Throughout our lives we make many decisions. Some are no-brainers. Some are difficult and scary, even painful and heartbreaking. Spirit follows the inner workings of one young woman’s thought process as she weighs her options, her conscience, and the advice of those around her to make the best choice possible for all involved. The song “Light On” is about finding the inner strength to make difficult, challenging decisions. It’s also an expression of gratitude for all the people in our lives who help us when we need it most.
hen I’ll leave the light on (Light on, light on, light on) / And I am finding out / There’s just no other way / That I’m still dancing at the end of the day
Questions: Think back to a time when you had to make a difficult decision. How did you feel? What options did you see? What reasons went into your choice? What consequences did you see? What resulted from your decision and what did you learn from the experience?
Making mistakes is a part of growing up. Sometimes we learn the hard way that our actions have consequences and affect not only ourselves but also those around us. Not studying for a test may result in a low grade, staying up too late may lead to oversleeping in the morning, inattentive driving can lead to an accident. Consequences can remind us that we are not perfect and teach us how to act responsibly. We all make mistakes and second chances. The song “Second Chances” is about asking for forgiveness, accepting consequences, and learning from our mistakes.
Key Lyrics:Open up again, I believe in second chances / Please let me in, I believe in second chances / I won’t break you, I will not let you down / Open up again, I believe in second chances / Quicker than lightning, whiter than bone / If you can erase it, then I can atone
Questions: When have you needed a second chance? When have you been given a second chance? What did you learn from the experience? When have you given a second chance to someone else? How can you use what you’ve learned to help someone else?
Painful emotions can throw off our sense of self and purpose. Some of us face the challenge, slowly adjust, and move on. Painful experiences push us to grow, expand what we are capable of, and strengthen how we handle things. The song “Walk Me Home” is about moving through a tough time (either by embracing it ourselves or asking for help) and pushing ourselves forward.
Key Lyrics:Walk me home in the dead of night / I can’t be alone with all that’s on my mind, mhm / So say you’ll stay with me tonight / ‘Cause there is so much wrong goin’ on outside / There’s somethin’ in the way I wanna cry / That makes me think we’ll make it out alive / So come on and show me how we’re good / I think that we could do some good, mhm
Questions: What has surprised you lately? How has a painful experience changed your idea of who you are? What did you learn from it? How were you able to move on? How can you use your experience to help others going through something similar?
This week’s SPIRIT tells us the story of Father Tolton, the first African-American priest, whose dedicated ministry wore him out too young. Racism and white privilege persist—Jim Crow laws, current incarceration levels, the death of too many young African Americans. Black Lives Matter. Accepting all who are different from us challenges us every day. Father Tolton gives an inspiring example of persevering against ignorance to serve Black Catholic parishes. The song “Better Than Today” is reminds us all of the strength we have inside of us and create positive change within our community and the people around us.
Key Lyrics:I don’t read the headlines / And I don’t watch the news / ‘Cause silence faith in something every time I do / Well I don’t need to bury / My head in the sand / But I’m just tryna live this life as best as I can / Times get tough / But I don’t give up / ‘Cause I know I’m not alone
Questions: When have you experienced prejudice? How did it make you feel? What did the experience teach you? When have you recognized prejudice in yourself? Who in your school or city have you seen disrespected? How did you handle it? What are some ways you can combat prejudice in your school or city?
Food in the fridge, money in our bank accounts, security of a home, and the loving protection of our family and friends—these easily make us forget that not everyone has stable home and family environments, education, or financial resources. Jesus aims to free people from poverty and reach out to all his mission. We can begin with respect for all, interest in who each person is, and expanding our circles of friends. “Swan Song” is about holding on to hope, even in the bleakest of moments, and breaking free from all that holds us back from reaching our fullest potential.
Key Lyrics:I, I can’t lie / I’m scared to open my eyes / ‘Cause what if I find nothing at all? / Nothing at all / What is the point of my lips / If they don’t make noise? Oh / What is the point of doing nothing at all? / Watching it fall / ….This is not a, this is not a / Swan, swan song / We just gotta, we just gotta hold on tonight / This is not a, this is not a / Swan song, swan song / Swan dive (Yeah) / It’s a new life
Questions: When you look around your school and community, what communities do you see lacking necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter? Who can you greet and show you know them? What community projects can you get involved in or start to help encourage those who need a helping hand?
Currently, immigration dominates our news headlines and politics. Poverty, violence, war, displacement, no work—all can force people to move. These conditions separate many refugees and immigrants from families and friends for long periods of time. They have to navigate cultures, laws, and languages that they don’t know. They start anew in the hope of achieving a better future for themselves and their families. The song “You Belong” reminds us that everyone belongs and deserves the chance to thrive.
Key Lyrics:You belong / The whole world is waiting / No one else can sing your song / You belong / The lie that’s been chasing you / Love’s gonna prove it wrong / Open your eyes / Breathe in the light / You don’t have to hide / You belong
Questions: Visit un.org to learn more about why people may be forced to immigrate. How can you reach out to new students or neighbors different from you? Whose voices in your school or community are others not hearing? When do you listen to the voices of people who appear different from you?
Relationships with others become more complex as we mature. Some friendships end, some deepen. We develop crushes, pair up, break up, figure out how to make relationships work. This week’s SPIRIT discusses what it means to have healthy, strong relationships and, eventually, marriage. The song “Love Someone” is about what it means to open your heart and love.
Key Lyrics:‘Cause you still look perfect as days go by / Even the worst ones, you make me smile / I’d stop the world if it gave us time / ‘Cause when you love someone / You open up your heart / When you love someone / You may grow / If you love someone
Questions: What does being in a relationship mean to you? What qualities are important in a relationship? What makes for a healthy relationship? What warns you a relationship isn’t healthy? What does “love” mean to you?
“Whoever among you wants to be first must serve the needs of all. The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” This week’s SPIRIT focuses on service and the ways we can use our gifts to serve people who need our skills to help make our communities and the world a better place. COVID has shown us that many people do not have adequate access to basic necessities, whether this means a decent income to pay rent, healthcare, the internet, even food. Hearing Jesus’ call to serve means finding ways to share our resources and sustain our neighbors and community. Michael Franti’s song “Once A Day” reminds us that a movement to help others can start from one small spark, one person. “To be great means to serve all.”
Key lines: I heard the purpose of life’s to live a life full of purpose / And so don’t ever take for granted what the spirit has given you / In the first verse / You might never get a second verse / This ain’t a rehearsal, you can’t put it in reverse / Believe in yourself, don’t let nobody be a negative / Or tell you what to do / ‘Cause I know (’cause I know) / In this sweet, sweet life that just this much is true / ….And we all will rise up (spread your wings and fly) / And we all will rise up
Questions: What service to others can you do or start in your community or school? What has past experience working on a service project taught you or how has it changed your perspective? How do you define “greatness?” How does Jesus define “greatness?” What kind of community do you want for yourself and the world?
A rich young man seems eager to follow Jesus until Jesus suggests that he give his money to the poor and come along with him and his other disciples. Teens are the young people Jesus asks to follow him today. These years are the time each of us starts to imagine adult life and recognize that what we believe and how we act may differ from friends, family, or community. St. Kateri Takawitha’s courage and faith exemplifies what it means to find and choose one’s own path.
Key lines:I know you see me as I am / I’m met with kindness / That knows no end / You pull me closer / Oh, there is freedom all around / Here in your presence / My walls come down… / So I’m gonna worship / With my heart wide open
Questions: How do you respond to Jesus’ invitation to follow him? To what or who do you give service out of your wealth of energy? Who do you see in your area or parish that needs help? What are you willing to give in service to the less fortunate?
This week SPIRIT focuses on relationships, and how they affect us and change us. Growing up involves developing relationships with significant others beyond the family. Sometimes these relationships are fun and carefree, sometimes complicated and difficult. Sometimes they last; sometimes they don’t. The high school years are the ideal time not only to make relationships but also when necessary to break them with care. Andra’s song “Why” expresses the hurt that can come with a break up, leading us to question ourselves and our feelings.
Key lines: If you don’t love me just say / I’ll never stay in your way / Nobody hurt me this way / Give me a reason to stay / I wonder, wonder, wonder why / I wonder why
Questions: What does being “in a relationship” mean to you? What characterizes a healthy relationship? What are symptoms of an unhealthy relationship? Who in your life reflects the type of relationship you want? Why?