Interactive Guide Grade 7

25 The Virtue Tree: A Hands-On Religion Resource (Samples of story and lesson)

Blue Sky and Our Altars

S T . E L I Z A B E T H A N N S E T O N

Read the following story to see how St. Elizabeth Ann Seton faced difficult decisions with trust in God. T he young woman hurried into the Episcopal church and took her seat in a pew near a window. It was her favorite place. She was dressed all in black, which in 1804 was a sign of mourning for a recently deceased family member. The young woman was small, with large dark eyes, and the black bonnet that she wore couldn’t quite hide all of her curly dark hair. Except for the kindness that shone in her face, she looked ordinary. Who could ever guess by merely looking at her that she was living one of the most exciting adven tures in the history of the Church in America? The worship service started, and the young woman turned her face to the front of the church and struggled to pay attention. The preacher that day was Reverend Hobart, who was well-known for his forceful preaching. He was also an advisor to the young woman and a friend of her family. Usually she would listen eagerly to his sermons, but ever since she had returned to New York City from her long trip overseas, she knew that she had changed. She had a hard time paying attention complaining and always teaching and helping His people. He was loyal to His Father’s will. The kingdom of Jesus is based on love, meaning love for God and love for everyone else. Humility giv s us the ow r to love because it frees us from thinking only bout ourselves. When we think only of ourselves, we cannot love others. Some unhappy people have no idea who they are or what they are supposed to be doing, and they think they must search until they find


69 themselves. But God tells us that we must lose ourselves with the grace of humility. We lose ourselves by knowing, loving, and serving God. Once we have lost ourselves in God, we finally wake up and really become aware of God and others. Humility very often produces joy in us and makes us a joy to be around. We don’t have to worry about who we are anymore when we are humble. We know that we belong to God and that He is always taking the best care of us. 1

Humility is often misunderstood. Our first step toward this virtue is to get a clear idea of what it is and what it isn’t. Being humble does not mean walking around while drooping like a weeping willow tree. It is not a sad virtue.

Humility is like waking up and shaking off a dream. When you first wake up, you are sometimes a little confused because you aren’t thinking or even seeing very clearly. When you are asleep, you aren’t doing very much. You are unaware of yourself and what is happening around you. When you wake up, you are free to do good things. Humility is looking up and understanding how much God has given us. This can be confusing at first because God works quietly within us. When we are humble, we are also grateful for all the wonderful gifts God has showered upon us. We realize that God is in control, and that makes us joyful. The only droopy part about humility is our self-image as it wilts and disappears to make room for God’s image of us. I was discussing this chapter with a friend when she mentioned that we are God’s children and that God is the King of kings. So we are all like princes and princesses, but our claim to royalty is a gift. We haven’t done anything to earn the title of prince or princess. We can boast about the wonderful things our Father the King has done, but we ourselves don’t have anything to boast about. Jesus had the virtue of humility. He was a king, but He never demanded to be treated like royalty. He did not live in a palace or wear a golden crown, but He always behaved like royalty, never

Good Ideas

1. Read these Bible verses about humility: John 5:30, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:6–7, and Psalm 103:1–2. 2. Think about gifts that God has given you. Why does God give us so much?

3. Do you know a grateful person? How does this person show gratitude?

4. How do you show your gratitude?

5. What helps you wake up to God?

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“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” —C.S. Lewis


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