A prayer service about vocations for grades three to five
Often when we talk about vocations, we somehow get to the question: “What am I going to be when I grow up?” Consider instead that our vocation — which underscores all we do in life, no matter our age — is to love.
As Catholics, our goal is to live as Jesus asks us to in Scripture. Before we can focus on our path in life, we are first called to love God and love others. The cross, endured by Christ for our sakes, is the most perfect example of love. In it there is a vertical beam, which reminds us of the love between God and each of us. The horizontal beam reminds us to love others. The goal of this prayer time, then, especially for grades three to five, is to realize that the first choice in our vocation is to love — and Jesus shows us the way.
Set up the environment
Cover a table with a white or gold cloth, a crucifix, a Bible open to Matthew 22, and paper hearts with Scripture verses written on them (template at Catechist.com/ hearts/).
God, you have called each of us by name to be a part of your family because you love us. We love you and want to share that love with others. Help us to remember your love and to share it always. Amen.
Choose six readers and have each read one of the verses.
Response after each verse: ℟ We want to love God and others.
(Deuteronomy 6:5) “You shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.” ℟
(Deuteronomy 10:12) “Now, therefore, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, ask of you but to fear the Lord, your God, to follow in all his ways, to love and serve the Lord, your God, with your whole heart and with your whole being.” ℟
(Deuteronomy 11:1) “Love the Lord, your God, therefore, and keep his charge, statutes, ordinances, and commandments always.” ℟
(Micah 6:8) “You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” ℟
(John 13:34-35) “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ℟
(Romans 13:8) “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” ℟
Matthew 22:34-40 (The Greatest Commandment)
Introduce the reading by saying: “This Gospel explains how Jesus wants us to live. Listen for the two commandments Jesus asks us to follow.”
READER: A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew. (℟ Glory to you, O Lord.) Read the passage; when done pause and say: The Gospel of the Lord. (℟ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.)
Lead the group in a discussion using these questions:
■ What are the two commandments Jesus tells us are the most important?
■ Which is harder to do, love God or love others?
■ How can we show God we love him?
■ How can we show that we love ourselves?
■ What makes it hard for us to love others?
■ Why do you think Jesus wants us to love others and ourselves?
Explain that from the beginning of time God has loved us and called us to himself by our name. And our call, our vocation, is to share the love God gives us with other people.
Choose a song for continued reflection.
■ “Hold Us Together” by Matt Maher at CATmag.us/2MTjLJf
■ “Take My Life” by Scott Underwood at CATmag.us/2Zubz5t
■ “The Servant Song” by David Haas at CATmag.us/2pdyhmj
LEADER: We ask God to hear our prayers and help us every day.
℟ Lord, help us to love!
We pray for all the people in the world to know God. ℟
We pray to learn how to love others who are hard to love. ℟
We pray to learn how to care for ourselves. ℟
We thank God for all the people who love us: our parents, our families, our friends. ℟
We pray for people who are sick, tired, lonely, or scared. ℟
LEADER: Father, you show us how to love ourselves and to love others. You gave us Jesus because of love. You forgive us because of love. Help us to love others like you love us. Amen.
As they leave, give each student a heart with their name on the outside and a Scripture verse inside to remind them that we are called to love God and to love others as ourselves.
Deanna Bartalini, MEd and MPA, is a writer, speaker, and catechist serving on the retreat team at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center in North Palm Beach, Florida. She is the author of Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women: Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life. Find more at DeannaBartalini.com.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, March 2020.
PHOTO: CHAT KAREN STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK