Read an Excerpt
Creator and Father
Saint Teresa of Ávila
Saint Teresa of Ávila believed in the power of prayer. She spent her life writing about prayer and teaching people to pray.
Saint Teresa of Ávila
Teresa of Ávila was born in Spain in 1515. Her strict but loving father sent her to a convent when she was 16 years old. Teresa discovered that she liked living in community with the other sisters. She liked living a very simple life.
At times Teresa felt herself growing away from God. She tried to pray but found it difficult. However, Teresa stayed faithful to God because she knew that it was what he wanted her to do.
Teresa wrote what she had learned about prayer and traveled throughout Spain to teach people about the simple life she lived. The things she wrote were so important that she was named a Doctor of the Church, a special kind of teacher. People who want to learn about prayer still read her books today. Her feast day is October 15.
God Creates the World
Farmers, park rangers, and sanitation workers help take care of the earth. Can you name other jobs that involve taking care of the earth? What can the rest of us do to take care of the earth?
Dear God, give me the grace to appreciate your creation. Help me show my love for you in my care of the earth.
Reading God’s Word
The works of God are all of them good;
every need when it comes he fills.
God the Creator
You visit the earth and water it. You fill the streams with water and the fields with grain. You prepare the earth and send showers to keep the ground soft and to water the young sprouts. The meadows drip with rain, and the hills are robed with joy. The pastures are clothed with flocks, and the valleys are blanketed with grain. The pastures and valleys cheer and sing for joy.
adapted from Psalm 65:10,14
A psalm is a sacred song or hymn. This psalm celebrates God’s creation and the miracle of life that God brings. It reminds us that God created the world for us. With God we are responsible for taking care of it.
Did You Know?
There are 150 psalms in the Old Testament. They have been used in the public prayer of the Church since its beginning.
The Wonder of God’s World
Think about how you feel when you see a rainbow or a single beautiful flower. That joy and wonder is what God wants us to experience whenever we look at all the amazing things he created for us.
It is important to remember that God’s most amazing creation is the human family. Each one of us is created with a spiritual nature called a soul. We each have intellect and free will so that we can understand and make choices. We are able to choose to live as God wants us to live.
The goal of human life is to follow Jesus Christ to the Father. The Holy Spirit helps us live in a way that will lead us to that goal.
Link to Liturgy
At Mass we thank God for his creation in the preface and the dialog that begins it. The priest says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.” We respond, “It is right to give him thanks and praise.”
Caring for the Earth
God chose to create the earth for us. One way that we thank him is by taking care of our earth. We care for the earth by not being wasteful of the resources he has given us. Air, water, mountains, deserts, plants, and animals are all precious because they are gifts from God.
What Can We Do?
Here are three suggestions for things that each of us can do to help conserve what God has given us. On the lines below write more ideas of your own.
Recycle paper, plastic, and glass.
Use cloth towels and napkins instead of paper.
Walk or bike instead of asking for a ride in a car.
In the time of Teresa of Ávila, nuns in a convent or monks in a monastery usually had to provide for all their own needs. They had to make their own clothing and grow their own food. For this reason, every convent or monastery had a garden. In fact, when Saint Benedict made his rule for monasteries, he specifically said they must have gardens.
A monastery or convent usually had several different types of gardens. There was a kitchen garden where peas, beans, leeks, onions, garlic, and other vegetables were grown. Larger gardens had apple and other fruit trees. Some of them even had beehives to provide honey.
Monks and nuns grow these and many other herbs in their gardens. They use the herbs for medicinal purposes such as healing wounds and treating symptoms of the common cold.
rosemary, lavender, ginger root, caraway seeds
In the infirmary or hospital garden, the monks or nuns grew plants for making medicines, salves, and tonics. They experimented with the plants and learned which ones helped soothe burns or relieve headaches. What they learned was important because there were no pharmacies or over-the-counter medicines available.
Many monasteries and convents also had leisure gardens. These gardens were often enclosed within walls or hedges and were filled with beautiful trees, flowers, and fountains. Here the monks or nuns grew flowers to decorate the church. They could also sit in the garden to pray and to think about the wonder of God’s creation.
Planting Your Garden
Think about the kind of garden you might like to grow. Imagine how it might look, smell, and feel. What kinds of plants would you grow? Which plants could you use for food? Would you use plants for medicine? Which would remind you of the beauty of God’s creation? Write about your garden on a sheet of paper.
Prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with God Our Father, with his Son Jesus Christ, and with the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we pray aloud, saying the words of a specific prayer. Other times we listen as someone else says a prayer aloud. We can also pray silently and alone. Focusing our attention on one object can help us keep our attention on God.
In your imagination, picture something that you think is especially beautiful. Examine it carefully with your mind’s eye. What do you love about it?
Thank God for this beautiful part of creation and for all of his creation. Let your heart be aware of how much God loves you. Let your heart pray the Glory Be to the Father.
Living My Faith
God created each of us with a soul and with free will. His love is seen in the world he created for us. We have the responsibility to care for the things God created.
Words I Learned
free will psalm soul
Ways of Being Like Jesus
Jesus loved and blessed his Father. You are like Jesus when you thank God for creating the world.
With My Family
Talk with your family about how you can care for God’s world. You can start recycling paper, plastic, and glass. You can think of a way to conserve water. Once your family has a plan, encourage everyone to participate.
Thank you, God, for the wonderful world you created. Help me know how to take care of it as you take care of me.
Write a sentence about one way that you could help care for the world.
RAISING FAITH-FILLED KIDS: A Parent Page
Focus on Faith
Living in Truth
Our children are at an age when they love to learn facts. We want them to succeed in school, so we support their reading and studies. Recall the smartest person in your own class at school, the one who could memorize and summon facts and who got all the awards for academic excellence. Did this person treat others with respect? Was this person honest in relationships? These are the questions the Bible asks when it talks about what it means to live in truth. Growth in Christian life is more than knowing how to demonstrate knowledge. It means becoming someone who can be depended on in times of crisis, who can be trusted to treat others honestly. These are the qualities that God calls us to nurture in our children this and every year.
Dinnertime Conversation Starter
Share together something that each family member learned today.
Hints for at Home
With God we are responsible for taking care of the earth. Talk with your child about ways that you can help conserve precious resources such as air and water. Perhaps you could agree to walk instead of driving to certain places. When you walk, you might carry a trash bag and pick up litter. Talk with your child about the fact that if everyone helped, we could keep God’s world clean and beautiful.
Our Catholic Heritage
The Book of Psalms is the Bible’s hymn book. It contains 150 poetic compositions, written for use in worship in the Temple in Jerusalem. The Psalms became extremely important after the destruction of the Temple in 587 B.C. They vary widely in content and in tone. Many psalms, such as Psalm 130, ask for God’s help. Others, such as Psalm 104, are songs of thanks to God for his creation, his love, and his help. A few psalms, such as Psalm 1, tell us how to live as God wants us to. Other psalms review the history of God’s relationship with his people, express sorrow for sin, or tell how wonderful it is to praise God.
Focus on Prayer
Your child learned about silent reflective prayer. Focusing our attention on one object can help us focus on God. This can be a real object such as a picture or candle, or it can be an object that one imagines. If possible, set up a prayer corner in a quiet place in your home. Put a picture or statue on a table or shelf. Add a candle and a small vase for a flower. Encourage your child to use this special area as a place to spend some quiet time to talk with God.
Model the importance of prayer by regularly making time in your busy life for a few minutes of reflection in this special place.