Table of Contents
Faith Study Objectives
Leading a Faith Study
Lesson 1 – Obedience
Obedience is important to God and a blessing for us.
Lesson 2 – Obedience and the Fear of
What Others Might Think
The Holy Spirit empowers us with courage when we are
afraid of others' opinions of our obedience to God.
Lesson 3 – Obedience and the Fear of
We can follow God, even in the midst of difficulties,
because he is trustworthy.
Lesson 4 – Obedience and Speech
The way we speak affects our relationship with God and
Lesson 5 – Obedience and Chastity
God calls us to purity of mind and body, especially in
Lesson 6 – Obedience and the Church
Peter and his successors lead and safeguard the Church
in order to provide us a sure compass in faith and morals.
Lesson 7 – Obedience and Vocation
Priesthood, religious life, marriage and single life each
offer unique paths to growth in holiness and mission.
Lesson 8 – Obedience and the Mission
We are urgently called to participate in the Church's
mission of evangelization.
Participants are invited to greater trust and abandonment
to God's will.
Living it Out Cards
Faith Study Objectives
1. CCO General Goals
Proclaim / Equip / Commission. To bring people to Christ, build them
up as Catholic Christians, and send them out to reach others.
2. The Objectives of CCO Small Group Faith Studies
• For students to hear spiritual truths.
• For students to hear the truth about Jesus and be introduced to him.
• For students to make Christian friends and be drawn into a Christian
• To provide a means to get students involved with activities in CCO,
their parish, their diocese and the universal Church.
• For students to grow in their understanding and love of the Catholic
Church, especially the sacraments.
• For students to encounter the love, forgiveness and salvation offered
in Christ Jesus, and to have a deep and lasting “metanoia”
(conversion of heart and life).
• For students to learn transferable concepts which enable them to
transmit the truths they learn to others.
• To equip students for future leadership.
3. Goals of Each Thematic Study
CCO has formulated five small group thematic faith studies: Discovery,
Source, Growth, Obedience and Commission. These are faith studies,
not Bible studies in a pure sense (i.e. the study of long passages of
Scripture in their context). CCO studies look at particular Scripture
passages and other Church documents as they relate to certain topics
or themes (e.g. The studies do not attempt to teach comprehensive
theology. They are simply meant to (re)introduce students to the
basics of the Catholic faith, challenging them to greater holiness by
means of group discussion.
Leaders should understand the purpose of the studies: what they
teach, how they complement each other, and the objectives of each
lesson. Small group sessions should be purposeful (for example, we
want to avoid spending hours looking up verses that may quickly be
forgotten). Adhering to the objectives of each lesson will help us to
successfully pass on their content.
Discovery – Evangelization. The first four lessons of this study
introduce the basic concepts of Christian faith. In the fifth lesson,
participants are invited to make a commitment to Christ. The sixth
lesson aims to help them better grasp that commitment.
Source – Holy Spirit. This study looks at the Holy Spirit's vital role in
our lives, which is to empower and direct us to be holy, and teach us to
overcome our sinfulness.
Growth – Daily Christian Growth. This study explores the living out of
a commitment to Christ. It explains the essential components of the
Christian life (prayer, Scripture, sacraments, fellowship, service and
Obedience – Lordship. The focus of this study is obedience to the
Lord in various aspects of life (speech habits, sexuality, hardships,
Church teachings, etc).
Commission – Missionary Identity. This study explores the Church’s
deepest identity, which is her missionary character. Truths and
principles about evangelization and discipleship that CCO has learned
over the years are examined.
4. Obedience Goals
The eight lessons and their goals are listed in the table of contents.
Obedience follows a slightly different format than the other CCO
studies. The first three studies present a progression of topics building
upon one another. In Obedience, the lessons stand independently, yet
share a common theme. Each lesson invites us to be docile to God's
plan for our lives.
Obedience is challenging and practical. Each lesson reveals new
areas of behaviour, beliefs or attitudes to surrender to God. These
areas include fears, speech habits, obedience to Church teachings
and chastity. As challenging as this sounds, many participants say
Obedience is one of their favourite studies.
As the leader, you are responsible for setting the tone of the study.
Your openness and authentic witness of obedience to God will
encourage your group members to invite God more fully into their
lives. You are certainly not expected to be perfect, but your group will
likely look to you as an example of someone who has experienced the
freedom of following God's plan. Share this experience with them and
invite them to trust God’s plan for their own lives.
Each lesson should be presented clearly and lovingly. Sensitivity is
required, as the topics covered in this study touch very personal
dimensions of the participants' lives. We do not want participants to
feel overwhelmed with their past failures or unable to embrace
obedience. Instead, we hope they will be moved to recognition and
acceptance of truth. Remember, the Holy Spirit convinces us and "will
guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13). Interceding for your
participants is therefore of utmost importance.
At the end of every lesson, we present participants with a “prayer
challenge”. Ideally, participants would already have a habit of daily
prayer, into which they can incorporate these resolutions. If they have
not yet established this habit, the prayer challenges can help them
start. Faithfulness to daily prayer is not always easy — these
resolutions are intended to encourage participants to build a solid habit
The last lesson introduces vocations. In light of the crisis of vocations
to consecrated life and the priesthood in the western world, we wish to
invite Catholic young people to consider these special callings as they
discern their future. This lesson is by no means a comprehensive
study of vocations. It is only an introduction, and is intended to
encourage participants to begin or continue their discernment. It is an
invitation to openness, to be willing to consider God’s call.
The Obedience follow-up comes after the last lesson so that the whole
content of the study can be discussed. The goal of the follow-up is to
encourage participants to live a Christ-centred relationship (as taught
in the relationships diagram in Discovery). During Obedience, the Holy
Spirit has likely called them to further surrender specific areas of their
lives to God’s will. We should encourage them to heed this call and to
trust in God’s provident care.
Participants may want to talk to you one-on-one before the scheduled
follow-up. If you think it appropriate, you could also recommend they
speak to a priest or spiritual director for guidance.
The follow-up is not mandatory. Some participants may want to meet
with you, while others may not feel comfortable doing so. Invite all
participants to solidify the spiritual growth they have achieved during
the study by seeking guidance from someone they trust. If they are
uncomfortable discussing their spiritual growth with you, suggest that
they speak to a priest, spiritual director or other mature friend in faith.
Leading a Faith Study
A. Qualities of a Faith Study Leader
Faith study leaders should be: F A C T (Faithful, Available,
Contagious and Teachable). They agree to chaste conduct, daily
prayer, committed attendance at their parish and dedication to
whatever their primary vocation is. (For example, students should be
diligent in their academics). They must be:
• To the Lord
• To personal holiness (prayer, Mass, discipleship, etc.)
• To Church teachings
• To a parish – faithfully attending Mass every Sunday
• To the call of evangelization
• Diligently prepare each lesson
• Spend time with group members
• Welcoming, affirming
• Authentic witness of a vibrant relationship with God
• Strive to identify with those to whom they minister
• Enjoy and delight in each group member
• In the areas of personal holiness, ministry, character, involvement
• Willing to grow in faith (prayer, reading, conferences, retreats)
• Able to accept constructive criticism
B. How to Lead a Faith Study
1. Phone Contact
• As you are dialling, say a brief prayer for each person.
• Identify yourself and how you know the person, or received their
• Confirm the time and place of the small group meeting.
• Make sure each person knows where to find the meeting room, or...
• Plan somewhere obvious to meet so that you can lead your group to
the meeting room.
• Let them know that every week they should bring a Bible to the
group, preferably with an Old Testament. If anyone doesn't have a
Bible, ask a CCO staff member if there are extra Bibles available for
a) Personal Prayer
• Leaders should have a consistent personal prayer life (with daily
• Leaders should be reading Scripture on a regular or daily basis.
• Leaders should faithfully attend Mass every Sunday.
• Intercede specifically for each participant.
• Pray for one student each day.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to open the hearts and minds of the participants.
• Pray the rosary, offering a decade or a Hail Mary for each member.
• Review the faith study as a whole and the lesson to be led.
• Have The Catechism of the Catholic Church handy for reference, as
per preparation notes. The index in the back of the CCC is the best
way to search for information.
• Call a CCO staff member or student leader for guidance if
• Note which part(s) of the study are most important and which could
be covered more quickly.
• The answers provided are intended as a guide and sometimes
contain more information than is required. Use as needed.
• These studies are tools that you use, not just studies that you lead.
Make the content your own. Share your relationship with God and
your personal faith journey.
3. Logistics for Your First Meeting
• Meet your group members but do not wait too long — 10 minutes
after the starting time, go to the study location.
• Have everyone introduce themselves, then hand out the studies and
go over logistics.
• You will need to collect money from each small group member to
cover study guide costs. Please forward this money to CCO student
executive members (as applies).
• Give participants your phone number.
• Explain that you are committed to this study time and ask the group
to make the same commitment for the semester. Ask them to let you
know if they cannot make it to a meeting.
4. Components of a Faith Study
a) Casual sharing
• Start the small group meeting in an atmosphere of fun and sharing.
• Discuss how the group implemented the study challenges that week.
• Make announcements at the beginning of each lesson. If you only
make announcements at the end of the lesson, many will be rushing
off to class and will not take proper note of the upcoming events.
• Open the faith study with prayer.
d) Recap last week’s study
e) Overview of this week’s study
• This helps participants focus on the topic.
f) Go through the study material
• Summarize each section as you go, so participants understand the
direction of the lesson. This avoids a verse-by-verse checklist
g) Closing comments
• Summarize clearly and concisely the points the group has
• Go over the challenge/homework.
h) Closing prayer
• Add any special intentions that have come up during the study.
• Time permitting, you could close with 10 minutes of small group
prayer. Have each person share a need and pray for the person next
5. Helpful Tips
a) Set the tone
• Be on time for the meeting (arrive early when possible). This sets a
good example and shows your commitment to the group.
• Greet each member by name. Vary comments, but let each know
they are welcome. The sooner you remember their names, the
sooner they will feel comfortable with the group.
b) Facilitate discussion
• A circle without barriers is best for group discussion. If anyone
comes in late, make sure he/she is brought into the circle.
• Your group may be quiet because they may be concerned that the
answers are really "deep" ones. They might not want to give the
"obvious" answer for fear that it is too simple to be true. For the most
part, the answers are very straightforward. Remind the group of this.
• Give people time to think after you have asked a question or invited
sharing (wait 2-5 seconds before speaking again). Relax. Don't fear
• Avoid answering your own questions. Re-word a question if it is
• Sometimes you may want to expand on someone's answer by
asking, "What else do you see?" or "What other ways are there?" or
"Does anyone else have anything to add?"
• Do not struggle to get participants to say exactly what you think is
the right answer. Better to let a few questionable responses go by
than to discourage people from talking. However, if it is a matter of
basic truth or the answer is wide of your aim, say something like,
"That's an interesting point of view. Does anyone else have a
thought about this?" To avoid confusion sum up briefly, "I appreciate
your sharing. I guess my thoughts are... because..."
• Acknowledge each person's answer. Let him/her know (verbally and
non-verbally) that you are listening and that you appreciate the
contribution. If necessary, ask questions like "could you explain
more?" Be natural in your response. If someone brings up
something new to you, say so ("I hadn't seen that before. Thanks for
pointing that out.").
• If someone talks too much, try saying, "Let's hear from someone
who hasn't had a chance to comment yet."
• If someone is barely talking in the study, ask him/her to read aloud
certain sections of the faith study or Scriptures so that he/she can
participate verbally in the group.
• Direct a question at an individual to draw out timid participants. It is a
good idea to direct easy questions their way to build their confidence
in speaking out.
• You can also use this technique (of asking specific people to answer
questions) to allow other voices to join in when there are individuals
monopolizing the discussion.
• Keep the sharing current and personal. Encourage people to share
things God has done in their lives that week or during the meeting.
• Please be sensitive and welcoming if you have non-Catholics in the
group. It would be considerate to prepare them before the study
begins, in case they do not want to be in a Catholic program. Assure
them that they are most welcome in the group, and that it is in fact
an honour to have them join. Be sure they understand that the
content will be Catholic, with quotes from Scripture, popes, saints,
and The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Although the material
has been written to communicate the Catholic Church's teaching,
non-Catholics will probably be pleasantly surprised at how
understandable it is. Assure them that you will be sensitive to their
situation in the small group discussions. Let them know they can
approach you if they have questions.
c) Pace the study within the time limit
• Know the objective of each lesson and communicate it clearly to
ensure that people stay on track and do not go off topic. Do not get
bogged down in unimportant details; keep the discussion moving.
• Be mindful of how much time is left and of how quickly you are
progressing through the material.
d) Leader's role
• The onus is not on the leader to convert the hearts of the students
— that job is for the Holy Spirit. The leader’s role is to present the
material in an enthusiastic way and to facilitate discussion. Most of
the speaking should come from the students.
• The leader intercedes quietly in and beyond the study, staying
closely connected to the Holy Spirit. The leader recognizes that:
No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:3b
Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s
Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to
understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14
We are not to be concerned with being effective. We are to be
faithful, faithful simply to what the Lord has called us to be.
What he may want to accomplish through us is his business
and known only to him.
Father Bob Bedard, CC
6. During the Semester
• Plan a social or meal as a celebration/reunion of your study group.
• Remember: you are encouraged to book a one-on-one
appointment with each member of your study after the last lesson.
• Intercede for your group, especially as the Obedience follow-up
nears. The spiritual battle in their lives intensifies as you approach
the opportunity for deeper commitment to God.
Small Group Information:
Lesson 1 Preparation Notes
"Obedience" In Brief:
Obedience is important to God and a blessing for us.
• This lesson introduces obedience as a virtue that is important to God
and a source of blessing for us.
• We will examine our attitudes towards obedience, as well as the
challenges and blessings it presents.
• We will also look at the relationship between law and obedience,
and how both are linked to freedom.
• John 15 shows us that obedience to God is the proof of our love for
• We are called to follow Jesus' example of love by laying down our
lives. Whether it is done in great ways or small ways, giving of
ourselves is both challenging and rewarding.
• Societies function best when they are ordered by just laws. Similarly,
we are most able to thrive when we obey God’s laws. God gives us
his laws so that we might know how to be truly free.
• The narrative of Abraham and Isaac is the climax of this lesson. It
also provides a foundation for the rest of the study and for the followup meeting.
• Abraham’s example challenges us to trust in God's sovereignty,
authority, power and goodness. It calls us to surrender ourselves to
God and to give him first place in our lives.
• In a loving way, you can challenge your group to reflect on what God
may be asking them to “place on the altar” and surrender to his will.
Be very sensitive about how you challenge participants — you do
not want to alienate them by demanding too much right from the
start. Be assured that time is on your side. The Holy Spirit will work
in their hearts throughout the semester, inspiring them to greater
• Ask your group to read Jonah chapters 1, 2, and 3 before next
week’s lesson (it is too long a reading to do together during the
• CCC 2570 - 2573 on Abraham
Obedience is essential to Christian life. As we grow in faith, our
desire to obey God’s will should naturally increase. The more
we experience God’s love for us, the more willing we should be
to follow his ways.
1. Why does the word “obedience” sometimes rub us the
Our pride can make us feel that obedience is humbling or
demeaning. We want control. We feel that obeying someone
else means giving up our freedom. In certain situations, we
may struggle with obedience because we do not like the
leader or the rules (or we don’t understand the purpose of the
rules). We may not like some of the “Christian/Catholic rules”
either. Often, however, if we understood the wisdom behind
the rules, and the true character of the leader (God), we
would be more inclined to obey.
The Freedom of Obedience
2. Read James 1:25. How can freedom, obedience and law
But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but
doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.
Leader: You can also ask, “Why is true freedom only
found within boundaries?" Or "Why would a world
without laws be chaotic and dangerous, making freedom
A society without laws would hinder freedom because our
personal rights would not be protected. We want freedom to
pursue that which is good. However, freedom to pursue evil
infringes on another person’s right to pursue goodness.
The Call of Obedience
3. Read John 15:9-17. What are the key points in this
We will experience God's love, and our joy will be made
complete, if we follow his commandments. If we keep the
commandment of love, we will also be fulfilling many other
We are to love others as Jesus has loved us.
Jesus asks us to remain in his love. To do this, we must
follow his commandment to love others the same way he
loved us. He loved by laying his life down for our salvation.
We can show the greatest love by laying down our lives for
the salvation of others, as he did.
4. What are some ways we can love God and lay down our
lives as Christ did?
Leaders: Remind participants that Jesus did not lay
down his life as a symbolic gesture. He sacrificed
himself to save us from sin, death and eternal separation
from God. We can offer our sacrifices as a prayer, in
participation with Christ, for the salvation of others.
Examples of laying down our lives:
• loving those who are hard to love
• random acts of kindness
• extending love to others
• showing care and gentleness by serving the poor
• giving our lives courageously to serve the poorest of the
• being willing to risk our reputation to share the Gospel
• pursuing a vocation to religious life
• being a missionary
• being active in our parish outreach
• praying, interceding, fasting, offering Mass for certain
The Blessings of Obedience
As we become more obedient to God and live according to his
plan, he showers us with blessings. We read in Deuteronomy
5:29 that God desires to bless our obedience:
If only they had such a mind as this, to fear me and to
keep all my commandments always, so that it might go
well with them and with their children for ever!
It makes sense. Would a good parent punish his child who
loves and obeys the family rules and expectations? No! He will
not respond to good behaviour by locking the child in his room,
where he will be miserable! Though we know a good parent
would never do this, we sometimes think God, our loving
Father, will punish us if we surrender our lives to him.
Leaders: You may want to pause here and ask your
group if they can relate to this paragraph.
In fact, it is just the opposite: when we obey God, we
experience tremendous peace and joy.
5. Read Matthew 7:24-27. How do the benefits of
obedience support us in difficult times?
This passage is about the houses built on sand and on solid
rock and what happened to each when strong winds blew.
We are wise if we obey.
God’s peace and joy can sustain us through times when it is
challenging to remain faithful and obedient.
Talk is Cheap!
Being a Christian is challenging. It is tempting at times to give
only the bare minimum — to spare ourselves the effort of loving
and obeying God in all we do. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells
us that the greatest commandments are to “love the Lord your
God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your
mind...[and to] love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew
22:37, 39b). It is easy enough to recite these words, but God
wants more than just words. He wants us to embrace his
commandments and allow them to transform the way we live.
Leaders: Break your group into pairs. Have one person
look up 1 Samuel, the other 1 Corinthians; then have
them find the common message.
6. Compare 1 Samuel 15:22 and 1 Corinthians 13:1-7. What
is the common message in these passages?
And Samuel said,
‘Has the LORD as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices,
as in obedience to the voice of the LORD?
Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice,
to heed than the fat of rams.
..if you have not love it is nothing…. (the message of 1 Corinthians 13)
• God desires obedience and love more than sacrifices.
• If you do all the right things but do not love, you gain
• Jesus calls us to love.
7. Read James 1:22-27. How does the theme “talk is
cheap” stand out to you in this passage?
If the "religious" things we say are not backed up by our
actions, our faith is in vain.
We must act on our faith — our faith is made evident by our
8. Summarize what we have discussed so far about
To love God is to obey him. God wants us to love him and to
love others. This is what is most pleasing to him.
The Obedience of Abraham
Leaders: Have one person read Genesis 22:1-18 aloud,
while the others close their eyes and try to enter the
scene with their imagination. This is Ignatian style of
Ignatian prayer comes to us from St. Ignatius of Loyola,
the founder of the Jesuits. As a passage of Scripture is
read aloud, we use our imaginations to place ourselves
in the scene, allowing it to unfold in our mind. In
meditating on Scripture in this way, we can come to
know God more personally. An important part of Ignatian
prayer is reflecting on the events and emotions evoked
during the time of prayer. This reflection on our prayer
experience helps us to further discern how God has been
speaking to us
9. Read Genesis 22:1-18. How would Abraham be feeling
in verses 1-10?
Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Isaac was
the long awaited promised child who would bring a nation of
descendants to Abraham. God, who had promised Isaac to
Abraham, now wants to take him away. Abraham must have
been confused by God’s request and grieved for the son he
loved. Still, he had the courage to obey God’s command.
10. Why do you think Abraham was prepared to give his
only son to God?
Abraham trusted in the Lord completely. He knew that God’s
will and wisdom was greater than his own. He knew he ought
to fear and respect God.
Note: This story prefigures Jesus on the cross. It
anticipates the love of the Father and the obedience of
Jesus in sacrificing himself for us.
11. How did God honour Abraham’s obedience and love
God blessed Abraham by sparing his son and promising him
a multitude of descendants.
12. What lessons from this passage can we apply to our
We all have our “Isaacs”. Would we be willing to sacrifice
these things to God? Is God truly the Lord of our lives?
God wishes to bless us, not to destroy our lives. He who
made a great sacrifice for our sake calls us to make certain
sacrifices so that we can receive more abundant blessings.
Leaders: In a loving way, you could challenge your group
to reflect on what God may be asking them to “place on
the altar” and surrender to his will.
When we consider God’s unconditional and merciful love for us,
we should be moved to respond. The proof of our love for God
is our obedience to him. We are not sentenced to following an
uncaring leader. God loves us deeply and wants to bless us. He
gives us his commandments to show us the way to joy and
Living It Out
Challenge: Think of an area in your life in which you hesitate to
obey God. Try to obey him in this area.
Prayer Challenge of the Week: Pray for 15 minutes every day,
talking to God as a friend.
Memorize John 14:15: “If you love me, you will keep my
To prepare for next week’s lesson, read Jonah, chapters 1, 2,
Lesson 2 Preparation Notes
"Obedience and Fear of What Others Might Think" In Brief:
The Holy Spirit empowers us with courage when we are afraid of
others' opinions of our obedience to God.
• It is a challenge to follow God when you know you will be ridiculed,
judged or shunned by others. How can we be obedient with (the
potential of) such persecution?
• Character studies of Jonah and Peter show very human responses
of fear about what others will think.
• Have someone summarize the story of Jonah (chapters 1-3 should
have been read in preparation for this lesson).
• Jonah is an example of someone who lacked "the fear of the Lord"
and was instead intimidated by others' opinions. We sometimes find
ourselves sharing this attitude. Should we not worry more about
offending God? Should we not trust that God's ways and plans are
better than our own?
• Peter has a similar, and perhaps even more poignant, story. He
knew the Lord, yet he betrayed him. Peter was afraid of what others
would do to him because of his relationship with Jesus.
• The study of Peter is the crux of the lesson: it clearly demonstrates
the difference that the Holy Spirit makes. The coming of the Holy
Spirit had a dramatic effect on Peter’s courage.
• Be prepared to share personal stories related to this topic (if you
don’t have any of your own, share stories you have heard from
• The lesson ends with an exercise using John 12:42-43. Participants
are asked to put their own names into this verse and indentify
people or groups of people that intimidate them. We then read
Romans 8:31-35, which assures us that God is always with us. This
knowledge should encourage us to bravely bear witness to the
Obedience and the Fear of
What Others Might Think
1. Share any reflections you have had about last week's
God-Pleaser or People-Pleaser?
2. Do you tend to be a people-pleaser? If so, do you see
this as a positive or negative trait? Could it be positive in
some cases and negative in others? When and why?
Leaders: Allow enough time for fruitful sharing. You
could reword the question by asking, “In what situations
do you tend to want to please people? Why do you think
Sometimes pleasing others and serving their needs is
virtuous. Other times, trying to please others may involve
manipulation, guilt, or not being true to yourself.
3. Does people-pleasing ever conflict with your desire to
please God? Share examples.
Sometimes people are more concerned about offending
someone they can see than they are about offending God. It
is as if God is not real or is so far away that he does not
matter. He is much easier to ignore.
We may also feel at times that practicing certain aspects of
our faith is inconvenient or embarrassing (i.e. going to Mass
every Sunday, saying grace before meals in public places,
etc.). Ignoring these practices for the sake of fitting in with
others may indicate that we place the opinion of others above
4. Read Luke 12:4-9. Why should we be more concerned
about pleasing God than about what other people think?
‘I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn
you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are
not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of
your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
‘And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the
angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.
• God is the judge.
• God is the only true and constant help we will ever have.
• Fear God, not people. God cares about every one of us —
even to the smallest detail.
Old Testament Character Study –
Leaders: Your group members should have read these
chapters before the lesson. Do not re-read them. Instead,
have someone summarize the story of Jonah.
5. Review Jonah chapters 1, 2 and 3. What was at the root
of Jonah’s disobedience?
• Intimidation – it was a huge task.
(3:3) Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across.
• Trusting in himself, not God.
• Fear of the people of Nineveh. The Ninevites were longtime enemies of the Israelites. Jonah may have feared they
would torture or kill him for preaching to them.
• Prejudice and hatred. Perhaps he did not desire to see
them converted (see Chapter 4).
6. What was the result of Jonah’s eventual obedience?
Leaders: Challenge your group to back up their answers
by referring to specific verses in this passage.
3:6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with
sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
3:10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the
calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
The king repented and turned to God, as did the citizens of
Nineveh. As a result, God showed mercy to them.
7. Despite the overwhelming circumstances, why should
Jonah not have been afraid?
• God would have been there with him, if he had only trusted.
• God would have protected him.
• God knew the plan he had in mind for the Ninevites.
New Testament Character Study –
Leaders: For variety, you could have participants
discuss these questions in pairs. Gather everyone back
together once they have gone through all the questions;
ask them to summarize what they learned about Peter’s
fears and how he overcame them.
This section shows that the coming of the Holy Spirit at
Pentecost is the only explanation for the dramatic
change in Peter. Just over fifty days earlier he had
denied Jesus and hid in fear; but after the Pentecost
experience he was empowered to boldly proclaim his
faith to crowds. This gives us hope for what the Holy
Spirit can do in us.
8. Read Matthew 26:69-75. How would you describe
Peter’s attitude in this passage?
He is afraid.
9. Who were the people Peter feared, and why?
Peter feared a girl, a maid, and a bystander.
These people alone would not have posed a threat. He was
likely afraid of whom they might tell of his association with
Jesus and what might happen to him as a result.
10. Why do you think he denied Jesus, his close friend of
three years and the man he had identified as the Christ?
• Fear of public opinion – his reputation and his life would be
11. Skim Acts 2:1-41. What famous event occurs at the
beginning of the chapter?
• Pentecost — the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the
apostles and the birth of the Church.
12. How does this event affect Peter? What changes do
you see in him?
The Holy Spirit transforms him. He is empowered to speak
about Christ. He has strength, courage, boldness. The verses
which best demonstrate the change in Peter are Acts 2: 1415, 37.
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who
live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as
you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. Now when they heard this, they were cut to
the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?
13. What was the result of his inspired speech?
Three thousand people repented and were converted in one
V. 41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons
14. How does this parallel Jonah chapter 3?
• Both men were fearful at first. They both ran away.
• With the help of grace, they preached God's message with
• Many lives were changed.
15. To what can we attribute Peter’s transformation?
Leaders: It is important for participants to grasp the
The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is the only
explanation for the dramatic change in Peter. Just over fifty
days earlier he had denied Jesus and hid in fear; now he
boldly proclaimed his faith to crowds.
We too are filled with that same Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit
has not changed! We too can be transformed and
empowered every day to be witnesses of Jesus Christ.
16. What are some examples of situations in which you
become concerned or anxious about what other people
think of you?
17. Read John 12:42-43. What was the stumbling block for
Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it,
for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved human glory more than the glory that
comes from God.
Their stumbling block is fear of what the Pharisees would
think of them, and perhaps do to them.
In some Bibles, "human glory" is translated as "human
18. Adapt this verse to your own life. Whose opinion do
you fear regarding your relationship with God? (This may
be individuals or groups of people). Fill in the blanks:
Nevertheless __________________________ believed in him,
But because of ____________________________________,
(Person or Group)
_____________________________ did not confess it, for fear
that he/she would be put out of _________________________;
(Situation or Group)
for ____________________________ loved human glory more
than the glory that comes from God.
19. Read Romans 8:31-35a. How can you take courage in
this area of your life?
If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he
not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who
indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Leaders: More of this Scripture selection is in the next
lesson related to difficult circumstances. Wait until next
week to read past verse 35a. The verses above
specifically address “who” can separate us, not “what”.
• We should strive to have greater faith, reminding ourselves
that if God is for us, nothing can stand against us.
• We can also repent of cowardice, receive grace, and obtain
help through the sacrament of Reconciliation.
• We can surrender this area to God.
• We can ask the Holy Spirit for the grace and power to
overcome our weakness.
• We can receive grace through receiving the Eucharist.
• We can ask others to support and pray for us.
Sometimes we push aside our Christian convictions because
we are afraid of what others will think of us. Our security and
identity must be grounded in God’s deep, unconditional love for
us, not in human approval. As we allow the Holy Spirit to
transform us, our desire to please God above all things
increases, and we are given the courage to act upon it.
Living It Out
Challenge: Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you as you face
difficult situations or individuals.
Prayer Challenge of the Week: Pray and talk to God throughout
Memorize Romans 8:31: If God is for us, who is against us?
Lesson 3 Preparation Notes
"Obedience and Fear of Circumstances" In Brief:
We can follow God, even in the midst of difficulties, because he is
• Many of life’s challenges have the potential to shake our confidence
in God. How are we supposed to obey, trust and follow him when
everything is falling apart? In difficult times, we may feel we cannot
rely on God and must take matters into our own hands.
• Confidence in God is the theme of this lesson. We look to Peter
stepping out of the boat as an example of confidence. We have all
struggled to trust and step out in faith; the story of Peter walking on
water reminds us that Jesus is with us and will not let us sink.
Leaders, be prepared to share personal experiences related to this
• The heading “free us from all anxiety” comes from the 1973 English
translation of the Roman Missal, specifically from a prayer which the
priest prays at Mass after the Our Father. The full prayer is as
follows: “Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our
day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all
anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour,
Jesus Christ.” The new 2011 English translation of the Roman
missal says "Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously
grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be
always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the
blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ."
• This week's goal is to strengthen our conviction in the truth — to
remember God’s promises in Scripture and to make them the
foundation of our thoughts and actions. This week’s lesson equips
us to choose trust over anxiety and to rely on God instead of on
• This lesson also reminds us of our call to persevere in faith,
regardless of the circumstances. As the saying goes "I believe in the
sun even when it is not shining" (although it should be, "I believe the
sun is shining, even if the skies are grey").
• As always, the Holy Spirit plays an important role in this lesson!
• I Believe in Love, Fr. Jean C. J. d'Elbée
Obedience and the Fear of
1. Share any reflections you have had about last week's
2. Spend a few moments reflecting on times when you
found it hard to trust God. How did you respond to these
difficult situations? How did God help you?
3. Consider some current circumstances in your life that
cause you to doubt God’s providence or make it difficult
for you to obey him. Share.
Taking the Plunge!
4. Read Matthew 14:22-33. Why did Peter start to sink?
He took his eyes off of Jesus and instead focused on the
wind and the waves and became afraid.
5. How is “stepping out of the boat” an analogy of our
We need to step out in faith, trusting that God will be there for
us. When we take our eyes off Jesus and dwell on difficult
circumstances, we can doubt God’s power and begin to sink.
Promises of Protection
6. We need not fear life’s difficulties. List the promises in
But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
• You are mine.
• Your troubles will not overwhelm you.
Romans 8:28 and 35b-39
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his
purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Leaders: This is a powerful passage. Spend time looking
at all the promises listed here and how they can
Philippians 4:13 and 19
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according
to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
• I can do all things with God’s help.
• He will meet all my needs.
Joshua 1:5, 8-9
No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I
will not fail you or forsake you.
This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you
may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous,
and then you shall be successful. I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or
dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
God gives us his presence and protection in all
7. Which passage encourages you the most as you
consider your present challenges? Why?
Leaders: You could point out that none of these
passages should be interpreted in a narrow, self-centred
way implying that God will always give us what we want.
God knows what we need, and he also knows that our
deepest need is for him. He will never abandon us.
Free Us from All Anxiety
8. We sometimes become anxious about the concerns of
day-to-day living and the uncertainty of the future. Read
Luke 12:13-34. What does Jesus say to address these
We should not focus on this materialistic world, but on doing
the things which will bring heavenly reward. He calls us to be
obedient to God.
Leaders: Ask, “Can you relate to the fear of
circumstances presented in this passage? How?”
9. Why should we not worry?
If we focus on Jesus, he will look after us (“all these things
will be added unto you”). God will provide for our physical
needs, if we are seeking his kingdom.
10. Read 1 Timothy 6:7-19. What is Paul’s warning? Why?
He warns of temptation from this world and its desires,
especially from materialism. Although not explicitly said in the
verses, this can lead us to selfishness and greed, and draw
us away from God.
Leaders: Ask, “Do you see these attitudes in our
11. How does the love of money lead to various kinds of
evil (in this passage and in your experience)?
Money in itself is not evil. We are to be good stewards of our
money by purchasing prudently, sharing with the less
fortunate and giving a portion of our riches back to God.
Often, however, the more money you have, the more you
spend. It is challenging not to give in to greed, selfishness
and excess when you have more money than you need.
12. What is the “fear of difficult circumstances” in this
Fear of being poor,
Fear of suffering financially,
Fear of living without the pleasures money can buy
Fear of living without the security of money
13. What does Paul exhort us to do?
• In perseverance, keep living a holy life of faith in order to
please God (v. 11-14)
• Call others on to holiness (v. 17)
• Keep our eyes on the heavenly realities, not on temporal
uncertainties. (v. 17, 19)
14. Read Revelation 21:4. What hope does this passage
offer us when we are facing difficult circumstances?
"…he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away."
We have hope of a better place (heaven), where there will be
no pain, no tears and no sorrows.
Life’s circumstances can make it difficult for us to be obedient
to God. They may distract and tempt us, or cause us to fear
and doubt God's ability to protect us. We should remember,
however, that Scripture is full of God’s promises of protection.
Our loving Father “will not fail us nor forsake us” (Joshua 1:5).
We can continue to obey and live uprightly because we trust in
a God who protects and loves us through both our joys and our
Living It Out
Challenge: Choose one or more Scripture verses that address
your present situation. Write them down on a card and carry
them with you as encouragement throughout the week.
If you know someone who is going through a difficult situation
or who is struggling in his/her faith, offer him/her
encouragement and support.
Prayer Challenge of the Week: Remember the intercessory
power of the saints. Invoke the intercession of specific saints,
and remember Mary’s intercession through the Rosary.
Memorize Romans 8:28: We know that all things work together
for good for those who love God, who are called according to
Lesson 4 Preparation Notes
"Obedience and Speech" In Brief:
The way we speak affects our relationship with God and others.
• Reflecting on speech habits is important for building integrity and
maintaining trusting relationships.
• Scripture has much to say about the positive and negative
consequences of speech.
• The New Testament readings in this lesson emphasize the power of
the tongue and how hard it is to control.
• The readings from the Gospel point out that speech is an indicator of
what is going on inside us, and that we will be held accountable to
God for how we speak.
• The Old Testament readings outline various ways our speech can
offend God and others.
• The section on speech in the Old Testament is extensive. Take time
to carefully read the passages from Sirach and prepare your own
reflections before leading the lesson.
• Some participants may not have Catholic-edition Bibles, and thus
are not able to find the book of Sirach. Have them follow along with
• Top discussion items will likely be gossip, negative-humour and
• The lesson ends on a positive note, with a discussion of ways to call
one another to better speech habits, and to edify and affirm others
by our speech.
• CCC 2477 (this article complements the readings from Sirach)
Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and
word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:
- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without
sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses
another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the
reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments
Obedience and Speech
1. Share any reflections you have had about last week's
2. What would you say are strengths and weaknesses in
your speech habits?
We will begin this lesson by looking at what Scripture teaches
us about speech. We will look at various passages, beginning
in the New Testament Epistles, then moving back to the
Gospels, and concluding with the Old Testament.
Speech in the New Testament
In the following passage, the author of the Book of James
addresses mature Christians about their speech habits and the
control the tongue has on one’s life.
3. Read James 3:1-12. What do the analogies in verses 1-8
teach us? Can you see how these analogies might apply in
fire (small but causes much destruction)
bit and bridle
If you have control of the tongue then you have control over
your entire life
4. What do the analogies of verses 9-12 teach us?
pure spring water / dirty water
salty / fresh water
fig tree does not produce olives
The contradiction of the tongue: it can praise God, then
curse someone created in God's image.
Speech in the Gospels
5. Read Matthew 12:33-37. What does negative speech
• Evil/sinfulness in our hearts.
6. What does Christ warn in this passage (v. 36)? What is
your reaction to his warning?
I tell you, on the day of judgement you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter.
We will need to render an account to God for every careless
word. That certainly should get our attention!
Speech in the Old Testament
Despite the passing of time, our fallen human nature remains
strikingly consistent. The Bible, in particular the Old Testament,
contains ageless wisdom that applies to people as much today
as when it was written.
Leaders: For this section, you could have 3 people read
the passages from Sirach aloud while the others listen
and take notes. Alternatively, you could divide
participants into pairs and give them each one question
to prepare and present to the group.
7. Read Sirach 5:12 to Sirach 6:1. Take note, as you read,
of what this passage teaches about speech. Write down
the key points.
If you know what to say, answer your neighbour;
but if not, put your hand over your mouth.
Honour and dishonour come from speaking,
and the tongue of mortals may be their downfall.
Do not be called double-tongued
and do not lay traps with your tongue;
for shame comes to the thief,
and severe condemnation to the double-tongued.
In great and small matters cause no harm,
and do not become an enemy instead of a friend;
for a bad name incurs shame and reproach;
so it is with the double-tongued sinner.
• Proper use of the tongue requires constancy of speech,
prudence and charity.
• Avoid detraction, calumny and being double-tongued.
Leaders: Ask “What do you think these terms mean:
detraction, calumny and double-tongued?” (This section
from lesson 4 preparation notes have been copied here
for your convenience).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 2477, defines
detraction and calumny. This article also defines rash
judgement, which is not specifically mentioned in Sirach:
Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every
attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He
- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true,
without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a
- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason,
discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did
not know them;
- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms
the reputation of others and gives occasion for false
judgments concerning them.
Double-talk is essentially hypocrisy. It is saying one thing and
doing another, or saying one thing to one person and
something else to another.
8. Read Sirach 23:9-15. What does this passage say about
Leaders: Ask, “Do you think there are different levels of
bad language (i.e. some words/expressions are worse
• Worst swearing of all is taking the Lord’s name in vain.
• Swearing and coarse talk (e.g. sexual innuendoes) can be
sinful or lead to sin.
• Crude or abusive language does not lead to maturity of
9. Read Sirach 19:5-16. What does this passage teach us
• Do not repeat gossip. Let it end with you.
• Deal with problems head-on.
Leaders: Here is some other practical advice regarding
• Ask yourself, “does this need to be said?”
• Ask the people gossiping to quit.
• Do not assume the statements are true.
You could also share this story about St. Philip Neri
St Philip Neri was a saint who lived in Florence, Italy, during
the 16 century. As a priest he would often hear the
confessions of his parishioners — but one day he gave a
woman an unusual penance. She had come to him to
confess the sin of gossip and after granting her absolution he
instructed her to tear open a feather pillow from the top of the
church bell tower before coming back to him. She did so and
watched the feathers scatter in the wind.
When she went back to him he gave her the second part of
her penance: to go out and to collect every single feather that
blew away. He meant this to be a graphic example of how the
words we speak cannot be taken back.
10. What are some other subtle ways we may be
disobeying God in our speech?
Murmuring or grumbling
Quasi-swears. Is saying ‘crap’ any better than saying the
real expletive? (That is not to say you should just go ahead
and say the real one!) We ought to think about our words
and what they mean.
11. What are ways you can be accountable to each other in
• Friends can signal you when you slip up.
• Make a tick sheet of how many times a day you slip up in
your speech, be it gossip, foul language or negative
humour. An exercise like this can help us see how often we
speak this way and encourage us to change our habits.
Leaders: Remind participants as the discussion wraps
up that change in this (or any area of our lives) must
• awareness of what we are really doing
• people to hold us accountable
• our decision and effort to change
• relying on the grace and help of the Holy Spirit in every
• frequenting the sacraments for grace, particularly the
sacrament of Reconciliation for extra grace to overcome
12. Ephesians 4:29 instructs us: “Let no evil talk come out
of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as
there is need, so that your words may give grace to those
who hear.” What are some practical ways we can edify and
Scripture teaches us that God cares about how we speak. The
language we use and the character of our words are not
insignificant to him. We need to co-operate with the Holy Spirit
by making an effort to control negative speech, and by using
our words to edify those around us, witness to our faith, and
give glory to God.
Living It Out
Challenge: Set some goals for improving your negative speech
habits. Look for opportunities to encourage and edify people
this week. Be prepared to share.
Prayer Challenge of the Week: Increase your daily prayer time
by five minutes.
Memorize Colossians 4:6: Let your speech always be gracious,
seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to
Lesson 5 Preparation Notes
"Obedience and Chastity" In Brief:
Recognizing that God calls us to purity of mind and body, especially in
• This is a sensitive and personal topic. Ask the Holy Spirit to move
your participants’ hearts and minds to be receptive to God's plan for
• Prepare yourself for this lesson by studying The Catechism of the
Catholic Church, articles 2331–2440. These articles provide context
for all the CCC citations found in this lesson.
• Bring a copy of The Catechism of the Catholic Church to the lesson
for reference. If someone challenges you and you feel unable to
respond adequately, assure the person that you will find out the
answer to his/her question and discuss it next week. You could also
refer participants to another person or to a book that can provide
more complete answers. Have them report their findings to the
group the following week.
• Although we do want people to know the truth about chastity and
sexuality, we do not want them to feel judged or attacked. You have
the opportunity to set the tone by your firm but warm, loving and
• The purpose of this lesson is to give an introduction to chastity and
to emphasize that the gift of sex is for marriage (unitive and
procreative). John Paul II's Theology of the Body offers
comprehensive teaching on human sexuality and can be a good
follow-up to this lesson for those who are interested in reading more.
Christopher West is a very readable resource for this.
• This lesson also challenges Christians who may be judgmental of
those who commit sexual sins. In the New Testament, sexual sins
are often listed along with other sins that any of us could be
committing. This should help us recognize that we are all sinners in
need of God’s mercy and healing.
• This is not to say, however, that sexual sins are not serious. They
distort both the dignity God gives us and his plan for people's lives.
• We will discuss on how society is saturated with sexuality and how
this can desensitize people to the true meaning of sex.
• We need to change the way we think. We must understand the truth
about sexuality and chastity. We cannot do this solely with will
power; we need the grace of the Holy Spirit to be counter-cultural
and overcome temptation.
• The sacrament of Reconciliation is vital as a means of receiving
God’s mercy and grace in this area of our lives. Assure your
participants that there is nothing they can say that the priest has not
heard already! Offer to bring them somewhere they can receive the
sacrament. Confession may be offered before Mass at your parish,
for example. You could invite participants to join you for Mass and
receive the sacrament beforehand.
• Be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in your group. If you sense
someone needs to talk to you privately, approach him/her after the
lesson. You could also give him/her a call or send a message to say
you sensed he/she needed to talk. Don't push it if the person resists.
You may have been wrong, or maybe he/she is not ready to talk.
Perhaps Confession is the best option. If you feel you are not
qualified to help the person, recommend a priest or another person
who is better equipped to help.
• Although this is the fifth lesson, the follow-up for Obedience is at the
end of the study; it is necessary to cover all the topics before the
• CCC 2331–2440 is essential reading for this lesson.
• Top Catholic resources on this topic include: Christopher West
(www.christopherwest.com), and Jason Evert, (www. chastity.com),
• These resources are also helpful for the lesson on vocations.
Obedience and Chastity
1. Share any reflections you have had about last week's
2. Have you seen a change in attitudes toward sexuality in
the past five to ten years? Discuss.
Leaders: You could discuss how attitudes have changed
with specific age groups (e.g. high school, college-aged,
3. How does the Church explain God's plan for our
Leaders: The purpose of this question is to start the
lesson with a positive attitude towards obedience and
chastity. Point out that the “rules” exist because God
wants us to enjoy our sexuality and find it fully lifegiving. God created sex to be pleasurable, within
boundaries that are meant to protect us.
Sexuality is a great gift. Sex is a sign of the sacrament of
marriage; it is a holy, loving, life-giving act intended
exclusively for husband and wife. The following is from CCC
Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give
themselves to one another through the acts which are
proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply
biological, but concerns the innermost being of the
human person as such. It is realized in a truly human
way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a
man and woman commit themselves totally to one
another until death .
The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste
union of the spouses takes place are noble and
honorable; the truly human performance of these acts
fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the
spouses in joy and gratitude. Sexuality is a source of joy
The Creator himself . . . established that in the
[generative] function, spouses should experience
pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore,
the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and
enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended
for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to
keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.
The Struggle with Sin
4. Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-20. Look at the kinds of people
listed in verses 9-10. Why should Christians not be too
quick to point fingers at sexual immorality?
Leader: You might want to ask, “Have any of us ever
been greedy or slandered someone?” It is likely that we
have committed these sins at some point. We should
therefore refrain from judging people who commit the other
sins listed in this passage. Jesus said to take the log out of
your own eye before you worry about the splinter in your
Some of our other past or present sins are probably within
the list. The key to the answer is in verse 11:
(v. 11) And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you
were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
• That is what we were like before, but we have been made
right with God.
• We are to live the life to which we have been called and to
which we were redeemed.
• We have been forgiven, but do not let that freedom lead us
back to sin.
5. Look at verses 12-20. Why should we avoid giving in to
The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord.
Our bodies are in union with Christ — we must not prostitute
our bodies. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit; we
are to honour God with our bodies.
Verses 12-14 tell us that it is not always good for us to do
whatever we want to do.
6. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7. According to this passage,
what is chastity?
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication that each one of you know how
to control your own body in holiness and honour, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know
God; that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these
things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God did not call us to
impurity but in holiness.
Being chaste means abstaining from passionate lust. It is
God’s will for us to be sexually pure.
The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers
of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the
unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that
would impair it.
7. Who is called to chastity?
Everyone! People of every vocation (priests, religious,
spouses and singles) are called to live chastely. Do not
confuse chastity (sexual purity) with celibacy (a commitment
to remain single, chastely, for the sake of God’s Kingdom).
People should cultivate [chastity] in the way that is suited
to their state of life. Some profess virginity or
consecrated celibacy, which enables them to give
themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a
remarkable manner. Others live in the way prescribed for
all by the moral law, whether they are married or single.”
Married people are called to live conjugal chastity; others
practice chastity in continence:
There are three forms of the virtue of chastity: the first is
that of spouses, the second that of widows, and the third
that of virgins. We do not praise any one of them to the
exclusion of the others. . . . This is what makes for the
richness of the discipline of the Church.
Leaders: Vocations will be discussed further in Lesson 7.
The Struggle with Negative Culture
8. What effect do you think modern media has on sexual
attitudes in young people?
9. Read Romans 12:1-2. How can we stop ourselves from
being “conformed to this age?”
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God — what is good
and acceptable and perfect.
• We should offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and
pleasing to God (to abstain from sexual immorality can be a
form of spiritual worship).
• We need to be transformed, and our minds must be
renewed so that we can discern things the way God does.
• On a practical level, avoid things that drag you into sexual
sin (i.e. certain friends, movies, TV shows,websites,
magazines, situations). Put into practice the elements for
growth as covered in Growth: prayer, Scripture,
sacraments, fellowship, service and witness.
The Struggle with Our Thoughts
10. Read Matthew 5:27-28. How can our thoughts be an
area of sexual sin?
‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at
a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
We can let our thoughts get carried away, as we lustfully
linger and play out sexual sins in our mind. Jesus clearly
warns us to watch our thoughts not only our outward actions.
Both should be holy and pleasing to God.
11. Read Romans 12:2 and Philippians 4:8-9. How can we
gain mastery over sinful thoughts?
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern
what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing,
whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these
things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of
peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
We gain victory through the renewal of our minds.
Leaders: Ask, “How do we renew our minds?”
By living out the elements or Christian growth: e.g. reading
and studying Scripture, Church teachings, Christian books,
prayer, grace of the sacraments, surrendering our will more
and more to God’s will for our life, so that he can mould us
and renew the way we think and discern.
12. Intercourse outside of marriage is not the only offense
against chastity. What are some others?
From The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2351-2357: lust,
masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, rape,
homosexual acts, incest and molestation.
The use of contraception in marriage is also an offense
against chastity (CCC 2366-2372).
The Struggle with Temptation
13. Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. What safeguards are given
to us when we face temptation?
No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested
beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure
God promises to help us. We will not be tempted beyond
what we can bear. He will always provide a way out. The
Holy Spirit is the strength we are given to overcome
14. Read Matthew 4:1-11. How did the Lord defeat the
temptations of the devil?
He spoke the truths of Scripture to the devil. In the context of
chastity, Psalm 51 is a great passage on which to meditate (it
is King David’s song of repentance to God after he had an
affair and killed his lover’s husband). This lesson also
presents many other encouraging passages.
When discussing the power of Scripture in facing temptation,
it is helpful to look at Ephesians 6:13-17, which lists the
various pieces of the armour of God. The only item listed for
offence is the “sword of the Spirit“, which is the Word of God.
15. Read 1 John 2:1. What can we do if we commit sexual
sin? How is the sacrament of Reconciliation a gift to us in
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an
advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
In the sacrament of Reconciliation, we receive the assurance
of forgiveness, grace to resist temptation in the future and
counsel from the priest on how to avoid sin.
God wants us to obey him by practicing chastity. Our bodies
are the temples of the Holy Spirit. We are not to think as the
world does. Instead, we are to live purely, using the gift of sex
in its proper context, which is the sacrament of Marriage. God
helps us achieve this by giving us the power of the Holy Spirit to
Living It Out
Challenge: Redouble your efforts to practice chastity in thought
If you are dating someone, take a brief moment every time you
get together to pray that your relationship be centered on
Prayer Challenge of the Week: Examine your conscience in this
area. Is the Lord calling you to the sacrament of Reconciliation?
Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13: No testing has overtaken you
that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not
let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he
will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure
Lesson 6 Preparation Notes
"Obedience and the Church" In Brief:
Recognizing that Peter and his successors lead and safeguard the
Church in order to provide us a sure compass in faith and morals.
• This study looks briefly at the call of Peter, our first pope.
• Jesus asks Peter to tend his sheep. In this lesson, we will examine
this pastoral call as it is described in Scripture. The passages we will
study highlight the responsibilities of those who shepherd the people
• We will discuss Jesus’ decision to entrust such important leadership
to imperfect human beings. Questions will likely arise about
scandals in the Church. A resource for preparation is noted below.
• We then touch on the revelation of truth through the Church
(Scripture, Tradition and magisterium). The truths of the faith have
been revealed in Scripture and Tradition. The Church’s leadership
(the magisterium) today, with the help of the Holy Spirit, has the role
of authentically interpreting it .
• The lesson ends with a reflection on our response to leadership in
the Church. Bishops share in the pastoral ministry of Peter and are
the guardians of the deposit of faith. We thus have a responsibility to
honour, respect and follow their leadership in faith and morals. At all
times, even when we disagree or conflict with these leaders (or
perhaps with their failures or weaknesses), we should always be
respectful and “[speak] the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
• If participants have questions and concerns, assure them that they
are not alone in wrestling with these questions, and that answers are
available. Recommend a priest or other knowledgeable person with
whom they can further discuss their questions. Refer them to books
and/or websites (for example, www.ewtn.com, and
www.catholic.com provide solid answers to questions on Church
• Pertaining to 1 Peter 5:14: “Elder” is a translation of the Greek word
“presbyteros”, which is the source of our English word “priest”.
Originally it literally meant “an older person," although already in the
New Testament it has a specific sense, which Peter uses here.
• Also when it says “exercising the oversight” in 1 Peter 5:14,
"oversight" in Greek is “epi [over,on] skopos [seeing]”, which is the
source of the English “bishop”. So, Peter is effectively saying “Now
as a priest myself . . . I exhort the priests among you to tend the
flock . . . exercising the episcopacy not under compulsion . . .”
• There are historical reasons why they don’t translate it this way in
the Bible, for example, the Old Testament word for “priest” in Greek
is a different one — but it does shed some light on what he is
• It is also interesting that “Bishop” literally means one who oversees
things, although you could also apply deeper theological meanings
(he sees “over” the material realities to the spiritual world above,
• St. Ignatius of Antioch was martyred in Rome in 106AD (fed to
lions). The following quote from him shows that the threefold
structure of Church authority was already clearly recognized by the
end of the first century as well as the call to practice unity with and
obedience to these leaders. He said,
I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine
harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of
God, and your presbyters in the place of the assembly
of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most
dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus
Christ. He, being begotten by the Father before the
beginning of time, was God the Word, the only-begotten
Son, and remains the same for ever; for “of His kingdom
there shall be no end,” says Daniel the prophet. Let us all
therefore love one another in harmony, and let no one
look upon his neighbour according to the flesh, but in
Christ Jesus. Let nothing exist among you which may
divide you; but be ye united with your bishop, being
through him subject to God in Christ.
Epistle to the Magnesians, 6
CCC 84-100 – on the faith entrusted to the Church
CCC 874-896 – on the hierarchy, pastors and authority
Catholic and Christian by Alan Schreck
An online article addressing scandals in the Church:
Obedience and The Church
1. Share any reflections you have had about last week's
The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus passed on the
authority he received from the Father to his apostles,
empowering them with the Holy Spirit, so that they could carry
on his mission.
The apostles received this authority and in turn, appointed other
men to carry on the mission. They conferred their authority to
them through prayer and “the laying on of hands”. This
sacramental conferring of authority has created an unbroken
chain of Church leaders, and is called “apostolic succession.” It
began with Peter and the other apostles and extends down
through history to our present Holy Father and bishops.
Shepherds of God’s Flock
2. Read Matthew 16:13-19. How did Peter know who Jesus
Peter spoke the truth not by his own wisdom or merit, but
because God revealed it to him.
3. What authority does Jesus give to Peter?
The Church is built upon Peter. Jesus gave Peter the keys
(authority) to bind and loose.
Leaders: If you have time, now is a good opportunity to
explain Peter's authority as described in Catholic and
Christian, p. 86. Read this text for yourself before
beginning the lesson.
4. Read John 21:15-19 once again. Why does Jesus repeat
his question and command to Peter three times?
Three times Peter denied Christ, and three times Jesus
“reinstates” Peter. As our first pope, Peter is the shepherd of
5. Read 1 Peter 5:1-4. What does Peter say to those who
have been appointed as leaders in the early Church?
Now as an elder myself and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory to be
revealed, I exhort the elders among you to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight,
not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it—not for sordid gain but eagerly. Do not lord
it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. 4And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win
the crown of glory that never fades away.
serve as God would want them to
tend to their own flock
do not lord authority over people
be an example
do this task willingly, not under constraint
oversee the people
6. Read Acts 20:17-35. In this passage, Paul leaves the
church at Miletus, never to see these Christians again. How
does he instruct the church leaders?
to follow his example
to be vigilant
to watch for those perverting the truth
to keep in the Word
to boldly preach repentance
to serve the weak
to watch over themselves and their flock
7. Read Jeremiah 3:15. What kind of shepherds does the
Lord desire for his people?
I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
Shepherds after his own heart.
Leaders: Ask, “What do you think it means to be a
shepherd after God’s own heart?” This passage says
that the leaders/shepherds will lead us with knowledge
Ask : “Can Scripture stand on its own as a witness to
God's revelation, or do our leaders have a role in
Church leaders do not have a role in bringing about divine
revelation; their role is limited to interpreting what God has
already revealed to us (which is called the "Deposit of Faith").
To safeguard the Deposit of Faith, God gave us the Church.
Through the Church, revelation is interpreted and explained
8. Discuss the following quotations. How do they explain
the connection of Jesus and Peter to our present church
The apostles worked together to guide God’s people
under Jesus’ leadership, a leadership that Peter in
some way carried on after Jesus had departed. Peter
was not looked upon as a replacement for Jesus; he
was only a visible representative of Jesus’ ongoing
presence and authority in the whole Church, just as
each local bishop came to represent the presence and
authority of Jesus and the apostles in the local
church . The Holy Spirit led the Church to recognize
the need for one bishop to exercise a special role of
leadership among all the bishops — just as Peter had
done among the apostles.
Dr. Alan Schreck, Catholic and Christian, p. 94
When Christ instituted the Twelve, “he constituted
[them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly,
at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from
among them.” Just as “by the Lord’s institution, St.
Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single
apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff,
Peter’s successor, and the bishops, the successors of
the apostles, are related with and united to one
The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter,
the “rock” of his Church. He gave him the keys of his
Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.
CCC 880, 881
Authority was passed down, in succession, to leaders who
are called to serve the Church. Their mandate is to continue
fulfilling the role Jesus gave to Peter, which is to shepherd his
9. How can Church leaders teach with authority, and
properly guide the Church, if they are sinners like us?
Leaders: Have your group consider the life and failures
of Peter as studied in Lesson 2 (“Obedience and Fear of
What Others Might Think”).
10. Share your thoughts on the following quotation:
[A]uthority and leadership in the Church is a sovereign
gift of God to his people. Men do not receive authority
by their merits; neither is God-given authority
invalidated by the presence of sin in the lives of
Church’s members or leaders. The leaders of the
Church should especially exemplify holiness and
righteousness in their personal lives, so that they can
be examples to the flock of Christ, and not cause
scandal among Christians and unbelievers.... [T]heir
authority to teach and guide the Church comes from
Dr. Alan Schreck, Catholic and Christian, p. 73
Catholics do not believe that the Bible is the only
source of revelation and guidance for Christians. The
Bible itself does not clearly teach this. If anything the
Bible testifies that God's way of revealing himself and
leading his people is to choose certain persons for
these tasks, such as the patriarchs, prophets, judges,
and kings of the Old Testament, and apostles,
prophets, teachers, and bishops of the New Testament.
Catholics believe that throughout history God continued
to select certain individuals to lead his people and to
teach with his authority. Sometimes God also leads and
guides his people as a whole through the direct
inspiration and work of the Holy Spirit. This is not to
deny or minimize the importance of the Bible. Rather,
Catholics desire to recognize and value all the ways
that God instructs and directs the Church.
Dr. Alan Schreck, Catholic and Christian, p. 44
Catholic teaching is based on three pillars: the Sacred
Scriptures, Sacred Tradition (composed of truths which have
been discerned and handed down through the Church over the
centuries) and the teaching authority of the Church called the
The Council of Jerusalem, described in the Book of Acts, is an
example of how God reveals himself to individuals in order to
lead his people. This was the first Church council, and the
model for future councils through which Church teaching is
11. Read Acts 15:1-35. What is controversial about the
issue they are discussing? How was God’s revelation
made known to them?
This decision would seem almost counter-scriptural, because
they were allowing the Gentiles to be free from most of the
Mosaic Law (which is our Scripture, the Old Testament).
Leaders: Have participants work through the
• A problem was made known to the elders.
• Apostles and elders considered the question and
• Several statements were made, Peter being the first to
• A letter was written for circulation.
Note that in Acts16:4, the decision reached by the elders was
delivered to the people to be followed. In other words, the
people in the churches were expected to obey the directions
of the leaders.
Church Leadership and Us
12. According to the following Scripture selections, what
should our attitude be toward those in authority?
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in
the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among
Respect them, hold them in highest regard in love, and live in
peace with each other. The challenge is to have this attitude
even when we have conflicts with our leaders.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let
them do this with joy and not with sighing—for that would be harmful to you.
Imitate their faith. They spoke the word of God to us and
were an example. Obey them to make their job a pleasure.
13. In light of the following quotation, discuss the concept
of “cafeteria Catholicism”. If you have never heard this
expression, what do you think it means?
Catholics today still believe that the authority of the
bishops and the pope is God's authority, given to them
by Jesus himself through the apostles and their
successors down through the ages. Therefore, a
Catholic who obstinately rejects the official teachings or
directives of the bishops (or the “chief bishop,” the
pope) might be guilty of a form of rebellion against God
which would jeopardize the person's salvation.... This
understanding of the authority of the bishops to govern
the Church presupposes a basic trust that the Holy
Spirit truly guides and inspires them in their leadership.
Dr. Alan Schreck, Catholic and Christian, p. 31
The expression “Cafeteria Catholicism” refers to the notion
that we can pick and choose truths as we choose food in a
cafeteria line, accepting truths we like and rejecting those we
do not. This attitude towards Catholicism, however, is
misguided. It is God who determines what is true, not us.
Picking and choosing what we like from the Catholic Faith
means failing to grasp its most basic teaching: that God is
creator and we are not. We do not have the wisdom or
authority to determine for ourselves what is true, and what
commandments we ought to follow. God gives us the Church
to guide us to a proper understanding of the truth.
Jesus delegated authority to Peter and the apostles, and that
authority has been passed on in unbroken succession for over
two thousand years. The guidance of the magisterium,
exercised by the Holy Father and the bishops in communion
with him, is a great gift to the Church.
Living It Out
Challenge: Look to further inform yourself about the Church.
Find resources that address questions you may have about
Are there clergy you can encourage and for whom you can
pray? Do something about it this week!
Prayer Challenge of the Week: Attentively and prayerfully listen
to all the readings and prayers at Mass.
Memorize Matthew 16:18: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on
this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not
prevail against it.”
Lesson 7 Preparation Notes
“Obedience and Vocation” In Brief:
Understanding that priesthood, religious life, marriage and vocation to
the single life each offer unique paths to growth in holiness and
• As a movement, CCO desires to promote vocations. We want to
encourage young people to consider Jesus' call to complete
consecration and service to the Kingdom of God.
He invites them [consecrated persons] to leave behind
their own narrow agenda and their notions of selffulfilment in order to immerse themselves in another will,
the will of God, and to be guided by it.
Message of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI
for the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations,
May 15, 2011
• Some participants may not have considered discerning a vocation
other than married life. Please be sensitive to this and keep the
conversation light, interesting and informative. The purpose of this
lesson is to introduce various vocations and to encourage
discernment. This will hopefully provide a springboard for future
• The lesson looks at various vocations and how each
• Allows us to fulfill the call to love
• Allows us to grow in holiness
• Provides opportunities for apostolate
• Allows us to lay down our lives for God and others
• Has certain inherent blessings or “perks”
• We will also look at attitudes that impede our discernment.
• We then read passages of Scripture which assure us that God will
direct and lead us in a way that is good for us.
• The lesson closes with some practical points on vocational
• Before the lesson, take time to familiarize yourself with vocation
resources in your area. Recommend these resources to your group.
Notes on Vocations:
• If participants are already living their vocation (i.e. married), this
lesson may help them see their call in a new light. Invite them to
share their personal discernment, as this can be helpful for other
participants. The lesson may also give them tools to encourage
others and support their vocational discernment. We all have a role
to play in promoting a “culture of vocation”; by helping others
understand their gifts and encouraging them to find their calling, we
help bring about this culture.
The term “religious” is often associated with sisters (who live in a
religious community). Religious orders are categorized as either
cloistered or active. However, this term is not exclusive to sisters.
Priests or brothers belonging to orders (i.e. not diocesan) are
“religious” as well.
Participants may ask about permanent deacons or brothers.
Deacons are not priests, but they can baptize, witness marriage and
preside at funerals. They also serve in a variety of ministries.
Brothers are members of religious communities who do not
administer the sacraments.
The second section of the lesson speaks of living a vocation by
giving of oneself. Self-gift should not be confused with unhealthy
self-hatred; self-gift and self-hatred manifest themselves quite
differently in a person’s life. Putting others first in a spirit of giving
would generate clarity, healthy self-esteem, trust and confidence in
God's love, peace and contentment. Putting oneself last out of selfhatred would likely cause feelings of shame, insecurity, blame,
confusion and doubt of both God’s love and the love of others.
Invite participants to be open to God’s call. Sometimes people
assume their gifts and desires can be fulfilled in only one vocation,
never considering how God might use them in another. For example,
a participant may say: “Ever since I was little I always wanted
children.” Someone might then add, “God wouldn’t have given you
that desire if it wasn’t what you were supposed to do.” While this
may be the case, it is important to recognize that these desires could
be fulfilled in another vocation. Some sisters, for example, work with
children. A desire to have children might also be fulfilled in spiritual
motherhood, by which sisters are “mothers” to many “children”
(young or old). Throughout the lesson, encourage participants to
listen to their hearts, but also to be open to possibilities they may
never have considered.
Vocations in The Catechism of the Catholic Church:
• Priesthood: 1537-1600
• Marriage: 1601-1666
• Single Life: 1658
• Religious Life (sisters are included): 914-927
Obedience and Vocation
1. Share any reflections you have had about last week's
Priesthood, religious life, marriage, and the vocation to the
single life are all vocations in the Catholic Church. Everyone
has a vocation. In fact, the word vocation means “calling”. A call
shared by all Catholics is the call to love.
God is love and in Himself He lives a mystery of
personal loving communion. Creating the human race
in His own image and continually keeping it in being,
God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the
vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of
love and communion. Love is therefore the fundamental
and innate vocation of every human being.
Familiaris Consortio, 11
God calls every human being to love him and be loved by him.
He also calls us to share his love through proclamation of the
Gospel and service to others. Each vocation gives unique
expression to this fundamental call and offers opportunities for
growth in holiness and mission.
In this lesson, we will look briefly at the characteristics of each
vocation, and offer some suggestions to assist vocational
Leaders: Though most participants will likely be familiar
with these four vocations, some may not. To ensure no
one gets lost in this conversation, ask: "Does everyone
understand what these four vocations are?"
The rarest and, least understood vocation is what we will
here call the vocation to the single life. This vocation is a call
to live a lifelong celibate life as a layperson while living and
working in the world. This vocation is not the same thing as
simply being single because a suitable marriage partner has
not come along yet or because one is undecided or afraid to
choose a vocation. Like all vocations, it implies a firm “yes”
to God’s call. People who accept this vocation make a
promise or vow of lifelong celibacy for the kingdom of God in
order to better serve Jesus Christ and his Church. This is
sometimes also called consecrated celibacy. These people
may live alone, or may also be members of lay associations,
secular institutes, and societies of apostolic life, or live in
community households. (CCC 928-930)
What makes the vocation to the single life a true “vocation” is
the free and generous choice to say “yes” to God’s call, and
the lifelong permanence of this commitment.
We all begin our adult Christian lives in the single state.
Those who stay in this state without making a firm
commitment to any particular vocation are in no way less holy
or less Christian than those who have embraced a vocation.
Single persons who have not yet committed to any particular
vocation are simply, like many of us, still on the path of
discernment, and are capable of serving Christ and the
Church in many ways.
Living the Call to Love
Priests, religious, spouses and singles grow in holiness by
similar yet distinguishable means. Prayer, receiving the
Eucharist, and meditating on Scripture are common to all
vocations, but each vocation also has characteristic ways to
practice piety. Although people of every vocation can
collaborate in apostolic work, there are ways in which each
state of life is specially designed to engage in the mission of
being "the salt of the earth (and) light of the world" (Matthew
2. What unique opportunities does each vocation provide
us to love God, grow in holiness, and engage in the
mission of the Church?