Faith that Works

Teaching middle schoolers how to live and practice their faith

The fourth time Mary speaks in the Gospels is at the Wedding in Cana, which is found in John 2: 1-12. This is the only time that we can hear Mary speak in Jesus’s adult life and ministry, and I love the way the interchange goes between the two of them. The story is a …

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Right now, this third word of Mary in the Gospels is resonating strongly with me. After spending time in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, Mary and Joseph head back to Nazareth, only to realize that 12 year old Jesus is not with the travelling group. They make their way back to the temple, …

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When I teach the gospels to my seventh graders, we often make lists of the things that make each gospel distinct. For example, Matthew uses the literary form of midrash to show numerous connections between Jesus and the Old Testament promises God had made to the Israelites. Mark is the shortest gospel, and also all …

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Catholics do a great job at Lent. We fast, pray, and give like champs. For forty days we fill devotionals, give up things we love, and pick ways to help others. I love picking lenten devotions and planning my lenten promises. My classroom and home are taken over by the color purple and the symbols …

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“I am the true vine.” John 15:1 Growing up in New Jersey, I didn’t have a lot of experience with vineyards, although the wine industry is really taking off there now. However, moving to the heart of Washington wine country has taught me a lot about agriculture in general and given me a new insight …

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“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6 Praying the Stations of the Cross has always been one of my favorite Lenten practices. One of my earliest school memories was gathering in the auditorium on the Fridays of Lent to pray through the stations together. As we walked from station to station, …

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“I am the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25 The last few years have been filled with a lot of loss in our family- my father-in-law, a dear friend from grad school, my husband’s aunt, my friend’s daughter, two friends from our parish, and a much hoped for baby. Many times in the last two …

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“I am the good shepherd.” John 10:11 When I was in college, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain. One morning, super early, I woke in my dorm room in an old Carmelite convent to a very loud, very unfamiliar sound. When I made it to the window, I saw something I …

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“I am the gate.” John 10:7 This is the I am statement of Jesus that I probably know the least, and in my research for this post, I realized/learned that this I am statement is very connected to tomorrow: I am the good shepherd. They both come from Jesus’s words to the Pharisees immediately after …

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“I am the light of the world.” John 8:12 Right now the world is very dark. We feel alone, anxious, afraid. Some of us have been home for weeks, some for days, and some head out into the darkness each day, performing essential jobs under new and difficult circumstances. As I read the news each …

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