Resources: White/Chalk board, Coins, paper for recorders, and Bibles, Classroom text and Catechism of the Catholic Church
Discussion: Make a list of ideas and knowledge students already have about Mercy
*Give each child a penny or other coin. Talk about the differences they see on each side. Then discuss how despite their differences they work together to give the coin value. Use that as a visual example of how God’s grace and Mercy are like two sides of a coin. Both are essential but different. Add the following definitions to the list of ideas the students created: “Mercy” is not receiving the punishment that we truly deserve. “Grace” is receiving VIP treatment that we truly do not deserve. When we learn to appreciate both God’s mercy and His grace, it becomes much easier to extend the same to others. Mercy and grace are like two sides of the same coin.
*Picture God holding out his hands…in one hand is LOVE and in the other is MERCY…they come together. If we love we can show mercy if we show mercy we show love.
*Discuss the Catholic Church meaning of mercy. Use classroom text, for a specific and age appropriate definition. The Catechism of the Catholic Church also contains many helpful references about mercy. Some other important points to consider…
Mercy is showing kindness instead of meanness. Mercy is showing kindness even when it isn’t shown to us.
The Greek word translated “grace” (charis) means “unmerited favor.” By His very nature, the LORD is gracious. He gives favor that is neither earned nor deserved (Exodus 33:19; Ephesians 2:8-9). A gracious person honors others—especially those who may not deserve it.
The Greek word for “mercy” (eleos) means “unmerited clemency.” The LORD is merciful. He pardons wrongdoers who sincerely repent (Jonah 3:10; Luke 6:36). A merciful person turns a blind eye to the wrongs of others—even though they are clearly guilty.
Discuss, how is God’s mercy as described in these scripture passages different than what the world shows us?
Mercy in Scripture, Small group activity:
Have students read each passage and complete the following questions.(each group can do all four or you can divide the four, giving each group only 1 to discuss and present)
1) Does this passage illustrate the mercy of God or mercy of man?
2) In what way was mercy shown?
3) Record 2 or 3 examples of mercy in everyday life that mirror the mercy shown in the story.
Give each group a chance to present their thoughts and discussion.
Genesis 7:5-23 (Noah)
Genesis 22:9-18 (Abraham and Isaac)
Matthew 18:21-35 (Unmerciful servant)
Luke 10:29-37 (Good Samaritan)
Assessment: In writing, explain what you think mercy means. Choose one of the four scripture passages about mercy and describe what it teaches you about the importance of mercy.
*Give the students 2 minutes to write the 7 Sacraments on a piece of paper. Recognize those students who can come up with a complete list in that time frame.
*List the Sacraments on the board by group, Initiation, Healing, Service and discuss how God’s mercy is evident in each Sacrament.
Baptism – washing away original sin
Eucharist – The ultimate mercy of Jesus given in the form of his body, blood, soul and divinity in a communion of love.
Confirmation – God’s mercy as he roots us more deeply in our relationship with the Father through the powerful gift of the Holy Spirit
Reconciliation – God’s mercy in forgiveness of sin
Anointing of the Sick – God’s mercy in allowing us to share in and unite our sufferings with Jesus and through the gift of peace, comfort and sometimes healing
Holy Orders – God’s mercy in giving us the gift of a special sacrament that allows some men to act “in persona Christi” in the person of Christ. This mercifully allows us to have the divine gifts of Eucharist and other sacraments.
Matrimony – God’s mercy in creating an indissoluble bond between husband and wife, providing us with the gift of family.
*Specific focus on the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick
Through these 3 sacraments, through the love and mercy of God we are given the gifts of life in Christ through the Eucharist; life renewed and refreshed through Reconciliation and life new through the healing and comforting power of Anointing of the Sick.
*Read Luke 6:37-38…discuss the passage as it applies to God’s grace and mercy given to us in good measure, packed together, shaken down and overflowing. Talk about how judging is the opposite of mercy.
*How much mercy and how many graces and gifts come from these three sacraments…let me show you! (Powerful visual time!!!) You will need a glass jar or clear container, rocks, sugar, and hot water. Tell them that the rocks represent our judgmental thinking, our mistakes, our disobedience and our failed attempts to show mercy to others. Tell the students we are going to give them over to God and his loving mercy. Have each student put their rock(s) in the jar.
Key question…Hold up the jar and ask…Is this the exact amount of mercy he will give back to us? Discuss… the answer is NO…he always out-does us in love and mercy. Add sugar until it fills in all the holes between the rocks. Now is that how much mercy he gives back are we filled with his mercy? Discuss…No! He still gives more. Then add the how water slowly and it will dissolve the sugar and cause it to settle…keep pouring until it fills the jar to the very top and overflows a bit. That is how much!(It’s important to keep the sugar and water out of sight until they have answered the question…you’re going for dramatic effect) Re-read the passage from Luke making connection between it and the visual.
*Discussion…who wants to share a time you were shown mercy? (You should go first to model) Highlight the ways mercy is shown through the three key sacraments in this lesson.
*Small group work…give each small group a scenario that requires one of the forms of mercy given in the key sacraments.(healing, peace and comfort, new life, renewed and refreshed) Ask them to discuss the scenario then prepare a role play to show how the situation can be handled showing NO mercy and then repeated to include a good measure of mercy.
1)A new student comes to your school.
2) A sibling borrows something of yours without permission and accidently damages it.
3) You participate in gossip and the person you are gossiping about overhears the conversation.
4) A classmate experiences the death of a grandparent or someone close to them.
Assessment: Ask students to reflect in writing what part of this lesson hit their heart. Ask for examples of relationships or places in their life where they have received mercy. Ask them to identify areas of their life where they need to show mercy to others.
A. # 39 The learner will define and discuss degrees of sinfulness.
C. #73 The learner will memorize the Corporal and Spiritual works of Mercy
God calls each of us to participate in extending his love and mercy to others.
Physical and spiritual ways we can show mercy to others
Faith and works are necessary for salvation; everyone can participate
Who should show mercy?
How can we show God’s mercy?
Why should we show God’s mercy?
Skills: Works of mercy recall knowledge, discussion, Works of Mercy card completion
Assessment: Discussion participation, completion of the Works of Mercy commitment card.
Resources: Classroom text, CCC, notecards, equipment to view video, video clip
*Intro video…after the clip I’m going to be asking what you think it has to do with mercy so be ready to give some ideas and examples.
*Show video clip (apx 4 min 30 sec) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT-HBl2TVtI (If for some reason the link doesn’t work, search YouTube for “Video that will change your life, I have no words left”)
*Why did I show that clip? What does it have to do with mercy?
*List and discuss each of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Use the class text or the Catechism (2247)
*Small Group discussion…how do we live them? Give each group one or two Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and have them brainstorm a list of things they could do to live that work of mercy in their home, school, parish or community. Share ideas with the whole class. A master list would be a helpful thing to keep on display.
*Let’s watch the video again and look for specific ways the Works of Mercy were put into action. Discuss
*Personal commitment cards. How will YOU put the Works of Mercy in action? Give each student a note card and ask them to list five or more thing they will do to live the Works of Mercy. Set guidelines on time frame, accountability, and “do-ability”. You may also add a follow-up piece to the assignment.
Assessment: Evaluate students on whole class and small group participation. Evaluate commitment cards according to the guidelines established.
Diocese of Lansing
YEAR OF MERCY
Dec. 8, 2015 – Nov. 20, 2016
Mary Mother of Mercy and the Communion of Saints
Grade Levels: 3rd – 5th
I. PROFESSION OF FAITH
Mary, Mother of God: C. # 49-55
Saints: F. #1-7
Mary is the Mother of Mercy
The Communion of Saints is made up of those who dedicated their life to loving service and mercy.
Mary and the Saints are models of God’s loving mercy.
1. Why do we call Mary the Mother of Mercy?
2. What were some of the things Saints did to show Gods mercy?
Skills: Discussion, research, writing and class presentation.
Assessment: Reflection, discussion participation, partner research work and presentation
Resources: http://www.thedivinemercy.org/news/Why-Do-We-Call-Mary-Mother-Of-Mercy-3369 and http://www.hprweb.com/2012/03/mary-mother-of-mercy-christ-the-power-of-merciful-love/ , CCC, St. Maximillian Kolbe Video clip, Saint Resources (print or on-line)
*Read Luke1:26-38 Discuss how Mary’s YES showed mercy. The two links noted above contain excellent information and examples about Mary’s title, Mother of Mercy. Other points to include…
*Jesus is love and mercy; Mary is the Mother of God therefore the mother of mercy.
*Mary showed mercy for humanity through her YES to the incarnation.
*She showed mercy to Elizabeth
*She showed mercy to the married couple at the wedding at Cana
*Mary’s mercy at the foot of her Son’s cross.
*Mary’s mercy shared with the disciples in the upper room after the crucifixion.
*Mary’s mercy in never committing a personal sin against God or other people.
*Mercy shown by the Saints. We cannot live as pure and holy a life as Mary did so in his mercy God gave us the examples of the Saints who were sinful humans just like us.
*Video clip about St. Maximillian Kolbe (apx 2 min)…tell them you will be asking them to describe his tremendous act of mercy… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MQw2KiCiL8 (If for some reason the link doesn’t work, go to YouTube and enter YDiscipleKolbe)
*Video clip discussion.
*Heaven is filled with hundreds of Saints who demonstrated tremendous love and compassion for God and for others. With a partner, you will explore some of the great mercy saints and report back to the whole class. Your brief report needs to include the following points
18. The Learner will recognize the Church as a privileged place of prayer
19. The Learner will understand the importance of a place for private and family prayer.
20. The Learner will discuss the role of pilgrimages as opportunities for spiritual renewal.
Pilgrimages symbolize our journey toward Heaven and The Father of Mercy
Holy Door in Rome and each Diocese
Journey to Mercy
What is a Pilgrimage?
Why do people make them?
What is an indulgence?
What is the Holy Door?
Skills: Discussion, reflection
Assessment: Discussion and written reflection.
*Begin the lesson by showing students images of several amazing church doors. (Google search images of “ church doors in rome” Discuss the things makes them unique and amazing. Ask what lies on the other side of those doors? Why do you think church doors to important churches are so ornate and detailed?
*Discussion about the Jubilee Year of Mercy…the following links offer much explanation and detail, you may choose those points that are most appropriate for your students. http://www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va/content/gdm/en/giubileo/annuncio.html
*God’s mercy shown through the granting of indulgences. Use the class text for an age appropriate explanation of indulgences as acts of mercy from God. CCC 1471-1479 also provides great information.
*Requirements for indulgences: The guidelines and requirements for the Jubilee Year of Mercy indulgence are outlined here… http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20150901_lettera-indulgenza-giubileo-misericordia.html
*Show images of places in the Holy Land where people commonly make pilgrimages. Show pictures of local sites where pilgrims travel; The Cross in the Woods, Solanus Casey center in Detroit are a couple of ideas. Discuss why people go to see these places. What do they gain? How can they help on their journey toward Christ?
*Pilgrimage to the Holy Door…we go there seeking mercy! There are Holy Door’s designated in each Diocese, most generally at the Cathedral church. The Holy Doors will be open at the beginning of the Jubilee Year on December 8th. There are several Holy Doors in Rome pictures of each can be found with a quick search.
The Holy Door at St. Mary Cathedral was designated and sealed on Sept. 8th (Mary’s birthday) and will be “opened” for the Jubilee Year of Mercy on December 13th for pilgrimages to occur. A prayer card will be distributed to parishes for all to use and allow Catholics to keep track of their Works of Mercy on this card – with the intention that they are able to present it and leave it as they go through the Holy Door in their offering to God.
Assessment: Please respond to these questions in writing. Where would you like to take a pilgrimage to? Why do you want to go there; what would you hope to gain? How can this Jubilee Year of Mercy help us as God’s people?