Sunday, January 27, 2013

Resolutions and Repentance Lesson Plan

Light the Fire 2013
Every year, people have had a New Year’s tradition to have Resolutions. These are ideas to do something different or better in the next year to improve upon yourself. Many really do try to keep their resolutions, but often times their motivation is lost after only a month.

In our Christian faith, we are called to Repentance. This is similar to resolutions, in that we figure out what we would like to change about ourselves, and make an effort to be better. But in repentance, we are sorry about the things we did that pulled us further away from God’s grace. We resolve to be better not for our own selfish or worldly reasons, rather for bettering our relationship with God.
The bible says,
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distress, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

This means that when we are weak, we can be easily overtaken. When we reach out for God’s grace and mercy, He fills us with it and makes us stronger in a holy way. But at the same time, that weakness without God, can open us up to making weak choices through evil temptations.

Take a moment to think about your weaknesses. What holds you back from being your best self? Have there been times when you were too busy to let God lead your life? Were there times when you felt helpless or alone? God asks us to let go of our pride and let Him shine through our lives.

   "Many years ago, large packs of wolves roamed the countryside in Ukraine, making travel in that part of the world very dangerous. These wolf packs were fearless. They were not intimidated by people nor by any of the weapons available at that time. The only thing that seemed to frighten them was fire. Consequently, travelers who found themselves away from cities developed the common practice of building a large bonfire and keeping it burning through the night. As long as the fire burned brightly, the wolves stayed away. But if it were allowed to burn out and die, the wolves would move in for an attack. Travelers understood that building and maintaining a roaring bonfire was not just a matter of convenience or comfort; it was a matter of survival."
   We do not have to protect ourselves from wolf packs as we travel the road of life today, but, in a spiritual sense, we do face the devious wolves of Satan in the forms of temptation, evil, and sin. We live in dangerous times when these wolves roam the spiritual countryside in search of those who may be weak in faith or feeble in their conviction.
Saint Peter said "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
  We are all vulnerable to attack. However, we can strengthen ourselves with the protection provided by a burning testimony that, like a bonfire, has been built adequately and maintained carefully. Because none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes and create bad habits. These bad habits and sins can be like a bucket of water on our souls burning for Christ, if we don't repent. By taking the time to cleanse ourselves spiritually, we can grow and become stronger.
[Excerpt from a Mormon site, but a great resource]

How can you ignite your own bonfire to survive in our moments of weakness?
*Have faith in the Mercy of Jesus Christ, and the power of God’s Grace.
*Have a humble, and sincere Repentance by going to Confession regularly.
*Seek help from our Heavenly Saints and Mary, Our Lady of Grace.
*Follow the example of Jesus and his disciples. Follow the Commandments.
*Make a fresh start and don’t return to sin. Don’t wait until the New Year.

His promise to us is:
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)

As Saint Luke wrote, Jesus did not come to save the righteous and the holy, he came to save the sinner in hopes they will find repentance.

Divide up into groups and talk about our Resolutions and how we plan to Repent. We are going to make posters we can hang up at home to remind us of our goals.
Repentance Poster
Worksheet inspiration from: created a brilliant Resolution Worksheet for adults/teens and kids. I just combined them and added a few things for this lesson.


Use red, orange and yellow ribbon or embroidery floss to tie through a hole on the top of the bookmark.
[As a farewell gift or project] I had the older girls make these for everyone while the younger ones had their story time.
Repentance Bookmarks


Veggie Fire Bowls - slice up red, yellow, and orange peppers and arrange like flames in a bowl to snack and dip.

Sin No S'mores from Rethinking my Thinking

Pentecost Cupcakes from Catholic Cuisine

First Reconciliation Activities

  Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit while teaching my children (and a class) all about Reconciliation I have come up with some ideas to share! Please note I'm just a mom, not a theology major or religious education director. Please review materials before distributing. All of these ideas are free to print for home or school use. If you share these ideas, please remember to acknowledge me with a link to this page. Thank you!

Faith Folder
Creating a special folder full of spiritual information is SO helpful in the process. One child had a file folder lapbook, another a note book. Each is decorated by the child, with things pasted inside to help them remember prayers and other things related to Reconciliation. A notebook is a great idea, because it can be used as a journal. Encourage them to daily add 2 things they've done well and 2 things they did not. Before confessing, they can look back on the list.
Lapbook nameplate example
Click to Print your lap-book pieces. It includes name label (for meaning of name, bible verse),  important prayers, Ten Commandments, and more. Pages for one student, or pages for multiple students included in the file.
Note: The 10 Commandments for Kids in this lap-book was created by me for my children. You may decide to use the 10 Commandments verbatim in place of my version, which I do not have avail to print. Also some churches may teach a different Act of Contrition.

Here are the basics for assembly:
  1. Take a file folder, open fully. Fold the two short ends into the center. 
  2. Opening it up again, you'll have a left flap, center, right flap. [[]]
  3. The ribbon for their name and its meaning goes on the outside left flap or the back side.
  4. The Examination of Conscience goes in the inside left flap.
  5. The Center is for the Reconciliation, Ten Commandments for Kids, and Act of Contrition. Print and cut the prayer/words and glue them onto the inside center panel. Chose either the color image or outline image to color, then tape that on top of the matching prayer/words so they can "life the flap" to expose the prayer.
  6. The Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and Holy Spirit prayers are pasted onto the inside right flap.
  7. The empty flap or backside is a good place to put stickers when they practice or memorize their prayers. The whole folder is great for taking home worksheets.
  8. If you print out the Ten Commandment match-up cards included in the file, those can go in an envelope glued to the folder. (I had a hard time figuring out images for those, so use at your own discretion)
A Taste of Confession
  I just love how this project turned out. I have children who process information through hands on and senses. Now they can associate a taste for each part of their reconciliation experience.
Taste of Reconciliation
1. Examination of Conscience: Hot Seat Cinnamon
2. Reconciliation: A Sour Patch Sorry
3. Contrition: Prayer Pretzels
4. Penance: Refreshing Acts Mints
5. Forgiveness: Melt Away Our Sins Chocolates
Taste of Confession

Another food idea is to serve ALL WHITE FOOD or treats, as a symbol of purity. You can see my Sacramental Cakes at our Michalek Kitchen blog.

Lord Have Mercy

While reviewing the parts of the Mass, I made this coloring sheet for the children to color and hang at home. Hoping they'd see the words and remember to participate at Mass more often. To make this, I typed up the text and added an image of Christ from an online coloring page. Here is a version I created using my own art for you to print.

Kneeler for Reflection
"When life gets too hard to stand.... kneel."
Homegrown Catholics: Kneeler
Whether you use this as a place for a Time Out, a place for prayer/rosary, or in teaching how to make a good confession - your child will enjoy this DIY kneeler. Dollar store garden pad and puffy paints is all it takes! (inspired by Catholic Icing's post)

Carve a Cross
Need: Soap bar, plastic knife and toothpick
Directions and picture on All Things Beautiful blog.

Make a Spiritual First-Aid Kit
  Chose a container, such as a pencil box, tin, or muslin bags like those pictured. Muslin bags are fun to color. For our VBS Wilderness Adventure (CatChat) we used these for "Jesus Heals" or "Faith Aid Kit." Insert text was found on More Than Enough blog  and in the CatChat VBS materials. For an extended activity, you could make home-made lip balm.

The Bandage reminds us that Jesus heals the wounds of the heart.
The Cotton Balls remind us that Jesus blots away our sins.
The Tissue reminds us that Jesus wipes away our tears.
The Antiseptic Wipes remind us that Jesus cleanses our hearts.
The Lip Balm reminds us that Jesus softens our hard, dry hearts.
The Holy Water reminds us that Jesus blesses us.

Ten Commandments Match-up
  We cut these cards and matched the text card to the picture card. It is not my favorite, as I had a hard time deciding what images to use. The wording is my own, so use at your own discretion.
10 Commandments 4Lapbook pg110 Commandments 4Lapbook pg2

Ten Commandment Tablets
Here is one idea to make an aged looking set of tablets. Directions on
Ten Commandments Tablets craft

First Reconciliation Gift Ideas
*Rosary or Rosary Bracelet
*Crucifix for Room (or kit to make a cross rosary hanger)
*Craft Kit: above activities or First Communion Banner kit
*Quiet in the Pew: Catholic Mass Seek and Find Cards

Arma Dei - Equipping Catholic Families has wonderful faith-learning products and freebies. My favorite is converting ordinary games to Catholic learning tools!

What is a Catholic Confession?

To order Brother Francis's "Forgiven" visit

Other Links
Homegrown Catholics: The Soul Diet: Keepsakes, Quiet in the Pew, Celebrating Sacraments, and more
The Catholic Toolbox: Sacrament of Reconciliation
That Resource Site: Meeting Our Lord in the Sacrament of Reconciliation booklet
Sunday School Network: Hard to see the light through a sinful heart


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