Catholic Activity: Religion in the Home for Elementary School: June
This section for the month of June covers the following areas:
MOTIVE FOR GOODNESS:
HOW PRACTICE LOVE?
JUNE FOR LOVE
THINGS TO DO:
Blessed Sacrament procession, story of Blessed Margaret Mary, Nine First Fridays
WHEN TO SPEAK AND WHAT TO SAY ABOUT SEX
PURITY SHINING LIGHT
VIRTUE FOR PARENTS:
Love of God
HYMNS FOR THE MONTH:
"To Jesus' Heart All Burning", "Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All", "0 Salutaris" and "Tantum Ergo",
MOTIVE FOR GOODNESS—LOVE
In May, we decided that a short cut to goodness was to "Copy Our Lord Jesus." In June, we are going to find out how to get a strong motive for trying to become more and more like Jesus. The most powerful motive in the world is love. Mothers strain themselves and sacrifice and struggle for their children, working until they are ready to drop from exhaustion. Few people employed at high salaries labor so hard or so long as many mothers. The motive that makes the mother work so faithfully and bear so much is love, a much more powerful motive than money.
Love then is what we must teach the children. When they are small, they love us naturally because we give them all they have. We ought as often as we can to explain that God gives everything, including mothers and fathers. God then is the Person to love most of all. Ask the children to write out a list of all the things they have to be grateful to God for, things like father, mother, dinner, school, toys, sunshine, flowers, etc. This exercise brings home to children how good God is.
HOW PRACTICE LOVE?
How shall we teach children to love God not only for His goodness, but for Himself? We said in January and February that we learn to do by doing; we acquire habits by repetition of the same acts. We must then have the children perform many acts of love of our Lord. Have them also write out a list of things to do as helps to learn to love Jesus, things like the following:
- Treat Jesus as a friend. Talk to Him. Think of Him.
- Say many times a day, "Dear Lord Jesus, I love You."
- When you are frightened, say, "Jesus is right here with me."
- Be kind to someone for Jesus'' sake.
- Eat the food you don''t like, for Jesus'' sake.
- Give up something for Jesus'' sake.
- Set the table for Jesus'' sake.
Try to have the children form the habit of living as if they remembered that God is really here. When they realize that they cannot live at all except for Him, they will begin to be aware of His presence and to love Him.
JUNE FOR LOVE
June was chosen for the month of love because Corpus Christi and the Feast of the Sacred Heart both come in June.
We must make sure to go all together to Holy Communion on Corpus Christi. Jesus loves us so much that before He left this earth He thought up a way of keeping Himself here with us. That way was the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacrament of Love.
THINGS TO DO
On Corpus Christi, if there is a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, be sure to have the children take part in it; and go yourself to see them. On the Feast of the Sacred Heart, tell the story of Blessed Margaret Mary and how our Lord told her of His great love for us. If the family has not already formed the habit of making the Nine First Fridays, begin now to do as our Lord told Blessed Margaret Mary.
PEDAGOGY—THE THING THAT GOES WITH LOVE—PURITY
The virtue that goes best with love is purity. How shall we teach purity? Here are a few principles to follow:
- At night prayers, when the family recites them together, say: "Keep me pure in soul and body, because I am the temple of God."
- On Holy Communion days, say that we must never do anything bad with our bodies, because they are sacred after having received the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
- Impress upon children that if they see or hear anything nasty or immodest, they should think about our Lord or Blessed Lady, or about some good story,—something to prevent the bad idea from getting strong hold on the mind.
- Above all, do your best to retain the confidence of the children so that when questions about sex arise, they will ask you the answers. From early childhood keep saying, "Always ask Mother or Father if any child tells you puzzling things. Don''t ask him to explain,—come home and ask."
WHEN TO SPEAK AND WHAT TO SAY ABOUT SEX
Today, when we live in pagan surroundings, we must be wide awake to discover when our children require sex instruction. Certainly parents must do the instructing, the mothers for the girls and the fathers for the boys. If you have the confidence of the children, they will ask you questions. People talk so freely today that by twelve or thirteen, many children need instructing. Rules to follow:
- 1. Do not tell lies or fairy tales or silly things about storks. The custom of having little children observe how cats and dogs breed is not a good one in the opinion of this writer. The animal side of sex should not be emphasized. It is far better to give a straightforward yet delicate explanation, always bringing God into your account.
- Say from the earliest days that God creates each individual soul and gives the baby to the mother. For years this amount of information will suffice.
- Later, when you think need has arisen, explain clearly and briefly that God creates the soul in the baby inside the mother. Tell the story of our Blessed Lady,—how she bore the Infant Jesus in her womb, as the "Hail Mary" tells us. For years this may suffice. Everything depends upon the child''s companions. If he has been trained not to carry on whispered conversations with other children, and always to refer important things to his parents, he will not learn evil.
- Later still, explain that life is the result of the love of both father and mother, and that by their union God makes a new person, a baby.
- Explain the Sacrament of Matrimony. For a splendid instruction on this whole subject of sex, with suggestions as to just what to say, get the pamphlet called How to Give Sex Instructions.1
PURITY SHINING LIGHT
Purity really means cleanness. Help the child to keep his thoughts directed to Christ and to love Him so much that he wants to copy Him. Nobody can imagine Christ as anything but a shining white light of purity. Copy Him in that.
VIRTUE FOR PARENTS
Think about the love of God at odd moments during the day.
BOOKS FOR THE MONTH
A Week of Communions,2 by Lamplighter, the Holy Child nun, takes short scenes from our Lord''s life and leads the child to think and pray about them. The work is skillfully done and allows for the growth of the child''s mind as he goes along page by page. Books like this help us to bring up a generation Catholic in thought as well as in act.
With the mother''s help, the six-year-old can use this book and, independently, girls and boys up to fourteen or fifteen can learn golden lessons from it.
King of the Golden City3 is an old favorite which all children love. It is an allegory representing the love of God for the soul of a child.
HYMNS FOR THE MONTH
The family should gather round the June altar every evening, if possible, or at least on Fridays, for hymns to the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart. Suitable hymns may be found in the Catholic Youth''s Hymn Book.4 We suggest "To Jesus'' Heart All Burning" (page 48), "Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All". (page 36), "0 Salutaris" (page 192) and "Tantum Ergo" (page 186), should be learned by every Catholic in the land.
The older children and the parents would love to be introduced to the magnificent Eucharistic hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas. Recently they have been printed in a pamphlet,5 in Latin and English, by the London Catholic Truth Society. The pamphlet department of the International Catholic Truth Society, Bergen Street, Brooklyn, N. Y., keeps on hand a stock of English pamphlet publications.
1 How to Give Sex Instructions, by Rev. P. J. Bruckner, S.J. St. Louis, Mo.: The Queen''s Work. [Editor's Note: This book is out of print. An excellent alternative is Parents, Children and the Facts of Life by Fr. Henry V. Sattler, Ph.D., reprinted by Tan Books and Publishers, http://www.tanbooks.com for $9.00.]
2 A Week of Communions, by Lamplighter. New York: Sheed & Ward. [Editor's Note: This book is out of print.] 5 Eucharistic Hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas. Brooklyn, N. Y.: International Catholic Truth Society. [Editor's Note: This book is out of print.] Activity Source: Religion in the Home: Monthly Aids for the Parents of Pre-School Children by Katherine Delmonico Byles, Paulist Press, 1938
4 Catholic Youth''s Hymn Book, by the Christian Brothers. New York: J. Fischer & Bro. [Editor's Note: This hymnal is out of print. A good basic hymnal for a Catholic family is the Adoremus Hymnal, available from www.adoremus.org. I highly recommend the Organ edition (for $24.95) so that one can accompany the song on the piano, plus the CDs can help those in need of more musical help. Another recommendation is Cantate et Iubilate Deo published by the Midwest Theological Forum. --JGM]
5 Eucharistic Hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas. Brooklyn, N. Y.: International Catholic Truth Society. [Editor's Note: This book is out of print.]
Activity Source: Religion in the Home: Monthly Aids for the Parents of Pre-School Children by Katherine Delmonico Byles, Paulist Press, 1938