Lesson 4: The Beatitudes. Background for the Catechist. Purpose of Lesson. Remembering Point. Reflection/Doctrinal Reference.

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1 Lesson 4 The Beatitudes Take 10 minutes to reflect on the following introduction to this lesson. Background for the Catechist Reflection/Doctrinal Reference The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfil it: We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully articulated (St Augustine). How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you (St Augustine). God alone satisfies (St Thomas Aquinas). (CCC, n. 1718). At first sight the Beatitudes do not look like a recipe for happiness. Few people deliberately aspire to be poor, to suffer, to mourn or to be reviled and so on. But in reality the Beatitudes do propose the only plan for happiness that really delivers. They propose that human beings must learn that happiness lies not in possessions, not in diversions that deny the dimension of pain in human life, not in the exercise of power over others, nor in ignoring the pain and suffering of others, but in mercy, purity, peacemaking and willingness to suffer in the cause of right. The Beatitudes set out an itinerary for human happiness. As people begin living them they discover the true happiness that lies in God alone, as St Augustine and St Thomas realised. Student Focus With the contemporary experience of students being diametrically opposed to the message of the beatitudes, helping students to understand their importance will be a challenge. Students know what happiness means for them and they are familiar with good actions and doing the right thing. It will be difficult for many students, however, to understand that, contrary to what society puts forward as essential, happiness is not found in the things one has, but rather in being willing to step away from things and to think of others. Purpose of Lesson The beatitudes express Christ s plan for our happiness in this world and the next. Remembering Point The beatitudes are Jesus plan for our happiness. Abbreviation: CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church The Good News of Jesus (5 / 6 Year A) 1 Catechist Sheets

2 Beginning (5 minutes) Welcome the students as usual. Gather the students on the floor (or seated in a circle) around the prayer focus which you have prepared before class. Distribute Student Sheet One and the Beatitude cards. Tell the students: Today we are going to read the Sermon on the Mount from the Gospel of Matthew. Our prayer is on your Student Sheet. Some of you will have a card that has a number in the left hand corner. If you have the a cards such as 1a, 2a, etc. then you will say your bit first then the b cards will follow. So 1a will be followed by 1b, then 2a will be followed by 2b, until we have completed the nine beatitudes. Some of you might have two cards to read out. Just read the cards when your number is mentioned. Students with an a, sit on my left and the students with a b, sit on my right, in numeric order. (This will ensure that students know when to say their particular piece. Students with more than one card can sit in line for their first number.) Let us begin with the Sign of the Cross. In the name of the Father We will now listen carefully as we read from the Sermon of the Mount in Matthew s Gospel. (Invite the person who has card 1a to follow after you when you have finished reading the introduction.) When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: Student 1a) Blessed are the poor in spirit, Student 1b) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Student 2a) Blessed are those who mourn, Student 2b) for they will be comforted. Student 3a) Blessed are the meek, Student 3b) for they will inherit the earth. Student 4a) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, Student 4b) for they will be filled. Student 5a) Blessed are the merciful, Student 5b) for they will receive mercy. Student 6a) Blessed are the pure in heart, Student 6b) for they will see God. Student 7a) Blessed are the peacemakers, Student 7b) for they will be called children of God. Student 8a) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, Preparation 1. Prayer focus: a cloth, a candle or an electric tea light, the Bible, Beatitude cards (as noted below). 2. Prepare a reflection on the Beatitudes using a good commentary. 3. Beatitude cards photocopy, cut out and stick on cards, e.g. Card 1a: Blessed are the poor in spirit, Card 1b: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Card 2a: Blessed are those who mourn (See Appendix 4a, pages 5 9.) 4. Coloured pencils. 5. Greaseproof paper for scroll. 6. Snakes and Ladders grid, enough for each student. See Appendix 4b. 7. Student Sheets. The Good News of Jesus (5 / 6 Year A) 2 Catechist Sheets

3 Pause All: Student 8b) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Student 9a) Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Student 9b) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. All: Let us pause to think in silence, asking ourselves What is Jesus saying to us in this story from Scripture? Let us pray: Jesus, in your goodness you show us how to be happy. Help us to seek out ways to make the promises of these Beatitudes real and present in our lives. We ask this in your name. Amen. Collect the cards from the students. Middle (20 minutes) Tell the students: We will now take a closer look at this piece of Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew. It is called the Beatitudes and it is part of the Sermon on the Mount. Ask the students: What might the word beatitude mean? (A state of ultimate happiness. Being as happy as a human being can be. Being very blessed ) Tell the students: This is the plan Jesus gave us so that we would know how to live happily here on earth. Let us look more closely at what this might mean. Jesus wants us to be happy how might this look in our daily lives? Divide the class into three groups and hand out the cards with the beatitudes (used in the prayer) ONE per group. Hand out Student Sheets and direct the students to work from the Thinking Hats activity on page 2. Each group completes the White Hat activities and two other hats (as time permits). Tell the students: In your group, take the Beatitude and complete the activities in the Thinking Hats activity. Each group is to complete the White Hat activities and those of two other hats. Remember that you must all participate in the activities, and all share the tasks. Move around the group offering assistance as necessary. You might find that going to each group will be useful as students might require some explanations or clarifications for difficult phrases such as hunger and thirst for righteousness and poor in spirit. Ensure that your explanations are appropriate for the age of the students. The Good News of Jesus (5 / 6 Year A) 3 Catechist Sheets

4 End (5 minutes) Bring the activity to a close, collect the coloured pencils and tidy up. Gather the students around you or allow them to remain in their seats. Affirm the students work from your observations during the activity. Tell the students: We now know that the Beatitudes are Jesus plan for our happiness. We can live happy lives by following what Jesus wants for us. Tell the students to turn to page 6 and write in the space marked Something to Remember : The Beatitudes are Jesus plan for our happiness. Direct them to the next shape and tell them to write there the Beatitude that they will try to live by this week. Invite the students to sit quietly when they have finished this task. Prepare the students for prayer. All: Let us pray the Glory Be together: Dismiss the students as usual. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. The Good News of Jesus (5 / 6 Year A) 4 Catechist Sheets

5 Appendix 4a Beatitude Cards Photocopy and laminate a set of these cards for use during the prayer and the lesson. 1a Blessed are the poor in spirit, 1b for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 2a Blessed are those who mourn, 2b for they will be comforted. The Good News of Jesus (5 / 6 Year A) 5 Catechist Sheets

6 Appendix 4a Beatitude Cards (cont.) 3a Blessed are the meek, 3b for they will inherit the earth. 4a Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 4b for they will be filled. The Good News of Jesus (5 / 6 Year A) 6 Catechist Sheets

7 Appendix 4a Beatitude Cards (cont.) 5a Blessed are the merciful, 5b for they will receive mercy. 6a Blessed are the pure in heart, 6b for they will see God. The Good News of Jesus (5 / 6 Year A) 7 Catechist Sheets

8 Appendix 4a Beatitude Cards (cont.) 7a Blessed are the peacemakers, 7b for they will be called the children of God. 8a Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, 8b for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The Good News of Jesus (5 / 6 Year A) 8 Catechist Sheets

9 Appendix 4a Beatitude Cards (cont.) 9a Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 9b Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. The Good News of Jesus (5 / 6 Year A) 9 Catechist Sheets

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