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Academy of Our Lady

Session 1

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WHAT IS MY CHILD LEARNING THIS MONTH?

Students gain a general understanding of the structure of the Old and New Testaments and learn how to navigate the Bible.  


BRINGING THIS SESSION HOME
In each of the sessions of our junior high program, there is a section entitled, “Bringing the Session Home”. Here, we will give parents instructions on the home based portion of the program they are to teach to their child.

Parents are encouraged to break up this material into weekly sessions for you and your child to do together. They should take no more than one hour each week.

Many young people have questions about how the Bible came to be and how do we know everything contained in it is true and not a book of fiction.

THE BIBLE:
The word "Bible" comes from the Greek word biblia which means "books". Therefore, the Bible is not just one book but MANY books that have been combined and put together as a collection of ancient writings about God. For the Jewish people, God was known by the name Yahweh, a name for God that means "He brings into existence all that exists".

The Bible is split into two main sections known as TESTAMENTS.

Testament means "agreement". The Old Testament - also called the Hebrew Scriptures, contains stories about the "old" agreement God made with the Hebrews (today we would call these people Jews - people of the Jewish faith). Most of what is contained in the Hebrew Scriptures deals with the agreements God made with Abraham and then with Moses and how the Hebrews (also known as Israelites) either followed or abandoned that agreement throughout their history.

IsaiahscrollThe Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a teenage shepherd boy in a cave about a mile inland from the Dead Sea. Over 972 texts or scrolls were found between 1946 and 1956. They are some of the earliest writings ever discovered of books are are contained in the Bible. It is believed this particular group of writings belonged to a group of Jews known as the Essenes. The scrolls date back to 480BCE (BC) to the most recent of 318CE (AD).   The New Testament - also called the Christian Scriptures, contains the stories and teachings about the NEW agreement between God and His people based on the teachings and life of Jesus. it begins with four Gospel Versions on the life and ministry of Jesus -  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The Christian Scriptures also contain an account of the Apostles after Jesus as ascended into Heaven and letters written by key Christian leaders to individuals or communities instructing them on the faith. There is also a book of revelations by John the Apostle.

WHO WROTE THE BIBLE:
It was written by numerous people, most of them Hebrews. There are some books in the Bible that we are unsure of the author's name.

WHEN WAS THE BIBLE WRITTEN:
It was written over a time period of 1,100 years - from approximately 1,000 BCE (BC) to 100 CE (AD). - Use pages 10 & 11 in the booklet to show your child the length of time the Bible was written. At the same time show them the books in the Bible that would cover those events in the history of the Hebrew People. Here is a wonderful LINK to help you in matching dates with when a part of the Bible was written.

HOW MANY BOOKS ARE THERE IN THE BIBLE?
That is going to depend on which version you are using. Here's why...

Catholic Bibles have a total of 73 books that were approved by the Council of Hippo in 393 CE. The Hebrew Scriptures would total 46 books and the Christian Scriptures 27 books.

Protestant Bibles would have only 66 books in total (39 in the Hebrew Scriptures and 27 in the Christian Scriptures). At the time the Protestant Bible was created the books they left out were never found in either Hebrew or Greek, the language of the people at the time the books would have been written.Therefore, the Protestant leadership removed them until they could be found in the original language following the example of the Jewish leaders who had done the same thing centuries before. Several of the books have since been found in either Greek or Hebrew and are being authenticated.

Here is a great video to help in understanding this:  Why Are Bibles Different?

WHAT IS IN THE BIBLE?

The Bible is filled with various types of writings. some of the most common are:

  • Histories of important events or individuals
  • Laws for the Jewish People to follow
  • Poetry
  • Lyrics to songs - Psalm 51 (Be Gracious to me, O God) (sung in Hebrew)
  • Speeches given by important people (known as orations)
  • Stories to teach a moral lesson

ONE STEP AHEAD:  PARENT SESSION RESOURCES

In class we watched a video on how the Bible was written.  For this and more Bible videos, check out:

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Click here for the website!


Does you child have questions about a certain topic in the lesson and you need to go more in depth? Here are some resources you might find helpful!

Spark Notes - Main Characters of the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament
DEAD SEA SCROLLS - Visit the digital library of the Dead Sea Scrolls. View the actual scrolls found back in the 1940's, find out more about their history, discover the other artifacts found with the scrolls and much more!
Finding Your Way Through the Old Testament (Article) - Gives a great overview of the basics of the Hebrew Scriptures.
25 Most Important People in the Bible (List & Article) - Also gives a FANTASTIC time frame for when these individuals lived - it is near the bottom of the page.
Bible Reading for Catholics (Article) - Great list of ten points for fruitful scripture reading!
Bible at the Core of Catholic Beliefs (Article) - Understanding how scripture is vital to our faith.


GOING OFF THE DEEP END
- Taking Your Faith to a Deeper Level. Most people have no idea how to use scripture in their daily life. Here is a great way to begin to understand scripture in a new way using a method known as LECTIO DIVINA.

WHAT IS LECTIO DIVINA?
Is the Latin term which translated means “Divine Reading” or “Reading that is sacred”.

Lectio Divina is actually a form of prayer – praying through the reading of scripture and searching for God’s personal message to you through it.

A BREIF HISTORY…
Although its roots go back to the Third Century, with Origen Adamantius, a Church Father and early Christian Theologian, it wasn’t until the Sixth Century that Lectio Divina became widespread.  It was at this time that St. Benedict added Lectio Divina to the Benedictine Rule all monks were to follow.

Guigo II, a monk in the 12th Century, developed a four stage process for Lectio Divina which is still commonly used today. Not much later, St. Ignatius Loyola added a step to Guigo II’s process. Although not as widely used as Guigo II’s model, we will be using Ignatius’ formula in this instruction.

Up until the 1960’s Lectio Divina was used only by ordained clergy and religious orders.  It was Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965 in the Second Vatican Council’s document “Dei Verbum” where Pope Paul VI encouraged all the faithful to use Lectio Divina in their prayer life.

HOW DOES LECTIO DIVINA WORK?
Before beginning Lectio Divina, the following is encouraged:

  • Decide on a Bible passage you will focus on. You may decide to choose one of the daily readings or a reading for the upcoming Sunday.
  • Find a location that brings you peace and solitude
  • Choose a time of day where you will not be distracted by others
  • Make sure you have at least 20 to 30 minutes for the process
  • Before opening your Bible, say a short prayer asking God to reveal himself to you through this reading.

VIDEO:
Please watch these great videos by Archbishop Collins of the Archdiocese of Toronto, Canada on the meaning of Lectio Divina.
Part I - http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/what-lectio-divina
Part II - http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/what-lectio-divina

LECTIO DIVINA in Six Steps: Using Luke 2:1-14 -  The Birth of Jesus

STEP 1: Lexio (lex-ee-oh) This step is reading and listening to the word of God.

  • Listening with reverence.
  • Listening in a spirit of silence.
  • Listening in awe of the Sacred Word of God.

lectioRead the passage silently to yourself. (pause)
Read the passage a second time. In this step, listen for a word or phrase from the Scripture passage that is God’s word for you today.
Read the Scripture passage both silently and out loud. Read it several times, letting the words sink in deeply. Open your heart and mind to the meaning of the words.

STEP 2: Meditatio (med-it-tots-ee-oh) This step is meditation on the Scripture passage. Allow the Scriptures to touch you and affect you at your deepest level of being.

Reflect on the passage. Ask yourself questions such as the following:

What does this passage say to me? Who am I in the passage? (Can you imagine yourself as one of the shepherds watching your flock when the angels arrive? What would your reaction be?) What do I see? What do I hear? (Imagine yourself as that shepherd – what do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel?) What do I think? Which character do I most relate to? What do I most need to learn from this passage?

STEP 3: Oratio (or-ot-see-oh) This step is responding to God’s message to you from the Scripture passage. Pray with the passage of Scripture. What do the words invite you to pray about? Let the following questions guide you:

What do I want to communicate to God? What am I longing for in my relationship with God? What do I desire in my prayer life? What secrets of my heart are ready to be expressed? Is there joy? Sorrow? Fear? Gratitude?

STEP 4: Contemplatio (con-tem-plot-see-oh) This step is contemplation. In silence, rest in the unconditional love of God.
Simply let yourself rest in the presence of God. Let go of all distracting thoughts.

STEP 5: Actio (ax-ee-oh)
In this step ask yourself:

What does the word of God in this passage invite me to do? What does this passage of Scripture call me to do or undo, or to be? (If you imagined yourself as a shepherd in the passage, how is God calling you to be a modern day shepherd for Him?) Answer the following questions with utter honesty:

How is God challenging me? Is there a good thing God is calling me to do? Is there a harmful thing God wants me to stop doing? What is the next step I need to take? Decide on a course of action (large or small). Commit to following through with your plan.

CLOSING YOUR EXPERIENCE:

  • Take a few moments of silence to reflect on the entire experience.
  • If you are a “journal person” take some time to record your thoughts.
  • Say a short prayer of Thanksgiving for God’s revelations to you through this scripture passage.

RESOURCES FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
WEBSITES:
Lectio Divina, The Official Website of the Carmelite Order Great site for general information and guidance through the process.

VIDEOS:
Explanation of Lectio Divina
PART I by Archbishop Collins of Toronto, Canada Explanation of Lectio Divina
PART II by Archbishop Collins of Toronto, Canada


PHOTO OF THE MONTH
Iceland

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GLOSSARY
Terms for this month Every Person Should Know
Sacred Scripture
Gospel
Hebrew Scriptures
Christian Scriptures
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SCRIPTURE REFLECTION OF THE MONTH!
scripture
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TOUGH TOPICS
BY FR. RON

fr ron
"Does the Church Take the Story of Adam and Eve Literally?"
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SAINTS OF THE MONTH
StJerome
ST. JEROME

 StKateri
ST. KATERI TEKAKWITHA
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ART OF THE MONTH
Adam&God

MICHELANGELO'S CREATION OF ADAM
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DAY TRIP OF THE MONTH
Cloisters2

THE CLOISTERS
Located in Fort Tryon Park, New York City, NY


BOOK OF THE MONTH FOR PARENTS
CaseForChrist large

This is the adult version of the book all the students are reading this year. Why not read it along with them and discuss what you both learned from it!
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BOOK OF THE MONTH FOR STUDENTS
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MOVIE OF THE MONTH
Biblemovielarge

Great movie featuring many of the main Hebrew Scripture stories every person should know.
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