Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rockin' Love of God!

These ideas were developed by me for my local group and are not a part of the official Little Flowers Girls Club ® created by Rachel Watkins. To purchase the excellent materials and begin your own local group, please visit

This post is really late. Our last Little Flowers meeting was last Friday, March 20. We began the virtue Love of God.

I taught the girls a new song this week to replace the Mother Mary song to the tune of "Frere Jacques." Instead, we sang this song to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." It is modeled after one in the Little Flowers Leaders Manual about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

St. Therese of Lisieux,
Watch over me and all I do.
Help me be like you each day,
As I work and learn and play.
St. Therese of Lisieux,
Watch over me and all I do.

After prayers, I began sharing about Love of God. We discussed the concept in the Leaders Manual where faith is the root of a flower, hope is the stem, and love of God is the bloom. This was a beautiful analogy. I also shared the following Scripture verses to underscore how significant Love of God is:

Matthew 22:37, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

1 Corinthians 13:13 , “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

1 John 4:8, “God is love!”

John 14:23 , “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”

Somewhere in between the verses, I mentioned that Love of Neighbor will be our next virtue and that it is clearly different from Love of God. We discussed things that show our love for God and how difficult it can be to find the time for those things sometimes. I asked the girls what it takes to be someone's friend and compared their answers (spend time with them, talk to them, tell them about yourself) to being friends with God. I explained that the most perfect time to love God is during Holy Mass.

Another key point from the Leaders Manual to me was that the love the girls show God now is very important, as it is the first fruits of their lives. They are young, but that does not mean they can wait until they are older to put God first. In fact, their actions during this time of their life are even more important than my actions at my age. They seemed a bit awed by that point.

Next, I got out my visual demonstration. Some readers may have heard of or seen this in corporate training or business seminars. I took a clear vase and set it on the table. Then, I asked the girls to name all the things they do in their daily lives that are not directly focused on loving God. As they said things like "ballet, math, soccer, chores, eating, television, schoolwork, and helping parents," I poured into the vase a bag full of gravel, tiny pebbles, telling them each of these pebbles was one of those things in a week of their lives.

Then, I took out some stones about the size of a two-year-old's fist. I asked the girls to now name the things they do that are clearly focused on loving God. As they said things like "Mass, Rosary, praying, reading the Bible, and serving the poor," I placed in the vase the large stones. The key to this demonstration, though, is that not all of my large stones fit in the vase. I acted frustrated that these ways of loving God would not fit, because they are SO important.

I told them to watch carefully as I dumped the contents of the vase into a large bowl on the table, and I said, "Let's try that again." This time, I put the large stones in the vase first, naming the ways we can love God. After they were all in, I poured in the gravel, which surrounded the stones and filled the vase perfectly to the top with no extra room or overflow. (It took me five times the day before to get the right amount of stones and gravel for this to work!)

There were a few oohs and aahs, as I asked them the lesson learned. Many indicated they understood that we have to put loving God first above all things in order for our life to be full and to fit all those actions in our week. Then, I said, "If you love God first, above all things, he will even fill your life with special graces and blessings," and I poured sand into the vase. As I tapped the side of the vase, the sand fell between the gravel and added more to the already-full vase.

Finally, I told the wide-eyed girls that God might even surprise them by putting something unexpected and amazing in their lives when they least expect it and think nothing else will fit. Then, I took the water bottle from which I had been sipping and poured some water in the vase. It trickled down through the sand and gravel and stones, truly filling the vase.

I LOVE this demonstration! It is a key thing for me to remember in my life, and I was so glad I had the inspiration to share it with the girls.

Now, for our craft project, I had asked the girls to bring a rock, so they were asking what to do with it. I told them I wanted to share the flower for the virtue first, so I read the following catalog description of the peony as I held up the silk peony I found at WalMart. I asked the girls to try to figure out why a peony was chosen to remind us of love of God, as I read:

"Peony flowers are one of the most beautiful blooms that can grow in the garden and have a very beautiful scent. They are large, colorful, dramatic, and very heavy. Peonies come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, and they grow all over the northern hemisphere. Peonies are also very easy to grow and will live in good soil and poor soil."

The girls had some great answers about how our love of God is the most beautiful thing in Heaven and how we can love Him anytime anywhere, regardless of our surroundings.

Then, we made prayer rocks. The girls simply wrapped a rock they had brought to the meeting in a piece of fabric and tied it with a ribbon, attaching the following poem:

(Author Unknown)

I'm your little prayer rock,

And this is what I'll do.
Just put me on your pillow
Until the day is through.

Then turn back the covers

And climb into your bed,
And, whack!
Your little prayer rock
Will hit you in the head.

Then you will remember

As the day is through,
To kneel and say your prayers
As you intended to.

Then when you are finished

Dump me on the floor.
I'll stay there through the nighttime
To give you help once more.

When you get up next morning,

Clunk! I stub your toe,
So that you will remember
Your prayers before you go.

Put me back upon your pillow

When your bed is made,
And your clever little prayer rock
Will continue in your aid.

Because your Heavenly Father

Cares and loves you so,
He wants you to remember
To talk to Him, you know.

This was a very easy craft but very meaningful, as I reminded the girls that their prayer rock was like the large stones in the vase.

We then took a snack break and I instructed the rose group leader moms what to do after snack. They took their girls to a shady spot away from all the others and led them through the following guided meditation:

Say all this in a soothing, gentle voice…

Close your eyes. Take deep breaths. Focus only on my voice. Try to block out other noises around you. Use your imagination to “see” this story.

Imagine yourself at age 4 or 5. You are walking along a dirt path, leading to a small hilltop. Your mother is next to you, holding your hand gently. Your father is a few steps ahead, and you try to follow his strong steps.

As you climb the hill, you look down and notice your feet are dusty. You look up towards the hot sun and wipe your arm across your forehead. Your mother seems to be excited, hurriedly pulling you along as you follow the line of people going up the hill. As you get higher, a gentle breeze begins to cool the heat.

Now, you can finally see the top of the hill. There is a clump of trees and a few large rocks. Some men are sitting on the rocks. A crowd of people is gathered around, men, women, children of all ages.

But, it is not noisy. Instead, it is quiet, peaceful. You can hear the gentle breeze and the coos of a few birds. As you approach the crowd, you see the line of mothers and fathers bringing their children to one man in the middle of the group of rocks. Your mother leans down and whispers in your ear, “That is Jesus.”

To hear your mother say this almost takes your breath away. You have heard of Jesus, the healer, the prophet, whom some call the Messiah. And, now you can just begin to see his face beyond the dozen or so families in front of you. You are struck by the kindness and peacefulness you see is that face.

As the first family approaches Jesus, a few men step forward. They say, “What are you doing? Can’t you see that our Lord is tired? Take your children home. Let him be.” At those words, Jesus’ face changes. He looks sternly at the men, as if to scold them. But, His voice is still gentle, as He says loud enough for all around to hear…

Let the children come to me…and do not prevent them…for the kingdom of heaven…belongs to such as these.

He smiles and embraces the first two children that rush towards Him. They climb onto the rock to sit with Him, and He blesses them. Your heart starts to beat quickly as you realize that you will soon be near the front of the crowd and face to face with Jesus. He is blessing the children, and they are resting near Him on the grass and on the rocks. Their eyes are fixed on His face, a face full of love.

Now, it is your turn. As you step forward, you let go of your mother’s hand. She clasps her hands to herself and sighs pleasantly. You are not afraid of this stranger. Everyone calls This Man a great teacher. Some call Him God. But, all you see is His love for you.

He reaches out to embrace you and pulls you up into His lap. He asks God to bless you and be with you, laying His strong and gentle hands on your head, and then He simply gazes into your eyes for what seems like hours. It is actually only a few minutes, and you see another two children approaching. You slide off His lap and down the side of the rock to the grass below to watch Him bless more and more children. All the while, you cannot take your eyes off of Him.

And you realize that upon the first instant you saw Him, you loved Him. Dusk draws near, and parents gather their children to take them home. You begin to walk back down the hill towards home, this time clutching your father’s hand, almost skipping with glee from the joy in your heart. As you recline on your bed that night and stare at the dark ceiling, you think of Jesus.

He loves you! That was clear by the look on His face. He blessed you! Your life will never be the same. He promised you the Kingdom of Heaven! You think desperately of how to honor this gift as you slip into a deep, peaceful sleep.

Open your eyes. Here we are. Jesus really loves you here and now, just as He loved those children back in Judea. His love is bigger than anything you could ever imagine, and He would do anything to save you, even suffer hours of torture and a miserable death on the Cross. That is how strong His love is for you, (here name a few girls and then point to each one to remind them of His individual love for each one). What will you do for Him? How can you put Him first in your life to show Him your love in return?

(If the girls are interested, share a few ideas about how they can live the virtue of Love of God.)

When they were finished, the leader mom of the oldest girls told me the girls' responses brought tears to her eyes. I hope she shares with me some of their insights. If she does, I will try to post them here.

Next, we talked about St. Agnes. She was a young girl and is usually pictured with a lamb, because Agnes means lamb. She was beautiful and many men wanted to marry her, but she would always refuse them. She would say, “Christ is my Spouse. He chose me first and His I will be. He made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue. I belong to Him whom the angels serve." This made the men angry.

So, when she was thirteen and responded thus, she was led to a pagan altar to offer prayers, but instead she made the sign of the cross. Since Christianity was not tolerated in her time and region, she was chained and dragged naked through the streets. All the while, she declared aloud her love of God.

I think it is important to our young girls for them to know that St. Agnes is the only child mentioned in the Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass. What a virtuous girl for them to imitate!

At the end of our meeting, we practiced the Scripture verse song. In fact, the girls asked to practice all three of the ones we have learned, so far, and they did an excellent job. We closed in our usual prayers to St. Therese, and I read the intentions the girls wrote down. Then, we passed out the Love of God Patch Project Sheet.

It was another joy-filled day! I feel so humbled to be witnessing such amazing understanding in these precious girls.

Per the request of the official Little Flowers Girls Club ® I have removed the downloadable patch project sheets and practice pages. If you are interested in learning about how I used these documents in my group, please contact me directly.

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