Walking with God is a series of footsteps walking side by side. What is your next step going to be in getting to know God?
Each week, beginning on the First Sunday of Advent (November 29, 2020) we will explore step by step ways to grow in relationship with each other, especially our family members, and with the Lord. Just as a baby learns to walk and the steps are small, so will our steps be in learning how to form a relationship with God. Each liturgical season, we will share new practices, known as Next Steps, to grow in habits of discipleship. Click on the blue headers below to watch short videos to learn how you can practice these Next Steps in your daily life!
Each week we encourage and invite you as an individual and as a family to participate in the Lenten practice of increasing prayer time with God. One way to do this is through reading the Bible. However, just sitting down and reading the bible can be intimidating and overwhelming. During Lent, we will take our Next Step and focus on learning to meditate on God's word through an ancient practice called Lectio Divina (click on the header above to learn more from EC about this practice)!
Week One: This week we begin the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Choose one of the readings from Ash Wednesday and take some time (10-15 minutes) to dive deeper into these familiar passages:
2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
What reading did you choose? Why did you want to dive deeper into this particular passage?
What word or phrase stood out to you?
What do you think God is trying to tell you through this word or phrase?
How does this word or phrase impact your daily life?
What can you do to share this message with others?
Week Two As we begin our second week of Lent, we continue to dive deeper into God's word and practice Lectio Divina. If you are unfamiliar with Lectio or could use some refreshers, this video is a great resource to help guide your prayer time.
Week One: Reflect on these words, Good and Loved "God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day." (Genesis 1:31). Since the beginning of time, God created everything very good, including us as humans. "God said: Let us make* human beings in our image, after our likeness. . . God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female* he created them." (Genesis 1:26-27).
God loves us unconditionally. We are all worthy of this love! We were each created for a relationship with God to come to understand what this love means.
When you think about love, what do you hunger most for?
Who in your life has given you an experience of unconditional love?
Where have you shared unconditional love towards another? What makes loving others challenging? What are some of the joys of unconditional love?
Do you believe you are worth of this love?
Scripture verses to reflect upon as a family:
Begin reading Romans chapter 5-8
Week Two: Reflect on these words, Broken and Restored Because of Original Sin, we each have a broken relationship with God. We choose our own wants and desires over His desires for us. God is a God of mercy and love. He does not want to be separated from us so He sent His only Son, Jesus, to restore our relationship so we may be together forever!
What is one thing that keeps you from God? What draws you to this vice and tempts you?
What do you need to let go of in your life in order to be closer to God?
Do you believe God can heal what is wounded or broken in your heart? Why or why not?
What ache or pain do you wish to be freed from?
Here is a video link "Fallen Plates" to help you visualize this separation from God and how we are restored through Christ.
Scripture Verses to Reflect upon as a family:
Continue reading through Romans 5-8
Week Three: Reflect on these words, Transformed and Sent Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures….But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. - 1 Corinthians 15:1-14
Jesus restores our relationship with God through His Life, Death, and Resurrection. We call this the Paschal Mystery and are welcomed into this mystery through the waters and graces of our baptism. We are transformed and then called to share this transforming love with others. The graces we receive at baptism are strengthened in the sacrament of Confirmation. Jesus has poured the Holy Spirit into your heart to brings you to new life in His Church and sends His Church on mission so that others can experience that new life.
What difference has Jesus made in your life?
Are you open to the Holy Spirit? Why or why not?
In what ways do you feel the Holy Spirit calling you to share your story and advance the mission of the Church?
How has the life of the Church (celebration of the sacraments, saints, devotions, specific people from my parish community) been present in your story?
Scripture Verses to Reflect upon as a Family:
Continue reading Romans 5-8
Week Four: Reflect on the past three weeks as we focus on the culmination of these key words and phrases.
The collection of these words, Good and Loved, Broken and Restored, Transformed and Sent, are collectively called, the Kerygma. The kerygma is the core message of the Gospel. The kerygma informs the central mission and identity of the Church and is the identity of every baptized Christian. The most basic form of the kerygma contains five elements.
These five elements are Creation, Fall, Redemption, Salvation, and Re-Creation: 1. Creation - God is love and has created me for relationship with Him. 2. Fall - I have broken my relationship with God by my sin. 3. Redemption - Jesus restores my relationship with God through His life, death, and resurrection. 4. Salvation - Jesus invites me to trust him, to turn from sin, and to give my life to Him. 5. Re-Creation - Jesus has poured the Holy Spirit into my heart to bring me to new life in His Church and sends His Church on mission so that others can experience that new life.
Look at the following images as a family: As you scroll through the images ponder "How does my story align with these iconic moments in history?"
Michelangelo, The Creation of Adam Rembrandt, The Prodigal Son Salvador Dali, Christ of Saint John of the Cross. Yongsung Kim, Save Me - the Hand of God. El Greco, Pentecost
What is my relationship with God like right now? How do I view Him? Do I believe I am a beloved child of God? If not, what keeps me from believing I am?
In what areas of my life do I run away from God? What inhibits me from running to Him?
What difference has Jesus made in your life?
How can you share Jesus' love with others?
Which movement of the kerygma was the hardest for you? Why? • Which movement of the kerygma was the easiest for you to relate to? Why? • What insight came to you through this experience that was new or different for you?
Each week as a family, discuss the following stories and begin sharing with one another about these memorable events: Week One : Praying with Mary
What do you think Mary felt when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and shared she was going to be the Mother of God? How would you react if you were in Mary's place?
What virtues or characteristics would you use to describe Mary? Why? Do you identify any of those same virtues in yourself? Why or why not?
What is your favorite Marian prayer? Why do you connect with that prayer the most?
Scripture verse to reflect on as a family:
Week Two: Praying with St. Joseph
How would you feel if you were in St. Joseph's shoes and were told by an angel your wife would bear the Son of God? Would you have reacted the same way as Joseph or do you think you would have quietly divorced Mary?
What is your relationship like with your own father/grandfather? How has that relationship affected your relationship and connection to St. Joseph?
How do you wish to grow closer to St. Joseph this year?
Scripture verse to reflect on as a family:
Week Three: Praying with Jesus
There are many different ways to pray with Jesus. What are some of your favorite ways to pray? Adoration, praise and worship music, lectio divina, viso divina, devotionals, Mass, rosary, etc. Why is this your favorite?
As a baby and young child, Jesus had to learn faith traditions, rituals, and prayers from Mary and Joseph. How often do you pray as a family? Do you have regular prayer you like to say together? If you don't pray as a family, what is one simple way you can begin this new year?
What do you picture when someone says the name Jesus? How does this image bring you closer or farther away from Him?