“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus teaches us the way to love God is to love one another. It doesn’t matter who we love, what religion we adhere to, what color our skin is, where we are on the economic scale. What matters the most is that we treat each other with respect, fairness, and kindness. The song “You Need To Calm Down” is an anthem that urges people to take a step back, and reflect on how they treat those who are different from themselves. “We all got crowns”, the song says. Everyone deserves respect and no one should ever be hurt for being who they are. We owe it to ourselves and our neighbors to be there for each other. In doing this, we create a safe community for all.
Lyrics:I ain’t tryna mess with your self-expression / But I’ve learned a lesson that stressin’ and obsessin’ ’bout somebody else is no fun / So oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh / You need to calm down, you’re being too loud / And I’m just like oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh (oh) / You need to just stop / Like can you just not step on my gown? / You need to calm down
Questions: What types of disrespect do you see in your school, community, country? What do you think can be done to challenge people who like to exclude others? When have you showed mercy to someone who wronged you? When has someone shown you mercy?
Not all the people in our communities and nation have the same access to education, healthcare, and justice. This week’s SPIRIT spotlights Appalachia and the effects of mountaintop mining. The song “Truth to Power” was written from the viewpoint of Mother Earth, how she sees us and how our actions affect each other and the planet. It is ultimately a call to action. We cannot close our eyes to the plight of our environment and the people in our midst who are poor and defenseless. We are all in this world together.
Lyrics: I could tell you I was ageless / But I know you see the light / I could tell you I’m immune to everything / But that’s a lie / Dust don’t turn to flowers / Skies don’t disappear / But I’ve seen truth turn to power / If you could feel me the way I feel you / You’d be a believer
Questions: When have you closed your eyes to a problem in your community or school? When have you opened your eyes to a problem? What did you learn or do about it? What duties does government have for the people it serves? How do you balance serving God and following the laws of our country? What issues make you struggle to answer?
Immigration is a fiery topic today. Some people welcome immigrants; some resist others different from them. This week’s SPIRIT explores how accepting new people and cultures can benefit our communities and schools and expand our relationships with those around us. Prince Royce’s cover of the song “Stand By Me” is about coming together as friends, family, and neighbors, celebrating our differences, and accepting people into our homes, communities, and lives.
Lyrics:When the night, has come and the land is dark / y la luna, es la luz que brilla ante mi / Miedo no, no tendré, oh I won’t, te asustaré / Just as long as you stand, stand by me / And darling, darling stand, by me, oh stand by me / Oh stand ,junto a mi, junto a mi.
(In English): When the night has come / And the land is dark / And the moon is the only light we’ll see / No I won’t be afraid / Oh, I won’t be afraid / Just as long as you stand, stand by me / So darling, darling / Stand by me, oh stand by me / Oh stand, stand by me / Stand by me
Questions: What challenges do you think immigrants face in new places? If you are an immigrant, what challenges have you faced? What helps ease challenges you have faced in new settings? What have you learned from people of different cultures? Who do you notice being excluded in your community?
This week’s SPIRIT is about stereotypes, how they influence our behavior and how we treat those who are different from us. It is also about how our prejudices and choices can harm others. Occasionally, someone (a friend, a parent) will insist that we don’t have a choice. But don’t we always have a choice? The song “Be a Rebel” is about following our own truths and morals, as well as opening our hearts to those around us and respecting what connects us as people.
Lyrics:Take a look at yourself / You may not be the same as everyone else / You’re just different, and that’s okay / We all follow our own way / And if you find that they won’t listen / Then they’ve got nothing to say / So don’t get mad and don’t feel sad / Be a rebel, not a devil / (Be a rebel, not a devil)
Questions: What decisions do you make on a daily basis? When have you felt pressure to act in a way you didn’t want to? How does stepping back and thinking about a choice and its consequences help?
Download the seven principles of Catholic social teaching. Try to live one of the principles in a special way this week. Share how the principle helped you respond to people you met and situations you encountered.
You can send the Sunday gospel to kids’ phones, laptops, iPads, and tablets along with high-interest stories and articles that help teens discover the gospel is about them.
You don’t have to be a priest or a youth minister to talk about faith with the teens in your life. Let SPIRIT help you. SPIRIT Online puts the gospel in their hands.
Read a sample SPIRIT issue. Spirit Online begins in October, 2020 and goes through April, 2021. Call us at 800-232-5533 to tell us what you or your program needs or check it out the program online. SPIRIT may be one of the best gifts you ever give a teen.
“Eucharist is the central action of the Christian community…It’s where we find the future we want to commit ourselves to build.” Spirit explores how every Eucharist calls us to put our faith into action and to love with our lives as Jesus did, reaching out to all, familiar friends and new and different people. Hollyn’s song “Love With Your Life” boldly challenges us to live life fully and become symbols of hope and change, whether by helping someone obtain a simple meal, learning about a social issue, or taking an active role in social justice issues.
Key Lines:You gotta love with your life / Like a fire burning strong / Til’ the night has come and gone / There’s a hope that lives in you / You gotta love with your life / Like a warrior / Fight, lay it on the line / If you wanna see a change / You gotta love with your life
Questions: When have you been unable to ignore the plight of someone in your school or community? What did you do to help in that moment? What situations or people do you feel your community ignores? How can you make people more aware of this issue? What does Eucharist teach you about loving with your life?
The Spirit Prayer Journal contains classic prayers from scripture and other religious traditions. Plenty of room and inspiration for journaling on all life’s big questions. Give your teens these journals to record their feelings and hopes during our time sheltering in place.
View sample prayers at goodgroundpress.com. You can order online or by calling 800-232-5533. 1 – 20 copies: $3.75; 20 – 99 copies: $3.25; 100 + copies: $3.00.
Looking for more ways to keep your teen spiritually connected? We have two time-tested and teen-tested short online retreats that may help. Review them below. Then forward the link or this email to the teen you are thinking of. Our prayers go with them:
Easter is where Christian faith begins. It celebrates Jesus’ resurrection. The Church often baptizes new believers at Easter time. SPIRIT is about a young woman who wakes up to what she believes at a baptism. For some people, believing is as natural as breathing; others journey through doubting and questioning. They may find people in their lives whose faith opens their hearts and minds to the teachings of Jesus. The song “Something in the Water” is about opening ourselves up to the possibilities that come with faith and embracing a wider community that encourages and sustains us.
Key Lines:There must be something in the water / Oh, there must be something in the water / And now I’m singing along to amazing grace / Can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face / Got joy in my heart, angels on my side / Thank God almighty, I saw the light / Gonna look ahead, no turning back / Live everyday, give it all that I have / Trust in someone bigger than me / Ever since the day that I believed
Questions: Where are you on your faith journey? How do you describe yourself as a believer? How do examples of faith in other people inspire you? Who has influenced your believing? What baptisms have you witnessed? What does baptism mean to you?