Jesus tells us “…Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who insult you.” Jesus values compassion towards all, from our family and friends, to those we consider enemies, to those we know nothing about at all. In the case of people who hurt us, this can be a difficult challenge. Keep in mind that we don’t always know why people behave the way they do. Kari Jobe’s song “Closer to Your Heart” is about embracing an attitude of compassion. When we do this, we live more like Jesus did and can create positive change in our schools and communities.
Key Lyrics: I get lost inside this wonder / Cause there’s so much to discover /New dimensions of your glory / And I’ve only seen a glimpse / You keep drawing me, you keep drawing me / Closer to your heart / You keep calling me, you keep calling me / Closer to your heart
Questions: When have you experienced an unexpected act of compassion? When have you extended compassion to someone else? What did you see that made you extend a hand to them? How can you spread an attitude of compassion around your school and community? What kind of communities will Jesus’ teaching create? What is a way you practice loving your enemies?
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?
In 2006, a small, one-room schoolhouse was the center of a major tragedy. A lone gunman entered the school and killed five students, injured five more, and forever changed the lives of many others. Tragedies such as this happen too often. What is sometimes surprising are the number of voices that call out for compassion, empathy, and even forgiveness towards those who have hurt us, our family, and our community. Carrie Underwood’s song “Love Wins” is not just about reaching out to our friends, family, neighbors, but also those who are different from us and even those who have hurt us. We don’t know what another person is going through, but only by approaching each other in the spirit of love and forgiveness can we begin to heal our hearts and community.
Key Lyrics: I, I believe you and me are sisters and brothers / And I, I believe we’re made to be here for each other / And we’ll never fall if we walk hand in hand / Put a world that seems broken together again / Yeah I, I believe in the end love wins
Questions: What have you found difficult to forgive? Were you able to let go of the hurt or grudge? How? Are some actions unforgivable? What examples of forgiveness do you see around you? How have you been forgiven?
This week’s SPIRIT is about walking a mile in another person’s shoes. Every year, the students of St. Paul High School walk 26 miles to raise money for a local soup kitchen. They walk through different communities and meet new people, wealthy and poor. Their journey also gives the students time to reflect and change their perspectives on how the less fortunate exist in our communities or what the caravan of migrants walking to the U.S. border experience as they seek a better life. Lauren Daigle’s song “Rescue” is about hearing someone’s call of need and answering them, whether it’s by listening, walking, or simply volunteering time and resources.
Key Lyrics: I hear you whisper underneath your breath / I hear your SOS, your SOS / I will send out an army to find you / In the middle of the darkest night / It’s true, I will rescue you / I will never stop marching to reach you / In the middle of the hardest fight / It’s true, I will rescue you
Questions: Who like those in the migrant caravan are on a journey in our world? How can you learn more about why migrants or immigrants are walking and help them? When have you taken a difficult journey? What did you learn from this experience? What can you do to help people rebuild their lives?
This week’s SPIRIT explores the message and values of Pope Francis. He believes in creating a compassionate and merciful world, one that embraces social justice initiatives regarding climate change and poverty. He is also listening to the voices of young people as they share their concerns for their communities and the world at large. The song “Cover The Earth” is about embracing a similar message, breaking down walls, and letting the Spirit rise up and move us toward into a more inclusive and caring world.
Key Lyrics: Let the Spirit rise up, let it break through the walls / And beat down the doors, and crash through the windows / And cover the earth, the earth, the earth, the earth / Let the Spirit rise up, let it break through the walls / And beat down the doors, and crash through the windows / And cover the earth, the earth, the earth, the earth
Questions: What values does Pope Francis represent? How are his values like yours? Where do you see Jesus’ values at work in our world? How do you imagine the kingdom of God? What would you like to take part in building to make our world better?