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From Pope Benedict XVI:
“It is possible to cross that threshold [of the door of faith] when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace” (Porta Fidei, 1).
Before the appearance of ubiquitous digital cameras and smartphones, my brother Michael always rented a video camera to record our family events. These videos have finally been put on DVD so we can pass them on to the next generation. There were six of us and there are now ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I am grateful to Michael for always bringing that camera along. Some of our silly or playful moments were recorded, along with the more solemn sacramental moments of Baptism and Marriage. When we put those DVDs into the player, the story of our family comes to life. We remember the house that is no longer there, destroyed in a hurricane. That house was well lived in! We revisit old friendships and birthday gifts. Through our lively exchanges and remembrances, at each viewing we reaffirm our love for each other. The kids want to hear more about Uncle Greg and Aunt Terry, about the time Mom met Dad, or Granddad’s favorite fishing trip.

open bible and candle Our Salvation Story

When the word of God is proclaimed, our salvation story comes alive and opens our hearts to the goodness of God’s presence throughout history. There is a difference between reading the word aloud and proclaiming the word. The Scripture was not originally mere reading material, just as Shakespeare’s plays weren’t meant for a library but for a stage. The Bible was passed on by word of mouth, around family gatherings, in song and stories. It is meant to be proclaimed out loud.

In his first book on Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI wrote that, “In both her sacramental life and in her proclamation of the Word, the Church constitutes a distinctive subject whose memory preserves the seemingly past word and action of Jesus as a present reality.”  Jesus is present when the word is proclaimed! No wonder our hearts can be shaped by transforming grace.  In Christ, God’s Word, we are offered life over and over, in sorrow and in joy, through the Holy Spirit.  As we are transformed, we too become the word of God proclaimed for the world today.

Isn’t it powerful to hear the proclamation of the words written so many times in the Scriptures, “Do not fear, I am with you”? These words, spoken aloud, calm the anxious spirit just as a mother soothes her child after a fall by saying, “I am here. You will be alright.”

Jeremiah reminds us that the word of God proclaimed reveals mystery. “I will tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own” (Jeremiah 33: 2-3, The Message).  Mystery isn’t a puzzle to be solved. It is an assurance that we are not alone—that God is very near.  

The word is God’s love letter to us. After my dad passed away, I helped my mom go through his letters and photos. We sat for hours looking at the photos. What really caught my attention (and brought tears to mom’s eyes) were the love letters my dad had written to her in the early years of their marriage. I couldn’t just read them to myself. I read them to her and then went over to my brother’s house and read them to him. Then I called my sister and read them to her. I even made copies for all of my brothers and sisters. It was an even more powerful experience when Mom read the letters to me and told me the story behind each one. These letters helped me and my family encounter Dad’s love for Mom. Through Scripture, we encounter God and God speaks to us.

God communicates the word of life. Pope Benedict, in his document The Word of the Lord, focuses on the eternal Word of God, the Word made flesh. Christianity is the religion not of a written word that is mute, but of the incarnate, living Word. Through the word, God enters into dialogue with our everyday problems.

Share what you have deepened about your faith with a child: click here.

Sample chapters for intermediate children and teens:
Conversion of St. Paul
Live with a forgiving heart

Reproducibles for primary age children click here. 

For further reading:

Jesus of Nazareth      The Word of the Lord
  For intermediate children and teens:


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