Read an Excerpt
My Big Book of Catholic BIBLE STORIES
By Heidi Hess Saxton
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2009 Thomas Nelson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOld Testament Stories with Deuterocanonical Stories
God Creates Light and Space Genesis 1:1-8
God is eternal-that is, God has no beginning or end. And yet, the world and everything in it, even time itself, began when God spoke it into being. Let's read about God's amazing creative power in the very first book of the Bible, Genesis.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6 And God said, "let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." 7 So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8 God called the dome sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
The heavens tell the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands (from Psalm 19:1).
Thank you, God, for the beauty of your world. Help us to take good care of the beautiful things you have made and to treat creation with respect. In the name of the Father, and the son, and the Holy spirit, Amen!
Read It! the creation of the world, which marks the beginning of "salvation history," is read every year at the Easter Vigil! see also CCC #279-89 (religious instruction about the Creation is very important).
Do It! this week do something specific as a family to show respect for God's creation-take a load of recyclables to the recycling center or plant a tree.
Special Words: A mighty wind is sometimes translated "a wind of God" or "Spirit of God."
Did You Know? There are volcanoes on Mars. The tallest, the Olympus Mons, stands eighteen miles high.
God Creates Sea and Sky Genesis 1:9-19
Have you ever stood on the seashore and imagined how deep the water must be? Have you ever seen a mountain touch the sky? God created the world as a home for every fish that swims, every seagull that flies, and every bug that creeps. And then God entrusted it all to us! Let's listen to how God prepared a place for every living creature!
And God said, "let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry land earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it." And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14 And God said, "let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. 16 God made the two great lights-the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night-and the stars. 17 God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Your mercy, Lord, is as deep as the deepest ocean; your love is greater than the highest mountain. Thank you for all the ways you take care of us! In the name of the Father, and the son, and the Holy spirit, Amen!
Read It! this story is also from the Easter Vigil. See also CCC #299 (God's creation has order).
Do It! together, go and watch the sun set tonight!
Special Words: Vegetation refers to all the plant life on earth. The dome of the sky (v. 14), sometimes called the "firmament," refers to the vast space above the water.
God Creates All Living Creatures Genesis 1:20-25
What's your favorite animal? Do you like puppies, giraffes, or majestic sea creatures? In today's reading, God created the birds, the fish, and all the other living creatures. Then he put them in the homes he had created just for them, until the whole world was filled with life!
And God said, "let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." 21 so God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24 And God said, "let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
Doxology by Thomas Ken
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, son and Holy Ghost!
Read It! CCC #319 (God created the world to show his glory).
Do It! Visit a zoo this weekend!
Did You Know? The ordered beauty of Creation is proof that God exists. The world did not appear by accident, but by God's design. Before creating the birds and fish and animals, he created a home best suited to their needs. Before creating us, he made sure we'd have everything we need. What a wonderful God!
God Creates People Genesis 1:26-31
After creating all those animals, God delighted in the infinite variety of the world. And yet something was still missing, someone who would take care of God's amazing creation. So God created the very first man, Adam.
Then God said, "let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." 29 God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us into the world.
Read It! CCC #307 (We are fellow workers in God's kingdom).
Do It! Send a card today to someone for whom you are especially thankful!
Special Words: One meaning of subdue is "to cultivate"; dominion refers to ownership.
Did You Know? There are more than three million varieties of animals on earth?
Adam and Eve Genesis 2:18-24
Have you ever been to a wedding? In today's story, God brought Adam and Eve together to create the first human family. Adam waited for his partner until God made her just for him!
Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." 19 So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.
21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
"This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken."
24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Let's Pray Prayer for the family A Traditional Catholic Prayer
Blessed are you, loving Father, ruler of the universe: You have given us your son, And have made us temples of your Holy Spirit. Fill our family with your light and peace. Have mercy on all who suffer, And bring us to everlasting joy with you, Father, We bless your name forever and ever. Amen.
Read It! the gospel reading (OT 27B) is Mark 10:2-16; CCC #2207 (the family is the community where we learn things like moral values).
Do It! Plan a family night-something fun for the whole family to do together!
Quote of the Day: "Perfect married life means the spiritual dedication of the parents for the benefit of their children." -St. Thomas Aquinas
That Bad Snake! Genesis 3:6, 9-15
Alone in the garden paradise, Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect happiness. God said they could eat from every tree in the garden except from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. So together they worked and played, took care of the animals, and marveled at the beauty all around them. Then the evil one, in the form of a snake, ruined it all. "Has God said ...?" the snake hissed, tempting Eve to doubt her Creator. "Surely God is afraid of your becoming as wise as he! Go on ... take a bite!"
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate....
9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 He said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." 11 He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate." 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" the woman said, "the serpent tricked me, and I ate." 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
"Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel."
"God, whose mercy and compassion never fail, look kindly upon the sufferings of all mankind: the needs of the homeless; the anxieties of prisoners; the pains of the sick and the injured; the sorrows of the bereaved; the helplessness of the aged and weak. Comfort and strengthen them for the sake of your son, our savior Jesus Christ." -St. Anselm
Read It! this week (OT 10B), the gospel is Mark 3:20-35; CCC #324 (God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from it).
Do It! look in magazines and newspapers for examples of people making good and bad choices. If the choice was a bad one, what should that person have done instead?
Did You Know? Snakes have special belly scales called "scutes" to help them move along the ground.
Cain and Abel Genesis 4:3-5, 8-12
At first, Adam and Eve had two sons: Cain, who raised crops, and Abel, who tended flocks. Like most brothers, Cain and Abel didn't always get along! In this sad story, we read of a difference between the two brothers that brought about the first murder.
In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell....
8 Cain said to his brother Abel, "let us go out to the field." And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" 10 And the Lord said, "What have you done? listen; your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth."
Let's Pray A Prayer for Vocations
Lord, let me know clearly the work that you are calling me to do in life.
And grant me every grace I need to answer your call
With courage and love and lasting dedication to your will. Amen!
Read It! CCC #2538 (the tenth commandment tells us not to envy).
Do It! talk about a time when you were envious of someone. When we envy, we forget to be thankful! What would you like to thank God for today?
Special Words: Firstlings are the first animals to be born in a flock. The fat portions refer to the choicest and best parts of the animal.
Quote of the Day: "Give us, Lord, a humble, quiet, peaceable, patient, tender, and charitable mind, and in all our thoughts, words, and deeds a taste of the Holy Spirit." -St. Thomas More
Noah Builds an Ark Genesis 6:5-8, 13, 18-22
Too much water is a bad thing. When rivers and lakes spill over, or a storm whips up the ocean, water can destroy the homes or even lives of people and animals. In today's story, we hear about Noah, a good man who listened when God told him to build a big boat before he destroyed the whole world! His neighbors laughed, but Noah kept building the ark, and because he did, his family and all the animals on the boat stayed alive.
The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, "I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created-people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord....
Excerpted from My Big Book of Catholic BIBLE STORIES by Heidi Hess Saxton Copyright © 2009 by Thomas Nelson. Excerpted by permission.
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