their facial expressions and comments that the idea of silence isn’t one they embrace. That’s not surprising, given the fact that they get so few opportunities to practice silence in our contemporary world. But I know that silence can lead to beautiful moments of prayer and can […]

Listening

From time to time I find it helpful to stop what I am doing and listen. I mean really listen. My family has learned to recognize when I am no longer hearing what they are saying to me. I am completely honest when this happens and no longer feel guilty when I say to my spouse or child, “You know, I’m just not listening to you anymore.” We know that any further attempts to convey […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 1: Silence and Reverence

This is the first article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. Do your catechists complain that students don’t know how to behave in church? The sad truth is many families do not go to Mass. Catechesis without Mass, however, is not going to “make them Catholic.” One way to help young people love and desire the Mass is by using “the language of mystery” in our catechetical sessions, as […]

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