God in Our Family Life

Consider the following excerpt from Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis:

Love rejoices with others
109. The expression chaírei epì te adikía[“rejoice over wrongdoing”] (1 Cor 13:6) has to do with a negativity lurking deep within a person’s heart. It is the toxic attitude of those who rejoice at seeing an injustice done to others. The following phrase expresses its opposite: sygchaírei te aletheía: “it rejoices in the right”. In other words, we rejoice at the good of others when we see their dignity and value their abilities and good works. This is impossible for those who must always be comparing and competing, even with their spouse, so that they secretly rejoice in their failures.

110. When a loving person can do good for others, or sees that others are happy, they themselves live happily and in this way give glory to God, for “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Our Lord especially appreciates those who find joy in the happiness of others. If we fail to learn how to rejoice in the well-being of others, and focus primarily on our own needs, we condemn ourselves to a joyless existence, for, as Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). The family must always be a place where, when something good happens to one of its members, they know that others will be there to celebrate it with them.

  • What are some joys we have experienced in our family? Are there ways to build upon these joys to create a more joyful home?
  • In what ways could we add more joy to our family? Could we be more cheerful in giving and complain less? Could we focus less on our own needs and more on the happiness of a family member? Could we rejoice in our family’s love by affirming each other more with compliments? Could we smile more at our family members?
  • Do we base our lives on the joyful awareness that we are beloved sons and daughters of God, or do we let something rob us of the joy of the Gospel? What is it that robs us? Is it anxiety, fear, or impatience? How might prayer help with these things?

Be Generous

Theme 1: Do I have a heart of gold?

Students will

  • examine and evaluate their attitudes towards other people
  • express the meaning of “pure of heart”
  • identify ways they can be more generous in their attitudes
  • understand how Jesus models a generous attitude toward others
  • outline strategies for readjusting their attitudes when necessary

Key Concepts

  • “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5.8).
  • We are called to be pure of heart – to desire what God desires.
  • When we are “pure in heart” we are able to love and give generously, even as God does.
  • When we are pure in heart we are able to see according to God. We are able to have a generous attitude toward others, to recognize their goodness and to forgive their faults.
  • Modesty is an appreciation of our dignity and of the dignity of all other people.

Theme 2: How do I get satisfaction?

Students will

  • define envy and understand why envy is a sin
  • compare and contrast common attitudes in our society with the ninth and tenth commandments
  • use the ninth and tenth commandments as a tool for critical reflection on career and life skills planning
  • identify and evaluate criteria for achieving satisfaction

Key Concepts

  • Envy is a resentment towards another’s well-being. It is a refusal to love fully.
  • The ninth and tenth commandments forbid reducing relationships to opportunities for carnal, personal or commercial gain.
  • God desires and enables us to rejoice in our own and in others’ good fortune, happiness and blessing.
  • Our ardent desires are satisfied when they are directed toward the love of God and neighbour.

Be Hopeful

Theme 1: What keeps us going?

Students will

  • define hope and its role in Christian living
  • explore the ways prayer nourishes hope
  • identify people who model Christian hope
  • find hope for their own lives in the death and resurrection of Jesus

Key Concepts

  • “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5.11-12).
  • Jesus’ death and resurrection are the foundation of Christian hope.
  • Hope is the virtue which keeps us searching for true happiness which is found in being true to oneself and faithful to God.
  • Hope sustains us during times of abandonment. Hope also protects us during times of struggle.
  • Hope is nourished in prayer.
  • When we presume that we don’t need God or when we deliberately presume that God will forgive and save us regardless of our attitudes, we sin against hope.
  • The first commandment is not only a call to avoid idolatry; it is also a call to place all our hope in God.

Theme 2: Where have we been and where will that take us?

Students will

  • review the virtues and Beatitudes, which underlie the Christian attitude toward being in the world
  • share their faith with others in the context of a year-end class celebration

Key Concepts

  • Review of Christian virtues and the Beatitudes.

RS35: In Pursuit of Happyness Assignment

Picture 1The movie Pursuit of Happyness is based on the true story of Chris Gardner’s struggle to achieve his share of the American dream.

Directions: Answer ALL of questions below.  The page titled, Reflection Rubric,  will be used to access this reflection.  It can be found on the left side (third from top) under pages. When finished, print off your response and hand in or email it to Mr. S.

1)  In our society, fulfillment may be found on such things as having the latest car, the biggest house, the largest bonus and bank account. Their satisfaction and happiness are tied to material riches and other societal labels of success.  What is happiness?  Click on the link (definitions) to see a number of definitions.  Which of these definitions do you agree with? Explain why.

2)  Christopher Gardner makes the statement “Maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue. And maybe we can actually never have it no matter what”Do you agree with this statement?  Why or why not?

3)  How does a person achieve happiness?  The article Happy Thoughts has suggestions on how to achieve happiness.  Read the article.  Do you agree or disagree with the article’s methods?  Explain why or why not?

RS35: In Pursuit of Happyness Reflection

Picture 1The movie Pursuit of Happyness is based on the true story of Chris Gardner’s struggle to achieve his share of the American dream.

Directions: Answer ALL of the questions below.  The page titled, Reflection Rubric,  will be used to access this reflection.  It can be found on the left side (third from top) under pages. When finished, print off your response and hand in or email it to Mr. S.

1)  Scene in movie:  Christopher is telling a story to his father. The son explains that a drowning man refused two rescue boats because he believed that “God would save him.” The man passes away and, while in heaven, asks God why he was not saved, to which God replies: “I sent you two big boats ya dummy!”   What is the message of this story?

2)  In Matthew 7:7-8 it says, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.  Is this essentially the same message as Christopher’s story about the drowning man? Why or why not?  Explain your reasoning.

3)  In James chapter 4, verse 3 it says,   “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures”.   Is there a proper way to ask God for help?  What is the correct way to ask God for help? Explain what you think that is.  The article entitled, Does God Answer our Prayers? suggests a way to ask God for help.  Do you think this article has it right? In other words, do you agree with what this article is saying?  Why or why not?

RS25: Tuck Everlasting Reflection

Answer the following question.  The rubric page titled, Reflection Rubric will be used to grade this reflection.

Use the following to answer the question

Angus Tuck takes Winnie out onto the lake and tells her the following:
Look around you, it’s life. The flowers, and trees, and frogs, its all part of the wheel. It’s always changing. It’s always growing. Like you, Winnie, your life is never the same. You were once a child, now you are about to become a woman. One day you’ll grow up. You’ll do something important. You’ll have children maybe, and then one day you’ll go out. Just like the flame of a candle. You’ll make way for new life as a certainty. It’s the natural way of things. And then, there’s us. What we Tucks have, you can’t call it living. We just are. We’re like rocks stuck at the side of the stream. Listen to me, Winnie, you know a dangerous secret. If people find out about the spring, they’ll trample over each other to get that water. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about people: Many people will do anything. Anything not to die. And they’ll do anything to keep from living their life. Do you want to stay stuck as you are right now, forever? I just want to make you understand.”


  1. Tuck clearly as an idea about what life should be.  Explain Tuck’s vision of life in your own words.   Do you agree with Tuck?  There is a Scottish Proverb which says, Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead. Is this proverb trying to tell us the same thing as Tuck is?  Explain.

What Do You Believe?

The following statements are just a few of the axioms people hold to be true in their lives. Do you agree or disagree with these statements? For those you agree with, how did you come to that position? For those you do not agree with, why? Please feel free to add other statements that sum up one or more of your most cherished beliefs.

What Do You Believe?

  • Life’s fair.
  • Words can hurt.
  • What goes around comes around.
  • How you act in a crisis shows who you really are.
  • Love conquers all.
  • An eye for an eye….
  • People learn from their mistakes.
  • You can’t depend on anyone else; you can only depend on yourself.
  • If you smile long enough you become happy.
  • Miracles do happen.
  • There is one special person for everyone.
  • Money can’t buy happiness.
  • Killing is wrong.
  • Doing what is right means obeying the law.

Fish Story

The Taoist teacher Chuang Tzu was walking with a friend over a bridge. Chuang Tzu saw some fish darting about and said, “That is happiness for a fish.”

His friend said, “You’re not a fish! How do you know what makes a fish happy?”

Chuang Tzu responded, “You’re not me! How do you know I don’t know what makes a fish happy?”

What was Chuang Tzu saying to his friend?