Bread and Stones - Preparation for Penitential Celebration
Grade Level or Age Group: I have used variations of this as a preparation for celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation with high school level students (the whole school and indivividual classes) as well as with grade 3-7 students. The students always responded extremely well.
Context: Sacramental prep, examen of conscience.
Objectives: Helping students to reflect on the impact that their actions have on the lives of others.
Celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation during the
Advent Season is part of the process of preparing for Christmas. Here
is a suggestion for you. Feel free to adapt it in any way you wish. The
"You are Bread or Stone" text below is inspired by something I read years
ago, but I am not sure where. If you know the source, please let me know
so that I can make an acknowledgement here. You can make additions, deletions,
or changes to adapt it to your audience.
This examen of conscience can stand on its own or be part of a larger penitential celebration. The latter would obviously include scripture readings as well. It is easy to improvise with this. Modifie it to suit your needs. I have done this in class before priests came to hear individual confessions. I then invited the students to bring their completed reflection sheets to the priest.
- A loaf of bread;
- A faily large stone;
- Two readers;
- Two copies of the "You are Either Bread or Stone" text.
- A reflection sheet: This is my body;
- Gentle classical music;
- A candle.
The stone and the bread are placed prominently and visibly at the front of the classroom, the chapel or the church. Two readers stand at the front and read the text (copy for printing available here) slowly. They alternate. Make sure that the pauses between sections are long enough to allow the meaning to take root.
|You are Either Bread or Stone
First Reader: You are either bread or stone.
| Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever."
John 6; 53-58
Second Reader: Bread can be broken and shared with others.
First Reader: Stone is hard and cold.
Second Reader: When I accept to share what I have with others...
When I take the time to help someone in need...
I am bread for others.
First Reader: When I am selfish and think only of myself... When all I am interested in is taking advantage of others... When I am cold with those who could use my friendship... I am stone for others.
Second Reader: Bread is good to eat and it gives life.
First Reader: When I respect others and treat them with kindness... When I am a peacemaker where there is tension... When I forgive those who have hurt me... I am bread for them. I give them life.
Second Reader: When I put others down, or laugh at them... When I gossip... When I want revenge... I am like a stone. There is no life in me.
First Reader: With stones you can break things.
Second Reader: When you use hard thoughts, hard words, hard actions with those around you and treat them as your enemies, you are like a stone thrown through a beautiful stained glass window, shattering the lives of those around you.
First Reader: Bread is soft and lets itself be eaten.
Second Reader: When I think well of others and help them see the goodness and gentleness of God through me, I am like soft bread that feeds and gives strength.
First Reader: We have a choice...
We can be stone for others...
We can be bread for them...
Which have you been lately?
Which one do you want to be?
If this is done in setting where the participants can write, hand out copies of the reflection sheet "This is my body" an dallow time to reflect on it.
©Gilles Côté, 1999 - Please feel free to copy and use this material for non-profit educational purposes. Please acknowledge your source if you do so.