Curriculum Connections for High School Teachers and Students
This months Links for Learners will support high
school curriculum in:
Christian lifestylesprayer; the role
of the Spirit
Scripture studiesprayer in both Testaments
Links for Discussion Group Leaders and Participants
Look for connections for use in programs outside the classroom,
Parish sacramental preparation programs and
CCD classes; young adult discussion programs; seasonal discussion
groups; RCIA programs.
Parents will also find this material useful
in initiating discussion around the dinner table, in home
study, at family activities.
Understanding Basic Terms in This Months Article
Look for the key words and terms below as you read the article.
Definitions or explanations can be researched from the article
itself or from the resource materials cited throughout the
Links for Learners. You can also find a list of terms on the
glossary page of AmericanCatholicYouth.org.
Teen's Personal Transitions
This month's article offers us a prayerful perspective on
handling the difficult transitions we all face at one time
or another. What kinds of transitions do you experience as
a teen? What have your friends and classmates worked through?
- Starting at a new school, either as a transfer student
or as an incoming freshman
- Losing the friendship of someone you have enjoyed and
shared good times with
- Taking on new responsibility, such as getting your license
to drive a car
- Experiencing all the physical growth changes of a young
- Struggling through difficult classes and subjects
- Making the right choices about substance abuse, or recovering
from wrong choices
- Preparing for college or finding a full-time job after
- Deciding where you spend the holidays after your parents
- Lacking the self-confidence to talk to someone you find
- Suffering resulting from illness, trauma or accident
In discussion with your class or group, add to this list.
What are the individual transitions you need to deal
with? After you've put your own list together, talk about
how you faced your challenge. What got you through? Did prayer
and faith help? If so, how did you pray?
In your discussion you may find inspiration in Mary, the
mother of Jesus. She was an unwed teen mother in a strongly
traditional society. Later, she watched her only son die a
cruel death. Only her strong faith in God allowed her a unique
role in Christian history.
The Role of the Holy Spirit
In the Catechism
of the Catholic Church, we read that when God the
Father sends his Word Jesus to us, he always sends his Spirit
too. Jesus and the Spirit are inseparable.
Picture yourself in this or a similar situation: Your mom
is out of town on a business trip. Your soccer team has just
advanced to the championship match. You call your mom and
ask her to attend your game, but she cannot return home in
time. She promises to be there for you in spirit. During the
match, you recall her promise and feel her presence. You give
the match your best because she is there with you in your
It's much the same with Jesus. We face a difficult challenge.
We pray for Jesus to help us. He doesn't always remove the
challenge, or provide the answer we looked for, but he always
promises his Spirit. The Spirit is in our hearts as we work
through our challenges.
Praying in Faith
Recall in Matthew's Gospel the parable
of the mustard seed that Jesus taught us. The mustard
seed is a tiny, seemingly insignificant seed, yet it grows
into a great shrub. The tiny moments we spend in prayer, the
brief conversations with Jesus, will help us grow into strong,
faithful persons. Jesus grew impatient with his followers
when they wondered why they were unable to cure
an epileptic man. He said, "If you have faith the size
of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from
here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible
Scripture tells us it is the heart that prays. The Catechism
says, "The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our
own psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose
life or death."
How do we develop the ability to pray? Try these resources
to help you. Share what you discover about prayer with your
friends. E-mail the links that help you to someone else in
need of prayer.
- The Irish
Jesuits have a prayer site that offers daily Scripture
readings and prayer aids. Some sites also offer you the
opportunity to pray at your computer for 10 minutes a day.
This site offers Minute
Meditations for a quiet spot in your busy day. The Taizé
Community also presents a daily
meditation for our prayer. Members of this group, a
Christian brotherhood that has its origins in World War
II France, work among the poor and share whatever resources
they earn with the poor.
- Check out the Christian "Soulsearching"
prayer site, an internationally scoped location geared toward
students. It features a prayer room where you can e-mail
requests for prayer. The site offers help with morning
and evening prayer when your own words won't come. Does
music help you pray? This site allows you to download several
inspirational songs in MP3. You'll also find song
clips at the Taizé Community site.
- Try the 24-7
prayer site, where people around the world pray nonstop
in small groups. You can put together your own prayer group
and register to join the larger one.
- We need not pray alone, even when friends and fellow believers
aren't nearby. We have the communion
of saints, all the believers who have gone on to God
before us, to pray with. As Catholics, we ask the saints
to pray with us as we talk to God. And saints are anyone
in heaven. We can ask a beloved grandparent or a classmate
who has died to pray with us as we search for strength.
- The Awaken
to Prayer site offers a wealth of traditional and contemporary prayer
methods, supports, links and information.
- The ultimate prayer of transition may well have been Jesus'
words as he faced death on the cross: "My God, my God, why
have you forsaken me?" Even in the despair of death, he
trusted in his Father. The death and resurrection of Jesus
were a triumph of faith. The Gospel stories recount Jesus'
birth, his life and mission among us, his death, and his
victory over deatha passage from the Father to live
among us and then return to the Father. Because he was victorious,
we also will be. Every time we come together as a faith
community to celebrate the liturgy, we celebrate this transition,
the passage of Jesus back to his Father and our own participation
in that passage. The Catechism tells us, "The event
of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything
You can no doubt find other resources that will help you
pray. The point isyou can pray, Jesus will
send his Spirit and you will not pray alone.
I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing
After the Death of a Loved One, Brook Noel and Pamela
D. Blair, Ph.D., Champion Press Ltd., Vancouver, WA, 2000.