My name is Stephen.
Thanks for reading my page! First I thought I would tell you something about myself. My favorite subjects in school are Science and Gym. I like to go fishing with my dad and my brothers. I also like to bake cakes. My favorite cake to make is vanilla with milk chocolate frosting. Last week I helped my little sisters make an ant farm. I have a pretty neat family. There's Dad and Mom, of course. My Grandma Jane, the best cook in the world, who lives with us. I have four older brothers. Peter is 17, James is 16, Andrew is 14, and John is 13. I come next and I'm almost 12 years old. I have two little twin sisters, Sarah and Lucy, who are 7. Then there are my baby brothers, Joseph who is 3 and Benjamin who just turned 1. I also have two dogs, Jet and Mr. Curly. We all live together in a big white house in Florida. (Sometimes I see alligators swimming in the canals or lying in the sun but don't worry! They won't hurt people! You just need to keep a healthy distance from the gator if you see one.)
Every Monday at 7pm my brother James and I are signed up to make a visit with Jesus in the Adoration Chapel at my parish. When I found out that I had my own Catholic Kids 101 page, I thought I better talk with Jesus during my Holy Hour about what I should put on my page. (Our visit is called a "Holy Hour" because we visit Jesus who is Holy God and we are there for one hour so it's a "Holy Hour.")
Now some of you may have the same question my little sister, Lucy, asked me when she overheard me telling Mom that I was going to talk with Jesus about what I should write on my Catholic Kids 101 page. Lucy told me, "Steve, when I make a visit with Jesus, I don't hear anything! Jesus doesn't talk to me. Does He talk to you?"
When I make a visit with Jesus, it's not like He talks with me with His voice like I talk with my family or friends. My Dad explained to me that there are rare times that Jesus might do that, like if a person hears an actual word or phrase with their ears, but that's not the usual way He tells us things.
What sometimes happens when I sit with Him is I'll have an idea that comes to my mind. If it's a gentle thought and it has to do with what I've been praying about then it could be from Jesus. I'll tell you something that happened to me to give you an idea what I mean.
A couple months ago I had an assignment for school to write a short story. It had to be one page long and something funny had to happen in the story. I had one week to write it.
As the days of the week went by I couldn't think of anything funny to write about. My mom called it "writers block." The evening before my story was due was a Monday and I was making a visit with Jesus. I said, "Jesus, I'm trying to figure out what I should write for my story. I've spent a lot of time trying to write something funny but I can't think of anything!"
As I sat in the Adoration Chapel that particular evening I noticed how extra quiet it was. Nobody was coughing or moving around. It was very peaceful. At one point I started to feel sleepy when a memory from when I was younger came floating gently into my mind. Here is what it was:
I was in 3rd grade. I was walking down the street where we live with some of my buddies and we were talking about a new video game. In the game a big monkey is running after a character who looks like a kid. The person playing the game is trying to make the monkey slip on a banana peel so he can't catch the kid. The kid character is trying not to step on the banana peel because if he does the monkey will catch him and the game is over. My one friend was saying, very loudly, that he didn't like the game because nobody would be dumb enough to really slip on a banana peel! He thought they should have made the game more real. The next thing I knew my friend was flat on his back on the ground! I stopped to help him up. When I asked him what had happened, he said he didn't know. He said he was just walking and talking when he suddenly felt his feet go out from under him. When we looked to see what he slipped on, can you guess what it was? Yep. You guessed it!
A banana peel!
By the way, I got an "A" on my story!
Another way I hear from Jesus is through the Bible. I have a great book of Children's Bible Stories that my uncle gave me when I made my First Holy Communion a few years ago. It's put together by a priest named Father Lovasik. You should get a copy if you don't have one. I really like it. I'll read a Gospel story about Jesus or one from the Old Testament and something in the story will really stand out to me.
There have been times when I read my Bible or just sit and look at Jesus in the monstrance and I have a really happy feeling in my heart when I think about how great Jesus is. That's another way Jesus lets me know He loves me - Heart to heart.
I also read or look at picture books about the Saints and I'll get an idea or answer from Jesus about something I was wondering about.
But MOST of the time I'll talk with Jesus about something and then, as I live my life, things will happen through people and situations in my life that I know are answers to my prayers!
I brought copies of the Catholic Kids 101 original stories with me to my Holy Hours so I could read through them with Jesus during my visits. I read The Story of Ming and the Gift of Jesus, The Story of Luke and the Incarnation, and The Story of Gemma and the King. I learned things from each of the stories but I have to admit that my favorite story was the one about Luke.
After I read the stories the idea came to me that it would be interesting to take parts of Luke's story and really think and talk about it with Jesus. It took me 4 Holy Hours to go through the story and decide on all the parts - 10 of them. Each week I would write my ideas down in my notebook. At the end of 4 weeks I put everything together. I want to mention that my brother, James, saw what I was doing and he was really interested in helping me. We kind of ended up working on it together. That's the next part of my Catholic Kids 101 page. I really hope you like it! I hope it helps you when you make your visits with Jesus!
From your CK101 friend,
PS: You'll also find out why I'm holding a starfish in my picture.
THINGS TO TALK ABOUT WITH JESUS
BASED ON "THE STORY OF LUKE AND THE INCARNATION"
1. MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Luke’s dad was a brave soldier. He was far away in a war. Luke loved his dad very much and prayed everyday for his safety. Is there a particular person in your family that needs your help or prayers right now? Talk with Jesus about that person or persons. Ask Jesus to bless them.
Our family, friends, our teachers, our neighbors, and all those in our lives are people that we can talk with Jesus about. Who comes to your mind that you would like to bring to Jesus? What would you like Jesus to do for them?
2. MY GIFTS AND TALENTS
Luke was really interested in the rodeo, wasn’t he? Do you wonder if Luke ever dreamed about being a cowboy and riding a bucking bronco when he got older? What are some things that you are really interested in? Do you like karate? Are you a dancer? How about skateboarding? Are you a singer or do you play an instrument? Are you an artist? Do you play chess? Are you a good cook?
Did you know that if you are interested in something then Jesus is too because He is so interested in YOU! It’s true. He wants to hear all about it. Tell Jesus about the things you are interested in. The talents you have come from Jesus. Think about that with Him.
You know that true friends really care about each other. Jesus is the truest friend that you will ever have. That is why He is so interested in you!
Now ask Jesus to show you the things HE is most interested in. He'll show you. For example: let's say your parish is taking up a collection for the people in the Bahamas who were hurt by a terrible hurricane and you decide to give your babysitting money because Jesus says when you help those in need, you are helping Him! Your action shows Jesus that you are His friend! We learn all about what is important to Jesus through what His Church teaches us. That is how you will know what is important to Jesus. Think about all this with Jesus.
3. PEOPLE WHO ARE MEAN TO ME OR HAVE HURT ME
Do you remember who Johnny Johnson was in the story? Yes, he was the big kid in the sacristy that was always bossing the younger boys around. Is there someone in your life who irritates you or is downright mean? Have they even been cruel to you? Jesus understands. Look at or think about a Crucifix for a few moments. There were many people who hurt Jesus. Yet, he prayed for them. He said to our Heavenly Father: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Stand at the foot of the Cross in your imagination and hear Jesus saying those words.
Think about a situation in your life when someone was mean to you. Did you know that Jesus loves that person as much as He loves you? He definitely doesn’t like it when they act that way but He loves them. Think about that with Jesus.
Ask Jesus to share the love He has in His heart with you for that person who hurt you. He wants our hearts to stay soft and loving like His no matter what happens to us.
Now ask Jesus to help you forgive that person who hurt you. Ask Him to bless that person. To pray for those who hurt us is like a medicine that helps our hearts not to become sick and bitter and hard.
Is there a person you can think of that you have hurt? Tell Jesus you are sorry.
If you haven’t done it yet, look for a chance to tell that person you are sorry if that is possible.
Ask Jesus to help you treat all people in the way that you would want to be treated – with love and respect.
4. WHEN THINGS DON’T GO THE WAY I WANT
Remember when Sister Elizabeth told Luke that Jesus answers every prayer in the very best way? Sometimes it’s hard for us to believe that when we don’t get what we want. However, Jesus sees the whole picture because He is God. He knows things that we don’t know. We need to trust Him and believe that He is working out all things together for our good.
Luke’s prayers were answered but not in the way he thought. Luke was so disappointed when Grandpa couldn’t take him to the Rough Rider Rodeo because of Mr. Carter’s accident. Luke was even tempted to think that Blessed Mother had forgotten all about him! However, there was even a better plan in the works, wasn’t there? Luke never imagined that Dad would come home on that very day! He certainly never thought that he would be flown in a military jet to Minot for the Rough Rider Rodeo with Grandpa, Mr. Carter, Billy, and Dad right next to him! Wow! Talk about prayers being answered in an expected but best way!
Luke didn’t think that God was going to answer his prayers in such an amazing way when he was sitting alone in the living room thinking he should be having loads of fun at the Rough Rider Rodeo, did he? This is when Luke had to "persevere" in Faith. That means never give up.
He had to believe that Blessed Mother had not forgotten him and that she was praying for him. Luke had to continue to ask Jesus to help him. He got on his knees and prayed when it was hard. He made a decision to trust even when he was sad and things didn't look good.
Can you think of a time in your own life when things didn’t go the way you thought they would? Did you feel like giving up? Did you talk with Jesus about it? If not, talk with Him about it now.
One of the best prayers we can pray is: “Jesus, I trust in You!” Pray that prayer with all your heart. It is a very powerful prayer. Pray it and believe that Jesus is always taking care of things for you in the very best way!
5. MY ROLE IN MY FAMILY
Luke loved his family and his little brothers very much! Do you have brothers and sisters? Do you try to be a good brother or sister to them? Do take time to help them? Are you patient? Are you respectful of their things? Do you share? Is there something special you can do for your brothers and sisters today? Talk with Jesus about that.
Ask Jesus to help you be the best brother or sister you can be!
How about your parents? Luke remembered to thank his mom for the good supper. Do you thank your mom and dad for the all things they do for you and all the things they give you?
Is there something special you can do for them to show them that you love and honor them? Could you make them a card and tell them you love them? Think about that with Jesus.
How about your grandparents? Could you visit or call them today? They would be very happy to see you or hear from you!
Luke was a really good listener, wasn’t he? He listened carefully to what Sister Elizabeth taught him in class and he was able to repeat it back to his mom. Are you a good listener?
Do you listen to your parents? Do you listen and obey the first time they tell you to do something?
Do you listen to your teacher?
How can you be a better listener? Talk with Jesus about that.
7. MY PETS
What was Luke’s dog’s name? Yes, Boots! Do you have a pet? Do you do a good job taking care of your pet? Tell Jesus about a happy memory you have concerning your pet.
If you don’t have a pet, would you like to have one someday? What kind? Talk with Jesus about that.
8. PRIESTS AND SISTERS
Luke tells us about his pastor, Father Nelson. Who is your pastor or the priests at your Church? Jesus loves them very much. He has a special place in His Heart for all His priests.
Ask Jesus to help the priests you know in all the ways they need.
Ask Him to bless and strengthen all priests.
Also ask him to bless the men who are studying to be priests. These men are called seminarians.
Of course you could tell that Luke really liked his teacher, Sister Elizabeth! She was a very good teacher. Do you know any Sisters? If so, ask Jesus to bless them.
If you don’t know any Sisters, ask Jesus to bless the Sisters who need the most help from Him right now. Ask Him to especially bless those who are sick and elderly.
9. OUR BLESSED MOTHER
Luke had a great love for our Blessed Mother! He understood that she always helps us when we ask and she is always ready to lead us closer and closer to Jesus, her Son.
Think about the Archangel Gabriel, way up in Heaven, being sent to the little planet called Earth (we are very little compared to the whole universe), to the little town of Nazareth, to a very young woman named Mary who was going to be asked to do the biggest and greatest thing that anyone has ever been chosen to do! He asked her to be the Mother of God’s own Son, Jesus! Mary said, “Yes.” She cooperated and God became Man! It was the Incarnation!
Mary is the Mother of God.
Without Mary the Incarnation could never have happened.
Think about how special Mary is.
Pray one "Hail Mary" in thanksgiving to God for the Incarnation and for giving us Mary to be our Mother too. Ask her to keep you close to her Son, Jesus, now and at the hour of your death. And tell her that you love her too.
10. THE "O MY JESUS" PRAYER
Finally, do remember the prayer that Luke prayed at the end of His Rosary decade? If you pray the Rosary with your family then you will know it. It goes like this:
"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell.
Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Your mercy."
I liked how Luke opened up his hands and imagined Jesus standing right in front of him as he prayed that prayer!
Everyone at Catholic Kids 101 really loves Jesus and I know that you probably do too. So it's hard to think there are people in the world who do not love Jesus. It's very sad. They do not follow Him. They say "NO!" to Jesus. Those are the people we are praying for when we say "especially those in most need of Your mercy." It's an awful thought but there really are people in danger of going to Hell. Yes, Hell is really a place. It is a terrible, terrible place. People really do go there.
BUT THEY DON'T HAVE TO! The amazing thing is that we can help people not go to Hell by our prayers. It's true! Jesus lets us be a part of helping Him in His mission as Savior of the world! When we say to Jesus "especially those most in need of Your mercy" these are the people we are praying for. Big sinners. And Jesus hears us. He answers our prayers by giving them special help, special graces, so they can choose to stop sinning and turn and follow Him. If they repent, He will forgive them all their sins and help them to become Saints! (Just like He does for you and me!)
Jesus died for everyone. He wants everyone, including big sinners, to be with Him in Heaven forever. That is why He died on Good Friday and then rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. He is our Savior. He died to save us from our sins. That's why God our Father made the promise to Adam and Eve to send us Jesus. The Incarnation really is the greatest thing that has ever happened in the history of the world!
I decided to end my page by telling you a very short story I heard in school. It's based on an essay written by a man named Loren Eiseley (1907-1977). I think this story will help you remember how important it is to pray the "O My Jesus" prayer. It's called:
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
An old man was walking along the beach when he came upon a child sifting through debris on the sand left by the ocean tide.
Every so often the child would pick up a starfish and toss it back into the ocean.
The old man asked the child what was the purpose of his efforts.
The child replied, "The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach. They will die unless I help get them back to the ocean."
The old man looked around at the miles of beach around them.
"There are so many!" he exclaimed. "There are more starfish than you could ever help save! You cannot make a difference."
The child bent down to pick up another starfish and then sent it back to the ocean.
Then he looked up at the old man with a smile and said, "I can make a difference to this one."
"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell.
Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Your mercy."