The Gatekeeper
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Level III 
March 3, 2009 - Level 3, Issue 11
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Continued Conversations
List of Maxims
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Dear CGS Level III Parent,  
The Good Shepherd

I hope you are off to a good start with your Lenten journey.  A particular focus of Lent is repentance - genuine change, genuine response to the loving gifts of God.  This week, the Level III children will reflect on the Maxims, which are words of Jesus that provide us with rules to live by.  Before we can genuinely repent from unloving choices (sins), we must be in relationship with God and know what constitutes a loving choice and an unloving choice.  The Maxims are one source of help in discerning actions based on loving choices.

Lina Hilko
The Maxims are words that Jesus said that are usually only a sentence or phrase.  They are moral guides for our daily life.  Children are first exposed to the Maxims in Level II, especially as part of preparation for the first celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation.  The central proclamation of Level II catechesis is the parable of the True Vine (John 15: 1-10), where Jesus encourages us, "remain in my love."  The maxims provide some of the guides by which we can remain in Jesus' love.
The Level III presentation is called "The Maxims in the Cosmos and in the Heart of the Human Person."  Catchy little title, huh!  Okay, it is a mouthful.  But it really pulls together a lot of our recent work.  The work itself is a reflection that the catechist reads from a booklet, followed by a work with various cards to recreate the reflection.
The reflection reminds the children of the Maxims which guide our behavior and help us to properly fill in our "Blank Page," the part of sacred history that we must write.  Then, it asks, "Is it only men, women, and children who are supposed to follow rules?"  The reflection goes on to remind us of the rules followed by the sun, the moon, the stars, the seasons, etc.  There is a marvelous order to all creation.  It is not random or accidental, but rather the work of God's "intelligence of love."  The reflection concludes with the concept that the Maxims help me to insert myself into God's plan for order, peace, and harmony in all levels of creation.  I can contribute to cosmic harmony.
The timing of this presentation is good.  It definitely coordinates well with messages the child hears during Lent about repentance and conversion.  The references to laws of nature, such as the steadfast rules that govern the sun, moon, stars, and seasons, reminds the child of their recent reading of Creation accounts.  The child is also reminded of the work during our last session where they reflected on so many of God's gifts and on our personal response to God's gifts. 

Continued Conversations 
Consider looking over the Maxims listed below.  Is there one with which you are particularly struggling right now?  Is it possible your child knows you struggle with that one?  Would you consider talking about this with your child?  Could one of your Lenten commitments be to effect significant and lasting change with respect to that Maxim?  Would you want to share with your child a little about what you plan on doing to change your life to better follow that Maxim?
This coming Sunday, the Gospel is of Jesus' transfiguration in front of Peter, James, and John.  The moment of transfiguration culminates with the words, "This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him."  Are you listening?  How are you an example to your child of listening to Jesus?
It's possible (though it's a bit unclear to me) that the First Reading two Sundays from now (3/15) is of the Ten Commandments.  If so, this may give you a chance to talk about another set of "rules to live by."  In addition, sometimes people reflect on the Beatitudes as another set of rules.  These all offer ways to perform a personal examination of conscience. 
List of Maxims 
Love your enemies.  Matthew 5:44
I give you a new commandment:  Love one another as I have loved you.  John 13:34
Do good to those who hate you.  Luke 6:27
When you pray, go into a room by yourself, shut the door and pray to your Father in private.  Matthew 6:6
Ask, and you will receive.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock, and the door will be opened.  Matthew 7:7
Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  1 Cor. 6:19
You must be made perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Matthew 5:48
Say, "Yes" when you mean "Yes," and "No" when you mean "No."  Matthew 5:37
I do not say forgive seven times, but seventy times seven.  Matthew 18:22
Always treat others the way you would have them treat you.  Matthew 7:12
Give when you are asked to give, and do not turn your back on someone who wants to borrow.  Matthew 5:42
Pray for those who persecute you.  Matthew 5:44b
And the Summary of the Law:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.  Luke 10:27

Please feel free to talk to me or email me ( with your questions, comments or concerns.  Sincerely, Lina Hilko