It is important to stand up for what we believe in this world. There are many different peoples with many different beliefs and many different faiths. Although we are so varied, we are all cherished children of God.
Often, when people refer to 'having faith,' it can mean one of several things: that they 'believe' in God; that they 'trust' God; that they 'accept that God is real,' or perhaps combinations of these understandings, along with other nuances as well. First of all, quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, faith is: 'a personal adherence of the whole man to God who reveals himself. It involves an assent of the intellect and will to the self-revelation God has made through his deeds and words.' (CCC 176)
Accordingly, when we use the word faith in this way, we are talking about more than just an awareness of God or an acceptance that God is real. For faith is a giving of one’s self to God, assenting in both 'intellect and will' to what God has revealed. Such 'faith' has plain implications for how we live – as such assent to God as our Creator and our Saviour leads to a way of life that are based upon the knowledge of God we have received and the eternal relationship that He offers to us. The following is a liturgy on the theme of faith and belief to share with your school and parish.
Setting the scene
At the back of the room have:
1. Name cards
2. A basket with some blank cards big enough for them to draw a hand, which they can trace around their own.
3. Pencils or pens
4. A Bowl of water
5. Lighted Candle
In addition, liturgy organisers should choose:
6. Three students to take up the basket, the bowl of water and lighted candle at the appropriate time.
7. One student to read the explanations of each symbol.
Leader: Loving God, you call us to walk the path of discipleship with you.
You call us to listen for your voice in scripture and in the world around us.
You call us to speak and live your word in our school and in our homes.
Help us to have faith and belief that you are always with us no matter how difficult the times seem to be.
In times of hardship, comfort us.
In times of challenge, send us your wisdom.
In times of celebration, give us your joy.
Let our faith and belief in you rule in our hearts and govern our words and deeds.
Leader: Henry Nouwen tells us in his book, Bread for the Journey.
'So many terrible things happen every day that we can start wondering whether the few things we do ourselves make any sense. When people are starving only a few thousand miles away, when wars are raging close to our borders, when countless people in our cities have no homes to live in, our own activities can look futile. Such consideration, however, can paralyse and depress us.
'Here the word "call" becomes important. We are not called to save the world, solve all problems, and help all people. But each of us has our own unique call, in our families, in our work, in our world. We have to keep asking God to help us see clearly what our call is and to give us the strength to live out that call with trust. Then we will discover that our faithfulness to a small task is the most healing response to the illnesses of our time.'
Reading: John 20:24-29, Jesus and Thomas
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God,’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’
The Gospel of the Lord.
All: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
(At this time, three students will bring up the symbols. One student will read the explanation for each symbol.)
Name Card: When Jesus was baptised, God identified him as his Son, the Beloved. In our baptism, God identifies us as his son or his daughter. Whatever temptations we face – however far we stray, we remember that we are called by the name written on the palm of God’s hand.
Bowl of water: The Samaritan woman found Jesus as a well and gave him water. In return, he showed himself to be the living water – the wellspring of life – giving his life so that we could be immersed in it and be reborn to eternal life.
Lighted candle: Jesus opened the eyes of the blind man so that he could see the light of day. Yet even with sight, the blind man’s mind was enlightened – he saw the light of Christ with his heart and his soul when all around him did not.
In response to the Gospel, let us remember what we believe in our faith.
Leader: At Mass, when we pray the Apostles’ Creed we are stating the tenets of our faith and expressing what we truly believe. Praying the creed is a beautiful way to convey our faith.
Litany: We believe
Leader: I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
All: We affirm our faith in God the Father, who gave us life, love, and laughter.
Leader: And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
All: We revere Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, man made flesh.
Leader: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
All: We worship the Holy Spirit, God the Father and God the Son our Triune God.
Leader: Born of the virgin Mary
All: We honour Mary, the mother of Jesus and our holy mother.
Leader: Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.
All: We praise Jesus for his sacrifice of love for us.
Leader: He descended into hell, on the third day he rose again from the dead,
All: We glorify God for the miracle of his Son’s resurrection.
Leader: He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
All: We are in awe of the wonder of the Ascension.
Leader: From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
All: We pray that we may be judged worthy to live in the kingdom of heaven.
Leader: I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church
All: We are thankful for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are devoted to our faith.
Leader: The communion of saints
All: We depend on the constant intercession of the saints.
Leader: The forgiveness of sins.
All: We humbly beg forgiveness for our wrongdoings.
Leader: The resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
All: We pray that we will join you in heaven and dwell in your holy presence forever.
All: So be it according to your divine will.
Prayers of the faithful
Leader: Father you have given us the gift of faith. When we are afraid or lacking in trust strengthen our faith so that we may know your love for us.
Reader: Let us pray for all people and especially for those who have difficulty in believing in divine providence
All: Lord may we grow in trust of you and of each other. Bless all those whom we have trusted and who have helped us in times when we needed another to trust.
All: Lord may we grow in trust of you and of each other. For young people who feel isolated and alone; we pray they will find Christ and others in whom they can have faith.
All: Lord may we grow in trust of you and of each other. Lord help us all to remain strong in faith and not to feel downhearted and abandoned when everything seems to be going wrong.
All: Lord may we grown in trust of you and of each other.
(After Prayers of the faithful, liturgy organizers can allow time for a quiet reflection while playing the song 'I believe that every drop of rain that falls'.)
I believe for every drop of rain that falls
A flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
A candle glows
I believe for everyone who goes astray
Someone will come to show the way
I believe, I believe
I believe above a storm the smallest prayer
Can still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere
Hears every word
Every time I hear a new born baby cry
Or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why, I believe
(Repeat last verse)
Be with us, Lord,
we pray source of life, generosity and trust,
consolation in times that are good,
comfort in times that are troublesome,
This prayer we make in the name of Jesus the Lord.