In Sunday’s gospel Jesus identifies the two greatest commandments–to love God with all our hearts and minds and our neighbor as ourselves. All of us, regardless of circumstances, can live these basic commandments rather than stereotype, judge, and disrespect others. We have the capabilities to brighten someone’s day, help people, spread joy, and learn from those different from us. The song “Love Song” is a reminder to love every day.
Lyrics: You are good to me / Still even better than I think / You are strong for me / For every time that I can’t be / I love You / It’s simple to say / But I love You / More every day / You see my heart and You know that it’s true / I love You / I love You, yes, I do / Yes, I do
Questions: How do labels affect how you see people around you? How does the fear of being labelled prevent you from being your true self? How can you help change the negative implications that labels can impose on others?
Growing up involves us in branching out and 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 to make relationships and learn to break them with care. This week’s SPIRIT focuses on relationships, and how they affect us and can change us.
Key lines: Don’t cut me down, throw me out, leave me here to waste / I once was a man with dignity and grace / Now I’m slipping through the cracks of your cold embrace / So please, please / Could you find a way to let me down slowly? / A little sympathy, I hope you can show me / If you wanna go then I’ll be so lonely / If you’re leaving baby let me down slowly
Questions: What does being “in a relationship” mean to you? How many friends do you like to have? What characterizes a healthy relationship? What are symptoms of a unhealthy relationship? Who in your life reflects the type of relationship you want? Why?
Friends, family, people we date all influence us as we grow and mature. These relationships can be both positive and negative. They can challenge who we think we are and who we want to be. They can push us into mistakes and teach us how to be better people. More importantly, relationships can teach us about mutual respect and openness. The song “Meant To Be” is about being open to new experiences and relationships.
Key lines: Who knows where this road is supposed to lead / We got nothing but time / As long as you’re right here next to me, everything’s gonna be alright / If it’s meant to be, it’ll be, it’ll be ‘Baby, just let it be / If it’s meant to be, it’ll be, it’ll be
Questions: What does “meant to be” mean? Does it mean relationships just happen, work out somehow, or in what ways do friends have to work at their relationships? How many close friendships can a person have? What qualities do close relationships have? How are they different from other relationships? What do you value most in relationships? Who in your life exemplifies a healthy relationship?
God so loves the world that God’s Son becomes one of us. This is Sunday’s gospel message. Jesus’ mission reveals God’s love as he reaches out to all the people he encounters. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or what you’re going through. The song “You Are Loved” reminds us all that God loves and cares for us, imperfections and all.
Key Lyrics: You are loved / If your heart’s in a thousand pieces / If you’re lost and you’re far from reason / Just look up; know you are loved / Just look up; and know you are loved / When it feels like something’s missing / If it hurts but you can’t find healing / Just look up, know you are loved / Just look up, know you are loved
Questions: What relationship does God have with the world? How is this reflected in Jesus’ relationship with his followers? Who shows you love when you feel down? How do you show love to others? What makes relationships difficult?
Some relationships bring out the best in us; they teach us compassion and forgiveness. Other relationships challenge our values and perceptions of who we are and what we want. Gavin James’ song “Hearts on Fire” is about relationships and the challenges that occur when we’re pulled in different directions.
Key lines: Strangers in my head / Keep making me forget / Where I came from…/ There’s madness in eyes / We’re too blind to realize / Just what we’ve done… / I feel it taking a hold / I feel a rush in my bones / For you / I think we’re caught in a fight / Can we make it alright / With all these shadows on our backs / How can we take it back and / How can we love with our hearts on fire
Questions: What values do you look for in relationships? When has a relationship challenged you? How did you resolve the challenges? What keeps you centered when facing the demands of others? What does loving someone mean?
“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?
As we move through Holy Week, we reflect on Jesus’ ministry and his last days. We reflect on his message of love, compassion, and forgiveness. The song “Love Is Alive” is a reflection on love, how it sustains us and gives us something to strive for. When we embrace Jesus’ call to love wholeheartedly, we become his witnesses to others, living beacons of hope.
Key Lines: Love is alive when you don’t have to prove it /Unafraid, there’s no way to lose it / Oh I just wanna go where love is alive / So I’m gonna do that / All of the chaos surrenders / Changing the currents and tide / The water can keep getting deeper / Cause I’ll be right here staying dry
Questions: Reflect back on the weeks of Lent. What have you learned or discovered about Jesus and his ministry? What have you discovered about your own commitment as his follower? What Lenten practices do you want to continue? How will you keep love alive in your home, school, and community?
This week’s Spirit discusses relationships, dating, and What it means to be in a healthy relationship? The high school years are prime time for making friends and dating. Most of us spend those years within a wide circle of friends and, as we get older, we start to pair off into more exclusive relationships. When we date, we explore and set boundaries, expectations, and priorities. The song “Love” is about being in love and what can happen when we open ourselves up to experiencing love.
Key Lines: You get ready, you get all dressed up / To go nowhere in particular / Back to work or the coffee shop / Doesn’t matter cause it’s enough / To be young and in love / To be young and in love
Questions: What does love mean to you? How do you describe a healthy relationship? How do you identify boundaries between people? Who do you want to be within your circle of friends, family, or with a significant other?
This week’s Spirit focuses on open-mindedness and communication, on discovering what we have in common with people who hold different beliefs, come from different cultures, and have life experiences unlike our own. We live in a global world with social media and the internet at our fingertips. We need to learn how to build bridges between ourselves and so many kinds of different others. Lady Gaga’s song “Million Reasons” explores the desire to walk away from someone but acknowledges one reason to stay that overcomes all the others: love.
Key Lyrics: When I bow down to pray / I try to make the worst seem better / Lord, show me the way / To cut through all his worn out leather / I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away / But baby, I just need one good one, good one / Tell me that you’ll be the good one, good one / Baby, I just need one good one to stay
Questions: When have you been in conflict or felt frustration with someone from a different background? How might you learn what you have in common? How does listening to others’ stories help you better understand them? When has talking led you to change your mind about someone or something?
The song “The Sound of Silence” is about people being unable to bridge the gaps between them and communicate or understand one another. Often times, we take one look at someone and think we know all about them based on where they are from, how they speak, how they dress, even their skin color. These snap judgments prevent us from being open and accepting and can create an environment of silence that can be even more hurtful than words spoken aloud.
Key Lyrics: “Fools,” said I, “You do not know / Silence, like a cancer, grows / Hear my words that I might teach you / Take my arms that I might reach you.” / But my words like silent raindrops fell / And echoed in the wells of silence
Questions: When have you judged someone? When have you felt judged? How do you treat someone who creates distance from you? How can you help create bridges between different groups within your community?