In Mass this week, Jesus rebukes a storm, teaching the frightened, suffering Apostles how to rebuke the storms in their lives by being quiet, being still. This week, the lesson is all about understanding our suffering and how to deal with it. Job, probably the most well-known suffering servant in the Bible after Jesus, gets us started in the readings, and we learn from Paul that better days await us. Our discussion helps us know everyone suffers, and our activity helps us put our suffering in God’s hands, and see it from His perspective. The activity gives us an excuse to get outside with each other. Take advantage of it!
Quiet! Be Still!
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Catechesis At Home – Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B
Quiet! Be still!
DISCUSSION – Suffering what we do not understand
Today’s readings remind us that God is the Creator. He has power over nature because He created it, including the sea and weather. Have you ever seen the ocean? Or been in a really heavy storm? Both can be overwhelming, especially if we do not understand them. As children we do not know by instinct that the ocean has limits or the storm will pass. We can say the same thing about suffering. When we are in the midst of our challenges or hurts or crises, we can’t see the limits or know whether it will ever end.
We are reminded in the readings this week to call out to God for His comfort, protection, and deliverance from our suffering. We may not experience an immediate miracle like the Apostles did. We may have to suffer more like Job. And our reward may not come to us during our time here on earth. Rest assured that if we remain faithful, we WILL be rewarded with eternal life in heaven where there are no storms and no suffering!
Discuss times when you have been frightened or suffering. Who helped you feel safe again? What did they do? Let each family member recall something. After everyone has had a chance to tell their story, talk about ways you calm yourself when you get upset. This may be a good time to talk about how to pray for peace. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Jesus basically quotes this when he tells the storm to cease: “Quiet! Be still!” Sometimes we just need to be quiet when we are suffering, so we can let Jesus in to calm us.
ACTIVITY – Understanding while suffering
Spend some time in quiet reflection. Be still. As you sit quietly, thank God for His love, peace, and protection. This type of prayer is called Contemplation. It is allowing yourself to BE in the presence of God. To not talk to Him, simply BE with Him. You might consider going to your local Adoration Chapel as a family for this exercise. Or take a silent nature walk – challenge everyone to be as quiet as possible and look and listen for all the amazing things that God has created. Then, sit in a clearing and be quiet and still, basking in the presence of God in your midst.
(For very small children, to be still and quiet is almost impossible. Do not expect them to do anything beyond their capabilities, but challenge them to be quiet and listen for certain sounds. For example, you can ask a 2- or 3-year-old to be still and quiet to listen for a bird or to watch a squirrel in the yard. Point out to them that God created all these creatures and them, too, because He loves us! And that is a very important lesson for a toddler to learn.)
Afterward, talk about what it was like to be still like that. How hard was it? Were you distracted or did your thoughts go off on tangents? Sometimes those tangents are God’s way of putting someone or something on your heart and mind to pray for or to do to serve Him.
Other Suffering-related items of interest on our site:
It Is Enough
Video: Fruits of the Spirit: Love
The Catholic Idea of Distributism
The Virtue of Courage
Video: Fruits of the Spirit: Introducing the Fruits of the Spirit
Podcast: Love – Episode 30
What is Love?
Eros – Sexual Romantic Love
What was it like to be still? Was it hard? What distractions may have been God’s way of putting someone or something on your heart?
by Beth Cowles, MACE
HOO™ Co-Founder and Director of Faith Formation | Lead Catechist