Working with children, both as a catechist and as a choir director, has taught me many things, but first among them, is that sharing your faith involves all of your senses. This rings true for kids of all ages, from four to 13.
For those of you with children or grandchildren that extend across that age range, you have likely already learned the very important lesson that I did: children of different ages and personalities learn differently.
For some, all they needed was words. Nothing more. They were comfortable and confident learning from a piece of paper, a hymnal, or a poster.
When all you need is the right words, then Ascension’s Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ascension Edition with its exclusive, newly designed “Foundations of Faith” approach is just for you. Everyone can learn and understand the teachings of the Catholic Church that can transform their lives with this Catechism.
If you are searching for a deeper understanding of the Divine, Paul Cotinho’s Awaken to the Divine: 52 Contemplative Reflections to Transform Your Spirit from Twenty-Third Publications would be a good fit. This book takes a unique approach that combines words from the spiritual traditions of both Eastern and Western religion and philosophy, and is filled with memorable quotes, Scripture passages, and sacred stories.
For other students, words are a good starting point, but need to go further. That can be through a deeper conversation about the meaning, a closer listening to the music, or sometimes even an activity that connects the words to something bigger.
We adults aren’t that different. We often need tools to deepen our journey, understanding, and practices.
The 50 Days of Joy: Easter Reflections for New Catholics from GIA Publications and Grieving: A Spiritual Process for Catholics from Liturgy Training Publications, both available through CatholicsRead, explore more deeply the journey of death and Resurrection, especially during this Easter season.
The 50 Days of Joy provides Scripture readings and reflections for each day of Easter week, all the Sundays of the Easter season, and Ascension and Pentecost.
In Grieving: A Spiritual Process for Catholics, Paula Kosin combines deep wisdom from the Christian tradition with current insights from the social sciences to create a book that can be an effective companion for grievers. It also recommends concrete practices to support their process such as journaling, mindfulness meditation, prayer, and nature therapy.
Sometimes words need to be put into motion. Alongside my wonderful colleagues in the Catholic ASL community, my students and I learned how to put our words into beautiful motion that required them to be actively engaged and present.
There is no better way to learn the virtues than by practicing them. Saintly Habits: Aquinas’ 7 Simple Strategies You Can Use to Grow in Virtue from Ascension is this week’s CatholicsRead tool to help you do just that. In Saintly Habits, Professor Andrew Whitmore will transform your understanding of what a virtuous life looks like and teach you how to put your new knowledge into practice.
When all else fails, good teachers turn to pictures. We have to look no further than the great cathedrals of the Catholic world where our faith has inspired immensely colorful and detailed stained glass and impossibly graceful and strong carvings and architecture. We hold onto the adage that “pictures speak a thousand words” for a reason—they do.
In two of this week’s CatholicsRead titles, two amazing artists take the incredible words of a pope (Francis) and the Scripture (the canticles) and create vibrant, exciting, seemingly endless pathways to better understanding words, some of which we know well and some we should know better.
Our Common Home from GIA Publications with the words of Pope Francis’ Laudato Sí and Brother Mickey McGrath’s drawings will help you discover and remember the pope’s instructional words of wisdom as he speaks of the God-given gifts that surround us, and how we have been mandated to care for creation with all of its beauty and inspiration.
Also from GIA Publications, Canticle: Biblical Songs Illuminated is a unique book where you can discover twenty canticles illuminated by the evocative art of the late G.E. Mullan. Each piece of art includes a scripture followed by a poetic reflection written by theologian and master storyteller John Shea.
Discuss this article!
Keep the conversation going in our SmartCatholics Group! You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.