Enhancer of Joy
Lesson Developed by
Beauty in Diversity
Tips to Prepare
Before teaching, read the lesson through. Consider drawing out or at least contemplating your flower and body part ahead of time.
Modify art materials based on your setting, students, and the materials available. Less artistically comfortable students may benefit from creating collages with garden catalogues and magazines. If you’d like to be outside, use chalk. Consider finger paint to encourage silliness. If you worry about teens drawing inappropriate body parts, either mention that rule or stick to flowers.
- Art supplies (colored pencils, markers, paint, chalk, crayons, etc.)
- Printed verse and quotes
- Optional: Magazines and glue for collages
- Optional: Nametags
Setting the Atmosphere
- Separate the room into an artistic area and a discussion area.
- The discussion space should be circular, with a cross or candles in the center.
- The artistic area should be ready with supplies when the teens arrive and should have plenty of table space for each teen to work.
- Print out the passage and quotes and place them on the tables for teens to reference.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
The goal of this lesson is to create a free, artistic space where teens can testify to who they are and who they see God making them to be.
In this session, youth will testify to their own person-hood and be given the chance to speak over others.
For more on St. Therese of Lisieux, visit http://www.sttherese.com/; http://www.littleflower.org/therese/words-of-st-therese/, or read A Story of a Soul.
Gather (5 minutes)
- Greet teens as they arrive, and use nametags if you don’t confidently know all names.
- Opening prayer: “Today I am.” Today’s prayer will incorporate a time of one-word testimonies that begins the session with teens sharing about themselves. Give teens a minute to think of one word to fill in the sentence “Today I am _____.” Then go around the room in a prayerful attitude and have teens answer. Pray at the end of the activity, offering these testimonies to God and asking that he guide the lesson.
Introduction of Session:
Today is a time for teens to testify to who they are. It is a time of listening and sharing. They will use two metaphors today to talk about themselves; that of a flower (or plant) in a field and that of part of the body of Christ. St. Therese of Lisieux was an influential Christian nun in the 1800s who talked about being a simple flower in a field. She did not want fame or splendor or to do the most outrageous things, but to love God in her own small way by fully loving others. The quotes are similar because this is an idea that she meditated on frequently.
- Quote 1: “The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”
- Quote 2: “I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would no longer be enamelled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, Our lord’s living garden.”
- In the I Corinthians passage, which teens may or may not be familiar with, Paul is telling the church to value all gifts and talents within the body of Christ, because without all pieces the body cannot function.
- Read (or have a teen read) the passage.
Engage (30 minutes)
Activity 1: Expressing yourself
- Give teens time to artistically express themselves through drawing a flower and/or body part which they identify with. For example, St. Therese would draw a small flower. The colors can signify emotions. Sunflowers are tall and strong, trees provide shade and rest, and daisies attract honeybees that pollinate the garden. Someone good at noticing might choose to draw an eye, while someone good at serving might choose a hand. Most teens will choose drawing, but allow teens to use alternative mediums if they like. Monitor teens’ work, giving suggestions if needed.
(Optional) Activity 2: Allow teens to choose a partner (or pair them up) and draw what their partner would be in a flower or body part. Do not show your partner what you’ve drawn about
Reflect (20 minutes)
Activity 3: Explaining the pictures
- Go back to the circle and bring the artwork. Give each teen a chance to explain why they have drawn certain things, and ask questions about how the flower/body part represents them.
- Give teens the chance to encourage one another as they share. After one person shares, open up the discussion and allow other people to add things. For example, if someone says they drew an eye because she is good at noticing people, ask if others have felt noticed by this teen. Perhaps another teen would say that instead of an eye, he would have made her a foot because she is always going where people need her.
- If you did partners, allow the partners to share about each other and how they described one another.
- Variation: Read through verses 21-27 again. Ask teens what Paul means by honoring those who are weaker or unpresentable. Who is weaker in our society or our church? (This could be those with special needs, immigrants, refugees, elderly people, young children, the poor). How do we honor those people? How would Paul say we should be treating them?
Send Forth (5 minutes)
- Sum-It-Up by having different teens read the quotes and the bible verses. Ask if there’s anything in the quotes that sticks out now that teens have meditated on these ideas. Was Paul right to say this? How do we see this in this class? In the church? In your family?
- If the room is dedicated to your group, hang the pictures on the wall as a reminder of this lesson. If the room is multipurpose, consider putting them on a board and bringing the board to further meetings.
- Close with this prayer written by St. Therese of Lisieux, which offers up our day and our actions. Either a teen or a leader can read the prayer.
My Lord, I offer You all the actions I did today,
for the intentions and the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus;
I would like to sanctify the beating of my heart, my thoughts
and my most simple work by joining them to His most infinite merits,
to repair my faults by throwing them in the blaze of His Merciful Love.
O my God I ask You for myself and for those I love for
the grace to accomplish perfectly Your holy wish,
to accept for Your Love the joys and pains of this passage that is life
so that one day we can be reunited in Heaven for all eternity.