Lit Level 3- Flame

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Question 1- What Exactly is “The Church?”

Junie thought she could do it alone. She had an assignment to make a rocket car for shop class. She had read the instructions. She had all the materials. How hard could it be?

As is her usual, she didn’t touch the project until the weekend before it was due. She had too many other things to do with her other classes and sports. And how hard could it be?

She discovered that it could be very hard. She had never used power tools before, so she had to ask her dad to help her with that. She didn’t have a hard enough grip to get some of the pieces together, so she had to get her big brother to help her with those. Upon re-reading the instructions, a couple of the steps didn’t make any sense. Her neighbor happened to walk by and she asked her to take a look. She got so absorbed into the project, her mom had to bring her dinner.

Maybe this project was hard, after all? She just couldn’t do it on her own.

Reflection Questions

  1. How do you think Junie felt when she realized she couldn’t do the project on her own?
  2. What would have happened if Junie didn’t ask for help?
  3. Recall a time in your life when you thought you could complete something on your own. What made you change your mind? How did it feel to admit you couldn’t do it on your own?

Watch

YOUCAT

Read points 121-128 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:

  1. When you think of the Church, what do you think of?
  2. How is the Church more than the building?
  3. What does it mean to you to say that the Church is the “Body of Christ”? The “Bride of Christ”? The “Temple of the Holy Spirit”?
  4. How could you be more active at Church to help build up the Church?

Journal

Answer the following question with as much detail as you feel necessary. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from the YOUCAT points in your response. 

What does the Church mean to you?

Question 2- Has the Church Ever Messed Up?

James is a huge baseball fan. He stays up every night either watching his favorite team, the New York Yankees, or studying their history, stats and current playoff hopes. He can tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about any Yankee that has ever worn the pinstripe uniform.

James is also a pretty good shortstop for his middle school team. He is still learning, but his coaches have already given him a starting spot in the infield. He works hard to remain there as there are many other boys who would love to replace him.

One day, James was watching the news. It turns out his favorite player on the team tested positive for using anabolic steroids to be bigger and better than anyone else. Apparently, testing positive for these drugs forced the Major League Baseball association to make a critical decision- they had to bench James’ favorite player for the rest of the season and, if he tested positive again in the coming months, he’d be out of the league forever.

James was shocked. He never thought that something like this could happen. He became upset that someone, let alone his favorite player, would do something so wrong. He started losing his love for baseball because he thought it all so fake.

Soon after, he stopped coming to baseball practice and started going to bed earlier. His parents and coaches asked if he was ok and all he could say was, “Yeah. I’m fine.”

He never watched another game. He never played again either.

Reflection Questions

  1. Did James make the correct decision to leave the game he loved so much?
  2. Is all of baseball a bad sport because of one player who broke the rules?
  3. Can you think of a situation in your life when someone who was part of a team messed up? How did it affect the rest of the team? How did it affect how other people viewed the team?

Watch

YOUCAT

Read points 119, 141-143, and 178 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:

  1. How does the Holy Spirit protect and lead the Church?
  2. What has more authority than the Pope?
  3. If the worthiness of the priest does not affect the Sacrament, what does?

Journal

Answer the following question with as much detail as you feel necessary. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from the YOUCAT points in your response. 

 How would you respond to someone who asks you “How can you belong to a Church that has made so many mistakes”?

Question 3- What is More Important, Faith or Works?

In class, Joan and Lynn were talking about what they would do in different hypothetical situations.

“What would you do if you won a million dollars?” Lynn asked.

“I would drop out of school and go and live in the Bahamas. What would you do if you could turn invisible?”

“I’d sneak into the teacher’s lounge and see what really goes on in there. What would you do if you saw Greg in trouble?” Greg was an unpopular kid who no one liked.

“I would help him,” Joan answered, “because that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

The bell rang and everyone got up to go to their next class. On his way out the door, Greg dropped all of his books. Joan saw the whole thing, but she just walked away. So did everyone else.

Reflection Questions

  1. What should Joan have done? Why?
  2. Should Lynn say something to Joan about saying one thing and doing another? Why or why not?
  3. Recall a time in your life when you said one thing and did another. Why did you act differently? How did it make you feel?

Watch

YOUCAT

Read point 341 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:

  1. According to the YOUCAT, what is more important, faith or works?
  2. How do we show our faith?
  3. Why are works important?
  4. What could you do to better act in accordance with your beliefs?

Journal

Answer the following question with as much detail as you feel necessary. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from the YOUCAT points in your response. 

How can you show your faith in what you do in your daily life?

Question 4- Why is Abortion and Contraception Wrong?

Sarah couldn’t believe this was happening to her. There she sat, on the bathroom floor rolled up in a ball, completely numb with fear.

It had only been one night. She and her boyfriend loved each other. She figured it wouldn’t hurt just to do it this one time, and she wanted to be with him so bad.

But then her period was late. She had snuck to a drug store after school and bought a pregnancy test. She went home with the intention of doing the test quickly before her parents got home from work. But she chickened out. She just couldn’t face it.

She knew, though, that waiting wasn’t going to change the answer. She was going to have to face the truth sometime. So, after everyone went to bed, she did it. And it was positive.

The shock wore off and she started to cry. She knew her parents were going to be disappointed in her. She worried about her future. She heard a knock on the door. Her mom asked, “Are you alright?” Apparently she had heard Sarah’s cries.

Reflection Questions

  1. Should Sarah tell her mom? Why or why not?
  2. Why should Sarah choose life?
  3. What are some options for Sarah’s future?
  4. Recall a time when you messed up in a big way and your parents got upset with you. How did you feel? How did you deal with the situation?

Watch

Consider watching this entire playlist of answers regarding life issues:

YOUCAT

Read points 383, 414, and 418-421 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:

  1. In your own words, why is abortion at any phase in development wrong?
  2. What are some better ways to fight AIDS than condoms?
  3. Why are children important?
  4. How can married couples regulate the number of children they have without using contraception? What are the benefits of natural family planning?

Journal

Answer the following question with as much detail as you feel necessary. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from the YOUCAT points in your response. 

What can you do to help women facing unplanned pregnancies?

Question 5- Is War Good or Bad?

Brad couldn’t believe it. That jerk, Sean, took his girlfriend’s seat on the bus. Sean is always talking smack. Nobody likes him. Brad and Sean had been exchanging words for a few days now, but this was the last draw. Brad threw the first punch. Sean fought back.

Alison, Brad’s girlfriend, had mixed feelings about the whole thing. While she liked seeing him stand up for her, it was only a seat. She could sit somewhere else. It’s not the end of the world. She wouldn’t have gotten upset about the seat.

Craig, Brad’s best friend, saw the fight. Sean seemed to be getting the upper-hand, so he intervened to defend his friend.

The bus driver stepped in between the boys and stopped the fight. Sean got to keep his stolen seat. Alison sat somewhere else. Brad and Craig complained about Sean the whole rest of the way home.

Reflection Questions

  1. Was Brad right in starting the fight with Sean? Why or why not?
  2. Was Craig right in getting involved? Why or why not?
  3. Was Alison right in not getting involved? Why or why not?

Watch

YOUCAT

Read points 398-399 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:

  1. In your own words, what is the criteria for a “just war”?
  2. Do you think that the criteria is fair?
  3. Can you think of any war (real or fictional) you’ve learned about that didn’t meet the criteria? Can you think of any war that did?
  4. What can you do to promote peace in your part of the world among your family and friends?

Journal

Answer the following question with as much detail as you feel necessary. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from the YOUCAT points in your response. 

When is war justifiable? What can be done to avoid war?

Question 6- What Does the Church Teach About Homosexuality?

Carrie and Melissa have been best friends since kindergarten. They lived on the same street. They walked to and from school together. They were both active in the youth group at their Catholic Church. They spent the night at each other’s houses and they told each other everything.

Melissa found out one day that Carrie had been keeping a secret. Carrie had been quiet for a couple of weeks, but she trusted not to push the subject. Carrie didn’t like being pushed around.

Carrie looked at the ground. “I have something I need to tell you, Melissa. And you have to promise not to tell anyone.”

“Of course I won’t tell anybody.”

“I also don’t want this to ruin our friendship.”

“It won’t ruin our friendship. You’re my best friend.”

Carrie stood still for a moment. Time stood still as Melissa waited for Carrie to speak. What could this secret be?

“Melissa, I think I’m gay.”

Melissa instinctively took a step back. That was the last thing she’d expected to hear. She wasn’t sure how to respond.

Watch

Reflection Questions

  1. How did Carrie feel sharing her secret with Melissa? How did Melissa feel?
  2. What would you say if you were in Melissa’s position? Why?

YOUCAT

Read point 65 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:

Why is a loving, fruitful relationship between a man and a woman so important? What makes homosexual acts wrong?

You may have heard it said, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Why are we supposed to do that? What does that mean? How does it relate to the Church’s teaching on homosexuality?

How should Melissa respond to Carrie?

Journal

Answer the following question with as much detail as you feel necessary. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from the YOUCAT point in your response. 

What would you do if one of your friends told you they were gay?

Question 7- Can I Go to Another Religion’s Church Service?

It was Laura’s first time sleeping over at her new friend Wendy’s house. When school started, they had hit it off. They could just sit together and talk for hours.

The sleep-over was a blast. They played games, ate pizza, and talked until they fell asleep sometime in the early morning hours. Wendy, had said something that night about church the next morning, but between the gossiping and joking around, it had gone in one ear and out the other.

Wendy’s parents woke them up at nine the next morning to go to church. Laura rushed to the bathroom and did what she could do to make herself not look like she’d only gotten 5 hours of sleep. Laura, Wendy, and Wendy’s family loaded up into their van and went to church.

The sign out front said Presbyterian. Laura was a Catholic. Her first issue was whether she should be there in the first place. Once they got inside, the church looked funny. There were no kneelers or holy water. The pulpit was center stage rather than the altar. She decided to sit in respectful silence through the service. Wendy’s mother wouldn’t let them talk anyway.

She left with more questions than answers. Laura spent the following week asking Wendy questions about her experience. She also talked to her parents and her priest.

Reflection Questions

  1. Did Laura do the right thing?
  2. What should Laura do the next time she sleeps over?
  3. Have you ever been to another church? What was your experience?

Watch

Are all religions equal?

On the other side of the coin: Why can’t non-Catholics receive communion at a Catholic Church?

YOUCAT

Read points 135-136 in your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:

  1. Why, as Christians, are we supposed to respect Judaism?
  2. What do Christianity and Islam have in common?
  3. What do we mean when we say “there is no salvation outside of the Church”?

Journal

Answer the following question with as much detail as you feel necessary. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from the YOUCAT points in your response.

How can we respect what is good and true in other people’s faiths while being faithful to our own?

Question 8- What is Sin?

Jeremy had a test coming up that he simply was not ready for. He wanted to study, but he had basketball practice every night this week and it was his birthday the night before the test. This meant that he wouldn’t have time to study if he wanted to celebrate with his family.

When test day came, he was tired and told his mother that he wasn’t “feeling well.” He was lying. He felt perfectly fine aside from the regular sleepiness he felt when waking up; he just didn’t want to go to school to fail the test he hadn’t prepared for. 

After taking his temperature and watching him eat breakfast, his mom told him he needed to go to school anyway. Jeremy consented and grabbed his bag to go to school.

As he entered his class, the teacher gave him his test and Ross, who was sitting right next to Jeremy, was completing his test with his answers in plain view. Jeremy was stuck. He knew he’d fail the test, but he also knew that Ross probably had most of the right answers because he was a straight “A” student. 

Jeremy looked over his shoulder to see if the teacher was watching. She wasn’t, so Jeremy began copying Ross’ answers without him knowing.

Respond

  1. Is what Jeremy did wrong?
  2. Which was more serious, lying to his mother about being sick or copying Ross’ answers on the test?
  3. What effects do you think this decision had on Jeremy? Do you think Ross was affected? Jeremy’s mom?
  4. If you had to rank the following sins from bad to worst, how would you rank them? Why did you choose the order you chose?
  • Cheating on a test
  • Lying to your mother
  • Killing an elderly woman
  • Stealing a pack of gum from the gas station
  • Lying to your friend
  • Killing a young chid
  • Robbing a bank

Watch

YOUCAT

Read points 67, and 315-320  from your YOUCAT. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:

  1. What is sin?
  2. What is the difference between mortal and venial sins?
  3. What does mortal sin do to your relationship with God?
  4. What does venial sin do to your relationship with God?

Journal

Answer the following question with as much detail as you feel necessary.

Identify the sins that you commit most often. What steps can you take to stop committing these sins?

Question 9- What is the Sacrament of Reconciliation and How Does it Help Me?

Jenny didn’t mean to do it. She just told one person Anne’s secret and the next thing she knew, the whole school found out.

Anne was very hurt and angry, but she had no idea that Jenny was the one who told her secret. Jenny was torn about whether or not to say anything.

If she kept her mouth shut, Anne will never know that she had broken her trust. Though, if she told Anne and apologized, she knew she’d feel better and maybe their relationship would be stronger because of it.

She decided to tell her one day after school.

“I’m the one who told your secret, Anne. I only told one person. I thought I could trust them, but apparently I was wrong. I’m sorry.”

“You did what?” Anne asked. She couldn’t believe that Jenny was the one who had told.

“I told your secret. I didn’t mean for it to go as far as it did. I’m really sorry and I won’t do it again.”

Anne was still shocked. Jenny was the last person she had suspected of telling. Jenny seemed genuinely sorry and had promised not to do it again. Would she trust her?

Reflection Questions

  1. What should Anne do?
  2. Why did Jenny confess?
  3. Have you ever confessed a wrong to someone, knowing that it might hurt your relationship? What was that like for you? What was the result of your honesty?

Watch

YOUCAT

Read points 224-239 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:

  1. Why is the presence of the priest so important to the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
  2. What do you need to do to prepare yourself for Confession?
  3. What are the rewards for going to Confession?

Journal

Answer the following question with as much detail as you feel necessary. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from the YOUCAT points in your response. 

Why is confession an important part of your faith journey?

Level Flame: Final Reflection

In an earlier reflection, you were asked to start serving others, to “Just Do It.” In this final response, you’re asked to “Do it right!”

In this course, you learned about morality and ethics. You’ve learned about how to apply the teachings you’ve learned to your day to day life and to many of the more difficult issues facing our society today.

To complete this level, you need to get active in helping your community. There are many different options:

  • Collect donations for a crisis pregnancy center
  • Write a letter or sign a petition to your elected officials about an important ethical issue
  • Participate in local pro-life activities like 40 Days for Life
  • Participate in a charitable interfaith event
  • Help evangelize to fallen away Catholics or to friends who aren’t very active in the Church

Help in any way that you feel comfortable. As the final reflection in level 2 says, use the gifts God gave you. The important thing is to do something. We all need to practice what we preach. If we believe that all life is sacred, if we believe that Catholicism is the Truth, we need to act on it!

As the Letter of James says:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. – James 2:14-18