This teaching tool uses visual clues to trigger
memorization. Presented as a puzzle, it is a unique way to remember key
elements of our faith, including prayers, Scripture, facts on Catholic teachings
Why should we, as catechists, include learning by
heart—memorization—in our methodologies? Here’s what you need to know:
* “While the content of the faith cannot be reduced to
formulas that are repeated without being
properly understood, learning by heart has had a special place in
catechesis and should continue to have that place in catechesis today” (National Directory for Catechesis, n.
* Memorizing has been
proven to strengthen the mind. Like pulling clay, memorizing makes the mind
more flexible, capable of grasping and retaining more information. Memorization
helps learners grasp information about the Church and our Catholic faith.
* Memorizing helps key elements of our faith—including
prayers, Scripture, Catholic teachings and traditions—take root in the mind.
Learners can retrieve the information when it is most needed, often during
times of crisis.
* Understanding and committing to memory key elements of
Catholic teaching helps students learn by heart so that they can live by faith.
Here is a Learning by Heart exercise to use with your
The Prayer of Praise
The Prayer of Praise (Glory Be to the Father) was a favorite
prayer of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897). Thérèse offered kindness to anyone
who was mean or unfair to her as her “little way” of loving Jesus. Her example
changed those around her. Still, Thérèse didn’t think she was doing enough to
give glory to God. Then one day in prayer, God let her know that her generous
spirit was a great gift. She was doing “little things with great love.”
Saint Thérèse died at age 24. Her feast day is October 1. She
loved the Prayer of Praise because in its simple way, this prayer expresses a great
mystery of faith. It calls us to praise the Holy Trinity now and for all
The Prayer of Praise is a doxology, a “glory saying” in the
Greek language. Use the puzzle on the next page to help students memorize or
review the Prayer of Praise: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the
Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world
without end. Amen.
Using the Puzzle Page
This exercise can help students learn the Prayer of Praise
by heart. Here’s how to use it:
1. Before presenting this exercise, review the puzzle [CLICK HERE FOR CATECHIST
PAGE] and become familiar with the images used in association with
* Angels are messengers calling us
to give praise to God. The angel with the trumpet represents that glory
* In the mystery of the Trinity,
God the Father is represented as Creator, holding the world in his hands. God
the Son is our Savior on the cross. God the Holy Spirit is portrayed as the
dove, our guide.
* At the dawn of creation (as it
was in the beginning), angels filled the heavens with their praises.
* This praise continues today (is
now) in the Body of Christ, the Church.
* This praise will continue always
(and ever shall be), for the Body of Christ, the Church, will never cease to
praise the Holy Trinity.
* The infinity symbol means praise
for the glory of God will ring for all eternity (world without end).
* “Amen” means “so be it.” The
prayer hands represent this affirmation.
2. Review the words of the prayer with students. Point out
how it gives eternal glory to God in Three Persons, the Trinity. (With younger
students, repeat the prayer at least twice.)
3. Have students work the puzzle by writing on the lines the
words associated with the images. [CLICK HERE FOR STUDENT PAGE]
4. Students can color or decorate the page to create a
5. Repeat the Prayer of Praise as a group.
6. Ask students to memorize this prayer.
7. Repeat the exercise as often as needed, discussing the
meaning of the words carefully each time.
Judith Costello, MA, writes for national and regional publications and is a Third Order Carmelite (OCSD). She is an artist, freelance writer, and catechist. Judith can be reached at Judith@parentingwithspirit.com.