Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

February 19, 2013

Teaching with Pope Benedict XVI's Message for Lent 2013

Before announcing his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI released a his message for Lent 2013, "Believing in charity calls forth charity." Each year, the Holy Father shares some thoughts to focus the Church on certain virtues and practices during Lent. This year, in honor of the Year of Faith, the he invites us all to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity (love). It is, no doubt, a taste of what was to come in his now-uncertain encyclical on faith.

He begins his letter with a summary of the connections he made between the theological virtues of faith and love in his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est. Then he goes on to distinguish between the two virtues and how they must go hand in hand.

Believe it or not, the Pope's message is not so advanced that you would need a theological degree. A high school student could certainly read and understand the message and apply it to their lives.

Have the students take a clean sheet of paper and fold it in half. On the left write "faith" at the top and title the right side "Charity (Love)."

Have the students read the message, which can be downloaded at the Vatican website. While they read, have them write how the Pope describes the connection between the two virtues in his message. Start with the third paragraph in section number 2. "Charity as life in faith" to create the chart.

Faith and Charity Chart

Use the following as a guide/answer key:

FAITH || CHARITY

Faith is knowing the truth and adhering to it || Charity is "walking" in the truth

Through faith we enter into friendship || Through charity this friendship is lived and cultivated

Faith = embrace the commandment of the Lord || Charity = happiness of putting it into practice

Faith = begotten as children of God || Charity = persevere concretely in our divine sonship

Faith = recognize the gifts God has entrusted to us || Charity = makes the gifts fruitful

Scaling the mountain || Coming back down, bearing love

Apostles proclaim the Gospel || Apostles concern to be of service to the poor

Mary || Martha (Lk 10:38-42)

Tree || Fruit

Baptism || Eucharist

Everything begins with the humble acceptance of faith || Everything has to arrive at the truth of charity

Here are the differences laid out in a table format:

Faith Charity
Faith is knowing the truth and adhering to it Charity is "walking" in the truth
Through faith we enter into friendship Through charity this friendship is lived and cultivated
Faith = embrace the commandment of the Lord Charity = happiness of putting it into practice
Faith = begotten as children of God Charity = persevere concretely in our divine sonship
Faith = recognize the gifts God has entrusted to us Charity = makes the gifts fruitful
Scaling the mountain Coming back down, bearing love
Apostles proclaim the Gospel Apostles concern to be of service to the poor
Mary Martha (Lk 10:38-42)
Tree Fruit
Baptism Eucharist
Everything begins with the humble acceptance of faith Everything has to arrive at the truth of charity

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