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Meditation for kids: Jesus our healer

Healing of the Paralytic by Murillo
Healing of the Paralytic by Murillo
Healing of the Paralytic by Murillo. Photo Credit: Wikimedia.

I wrote this meditation for my boys last week, to end our unit on Jesus’s first healing miracles in the Gospels. Use it to supplement your own Bible study or the liturgy.

Read it aloud slowly with lots of pauses, so your children have time to imagine and think about the scene. Have them repeat the final prayer, sentence by sentence. When you have finished, ask them if they’d like to share what they imagined. I don’t require my boys to do this. For some people, meditative prayer is too intimate and personal to talk about. Define “Divine” before beginning, if necessary.

“Close your eyes and imagine you are a paralytic. You are lying on a mat. You cannot move your arms and legs. You have been this way for years. You would give anything to be able to get up and play! [Pause]

“Now imagine you see Jesus bending over you. His face is full of love and mercy. He gently touches your forehead and says, ‘Get up, take your mat, and walk.’ [Pause]

“Think about how you react (don’t say it aloud). What do you say and do? [Longer pause]

“Let us pray. Lord Jesus, thank you for your love and mercy. [They should repeat this part.] Thank you for doctors and medicine that heal me. I know you always hear my prayers when I ask for help. When I am sick or hurt, please make me well again, either through science or through a miracle. You are our Divine Doctor, and I praise you. Amen.”

Connie Rossini

Share with us: Have you tried meditating on Scripture with your kids? Can you recommend any good sources for meditations? If you tried this meditation with your kids, how did it go?

This is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Roundup.

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Hectic Advent? Change your school calendar

D and M light Advent candle

D and M light Advent candlere you already stressed by the pressure of Christmas preparations on top of your homeschooling and parenting duties? You don’t have to be. You can reduce the pressure by doing less–less teaching, that is.

One of the first books about homeschooling I read was The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. My favorite takeaway was to consider an alternate school calendar. Most states don’t require you to follow the calendar or hours of the public schools. (Check your state’s law at HSLDA if you’re not sure.) So, if it doesn’t fit your family’s lifestyle, why do it?

Take a long break for Advent and Christmas

We divide our school year into 12-week trimesters, beginning the Monday after Labor Day, right after our parish’s Harvest Festival. On the first Monday of Advent, we start a 6-week vacation from regular school. Most years this runs roughly from Thanksgiving through the first week of January.

Every day of Advent and Christmas, we do at least one special project or event. Some days, this is as simple as wrapping presents or addressing envelopes. On feasts days, we do special activities. For example, for the Immaculate Conception (December 8), we make paper snowflakes to symbolize Mary’s purity. We decorate our windows with them while our neighbors are putting up their Christmas lights.

We also take a long break for Easter

Our second school break starts during Holy Week, if not before. If the Church calendar doesn’t allow for a full 12 weeks of teaching before then, we add a week or 2 to our final trimester. But it often works out perfectly. We take 4 weeks off total. Besides helping us keep the holy season, this break gives us time to plant our garden.

The down side to our calendar is that summer vacation is only 6 weeks. Most of our friends are on break long before we are. But we participate in summer sports as part of our Physical Education for the year. That gives us more time to play, socialize, and enjoy the outdoors while still having school. A shorter summer break also makes for less review when school stars again.

You can make smaller changes to your calendar too

If you’re not ready to completely change your calendar, try shortening your summer slightly and taking extra time off for Advent. Or cut your school day in half for a few weeks, adding the extra hours on elsewhere.

Advent has become one of my favorite times of year. Instead of being hectic, it’s a fun-filled, faith-filled vacation. If you think outside the schoolhouse, yours could be too.

Connie Rossini

Share with Us: How do you keep from being overwhelmed during Advent? Do you use an alternate school calendar?

This is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Roundup.

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Beg, borrow, or steal buy: Time for God by Jacques Philippe

Jacques Philippe, Time for God

In this occasional series of posts, I recommend resources for you and your family in 100 words or less. More detailed reviews may come later.

Jacques Philippe, Time for GodTraditional teaching on prayer from a Catholic perspective. Contemporary author. Relevant examples. Easy to read. Why and how to pray. Answers common objections. Persuasive. Fits in a coat pocket, purse, or Christmas stocking. By Fr. Jacques Philippe. Might change your life. Need I say more?

Criticisms: None.

Connie Rossini

Read other posts in this series: Golden Children’s Bible

Share with us: Have you read Time for God? What was your impression? What is your favorite book about prayer?

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The secret of a domestic monastery : Conversion Diary

The secret of a domestic monastery : Conversion Diary.

For years I’ve been fascinated with the idea of creating a “domestic monastery.” To me, that concept evoked a home that’s orderly and prayerful, a haven where you could go to retreat from the stress of the world. Something deep within me yearned for this kind of life — and, even though it might sound impossible to the modern mind, my gut told me that this concept is attainable…

(This is a great post by Jennifer Fulwiler at on living a contemplative life in a home with children. Check it out.)

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What is contemplation? Part 2

Ordination of Frs. Michael Mary and Joseph Marie
Fr. Michael Mary and Fr. Joseph Marie, M. Carm., prostrate themselves during their ordination Mass.

There are three major categories of contemplation. The first, which I wrote about last week, is natural contemplation. The second is the contemplation practiced in non-Christian religions. The third is supernatural contemplation. It is this third type of contemplation that St. Teresa of Ávila, St. John of the Cross, and other Carmelites refer to when they use the word “contemplation.”

Christian contemplation versus eastern meditation

Non-Christian contemplation consists of an impersonal awareness. Zen Buddhists practice a meditation or contemplation that is agnostic. God does not come into play. Transcendental meditation, which comes from Hinduism, consists in losing one’s personality in an impersonal, all-encompassing deity. Both these varieties of contemplation are achieved by practitioners’ own actions, which lead to an altered state of consciousness.

Christian contemplation is completely different. It is a loving gaze at God who is Love. Supernatural in origin, it can’t be produced through techniques. Modern writers often use the modifier “infused” to indicate that God pours contemplation into the soul.

Meditating on Sacred Scripture (the Bible) can produce theological contemplation, sometimes called acquired contemplation (although I no longer use this term, since it was not  used by the doctors of the Church and it can confuse people; St. Teresa’s term is acquired recollection). Christian meditation teaches us to know and love Jesus, thus preparing us to open our hearts fully to God’s love. It helps us form the habit of quieting our souls before God, focusing on Him instead of ourselves. See an example of Christian meditation.

God initiates supernatural contemplation

When a soul dedicates herself to prayer, especially Christian meditation, as well as growth in virtue, she greatly pleases God. God then initiates–in His own time–a deeper love-communion with her. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us…” (1 John 4:10). Love begins with God. God bestows His love upon the soul and lifts her up, so that she may also gaze upon Him in love. She communes with God beyond words, concepts, and images. This is a foretaste of Heaven, when we will see and love God as He is (see 1 John 3:2).

Complete union with God rarely comes all at once. Instead, there are stages of contemplation. St. Teresa explains these in Interior Castle. As the soul is cleansed from sin and improper attachments to created things, she opens herself more fully to God’s love. Prayer and virtue grow together. True (infused) contemplation produces a marked growth in virtue. Sins that seemed unconquerable before are  vanquished by grace.

Natural contemplation can prepare the soul for supernatural contemplation, but it cannot produce it. Nor can eastern religious techniques. Contemplation proper is the action of God. He desires to bestow it on every human being.

Connie Rossini