What Happens After We Die?
Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
-1 Corinthians 15:51-57
This week with Session 10 we are wrapping up Part One of the sessions of Symbolon Knowing the Faith. This week we introduce to the children the relationship between Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and us on Earth. This is a heavy topic and for some of our little friends it might be an intense topic to discuss. It is certainly a very involved theological topic that even adults have difficulty understanding. :::December Assessments are in the slides for this session. More information below:::
I would approach this material with a focus on what each of these places have to offer or not offer us in our quest for eternal salvation. Focusing on understanding the relationship between them helps build a good foundation for further understanding as they grow and learn throughout their CCD journey. By this point in their lives they do know what Heaven and Hell are in the simple terms of Heaven is good and Hell is bad. That’s a great first step! They understand that they want to be in Heaven and want to avoid the path to Hell. An excellent second step! Now to keep moving forward in their learning about the afterlife. For this discussion I suggest you take the approach of tying in the sacraments and their role in the process of getting to Heaven.
With the understanding of Heaven I remind the children of Adam and Eve’s role in the need for us to have sacraments thanks to Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. A brief discussion about the 7 sacraments is good to bring up and I usually focus on the ones that the children will be thinking about frequently: penance and communion. We want to connect the concept that Hell is everlasting separation from God for those who die in mortal sin and have deliberately turned away from God. Hell is where people have chosen to refuse love for God. The key to emphasize is that God does not send anyone to Hell. We use our freewill to make choices on where our path will take us in the eternal life. One way to look at Hell is as being in a perpetual state of regret. Regret can be like an inextinguishable fire that deeply burns. Whoa! It’s getting a bit serious here, right? It is! Don’t worry there is hope for us! This is where I’d turn and remind them that we have the amazing tool of penance to change our course and get back on the path to Heaven. Using the sacraments to fill us with sanctifying grace is a wonderful way to keep our focus on Heaven and the beatific vision to fill us with supreme joy. Other tools for us to use are doing good deeds, prayer, following the Commandments, and remaining faithful.
So…..what about *Purgatory*? Ahhh the misunderstood Purgatory. (See my note below from the teacher’s manual from the CCD materials we used in the past.) For our little friends I like to describe Purgatory in terms that they might understand from an experience they may have had. Imagine you are outside in your yard having the best time playing in a sandbox or if you’re my kids in the mud making mud pies. You are having a glorious time and not really thinking too hard about how dirty you are at the moment. It’s almost lunch time and your tummy is grumbling. Still covered in dirt you get up and make your way to the house to eat lunch. You get to the porch begin to open the door and there you are greeted with a Parent who reminds you that you are too filthy to come in the house. You have to do some cleaning up on the porch before you are permitted to come inside. Depending on how dirty you are will determine how long it will take you to get inside. Some of you may need help to just brush off the dirt, others may need help to brush off dirt and take off shoes, and others may need help to remove all their dirty layers before coming inside. The house in the story represents Heaven, a place where those of us who live in friendship with God are welcome and will eventually enter. The porch is Purgatory. The dirt is what needs to be purified from us making us holy before we make our way inside. It is important to note that the faithful souls in Purgatory are unable to purify themselves. They need our prayers and good works offered for them to complete their journey to Heaven. Praying for the poor souls in Purgatory is a great way to help them. A good prayer to offer is the one below.
Watch: Father Mike’s 2017 podcast from Ascension Press discuss Purgatory. What you should know about purgatory.
* Excerpt from Faith and Life Series Teacher’s notes “The doctrine of Purgatory is one teaching of the Catholic Church whose reality is often questioned or even denied by her members. It is important to realize that this is an article of the Catholic Faith that must be believed or one departs from orthodoxy. Purgatory is defined as the place or condition in which the souls of the just are purged before they can enter Heaven. These souls die in the state of sanctifying grace but carry the weight of unreported venial sin or the temporal punishment due to forgiven mortal sin. Luther, Calvin, and most Protestant Reformers denied the existence of Purgatory because it did not coincide with their altered and erroneous views of justification.”
Prayer for the Deceased Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Vocabulary words to discuss with your child:
Prayer of the Week: Apostle’s Creed.
Saint of the Week: Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego are on our list as the Saint feasts to celebrate this week. The Sweet Little Ones blog has a great craft for making paper bag tilmas and Catholic Inspired has a beautiful tissue paper Mexican Flower craft that would be a wonderful piece to display for years to come.
Monthly Assessments should be completed this week. Please take the link to the assessment for your child’s grade section to complete online. Complete the assessments by Friday December 18, 2020. NOTE please enter the parent email that is registered with the Religious Education Office for the children attending the program. This is how you will get notified of your child’s progress.
December Assessment for grades k-2. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfgBCIbN9G03p3sWZ_8Bz1nIT9-8X9tT2ddsG9R2P-UDW4hOw/viewform
December Assessment for grades 3-5: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe9dZqPBZNto0tr-39y-Dc-EZQARlEFwqbziBnh69IwFNL-KA/viewform
December Assessment for grades 6-8: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScr3neVyiGDHSNgNWuJnaNHZRW3p9aLy2o7GR3lUucnSejUjw/viewform
Homework First Year Sacramental Prep: Do the Praying for Souls craft provided for week 10. By now your child should know the Glory Be, the Sign of the Cross, the Angel of God prayer and the Hail Mary. Continue to work on the Our Father. Practice the Grace Before Meals prayer.
Homework Second Year Sacramental Prep: Complete Spirit of Truth (pages 54-59; jump ahead to these pages). These pages will be handed in at the end of the month. By now your child should know The Sign of the Cross, the Angel of God, the Glory Be, the Hail Mary, the Our Father, the 10 Commandments, and an Act of Contrition. Keep practicing these every night. The Data Form, the Letter of Intent, and a copy of the Baptismal Certificate (for those not baptized at HT) were DUE DEC 1 (forms can be found in your white First Holy Communion folder). Please turn them into your family folders THIS WEEK!
Homework Years 3-6th Grades: Read from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism: Lesson 14, pages 88-92 and Lesson 33, pages 206-208. Use the Death Worksheet and Eternal Life Worksheet to discuss with your child. Have your child complete the Unto Everlasting Life Crossword Puzzle and the Unto Everlasting Life Worksheet. By now your child should know The Sign of the Cross, the Angel of God, the Glory Be, the Hail Mary, the Our Father, the 10 Commandments, and an Act of Contrition. Start memorizing the Apostles’ Creed.
Watch grades k-2: Share this sweet story Heaven Is For Real for Little Ones with your child.
Watch grades 3-6: You’re Dead, Now What? with your child. It is a quick summary of the points from this lesson.
Activity Ideas: Do A Home in Heaven activity with your child. Check out Good Books For Catholic Kids and choose some books to read with your child or give them as a Christmas present. Here is a cute St. Nicholas origami craft from the St. Nicholas Center. In the past I have made Kindercraze’s St. Nicholas Miters with the second grade CCD classes. The pattern is a FREE download on Teachers Pay Teachers. Woot!