Grades 1 - 5


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What is the difference between Forgiveness and Reconciliation?

Forgiveness is the choice to let go of a hurt.  It doesn’t require an apology and it has to do with us, not the offender.  If we hold onto anger, pain, etc., it only hurts us, even if it isn’t fair. 

Reconciliation includes forgiveness, but goes beyond it to re-establishing a friendship.   When we ask God to forgive us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, He also restores our friendship with Him. 

Let’s be clear – there are times when forgiveness is the best option, not reconciliation.  If someone hurts you and you are still in danger, you can forgive them, but it would likely not respect the temple of God that you are if you open yourself up further abuse. 

For most situations, though, we need to go beyond forgiveness to reconcile.  If people continue to be at odds with each other, there is no way that we will be living as the One Mystical Body of Christ on Earth.  The Church crumbles.  We can see what the effects of refusing forgiveness and reconciliation does to a society: look at the fear that people have of each other, look at the loneliness of people even in families.  Notice how most of us try being busy and seeming important in order to feel good about ourselves?  None of those things are getting us closer to God in Heaven – and that is the whole purpose of our lives. 

Is it easy?  NO WAY. Is it fair?  Absolutely the opposite.   But is it fair that Jesus had to be tortured and brutally murdered because of the sins we commit?  Nope.  So, I always tell people that when you forgive and reconcile as much as Jesus has done, then you can stop.  It’s hard, but we have the power of God in us! “I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13 

This is a link to a video by Tenth Avenue North called Losing – it gets to the heart of how we feel like we lose when we forgive, but truly, we are only alive and free when we do forgive as Jesus taught us.  Pay attention to the lyrics…they’ll resonate with you:



1: Why did Jesus have to go to Hell?  Jesus went to Hell because there was no way for anyone to go to heaven before Jesus paid the price for our sins!  Only what is perfect can be in heaven.  Since no souls that ever lived before Jesus died and rose again could be purified for Heaven, Jesus went to Hell to retrieve the souls that don’t belong in Hell once the Gates of Heaven were opened through the sacrifice that Jesus made.  So Jesus “descended into Hell” to take all of the good, though imperfect souls back to heaven now that the gates of heaven were opened to us. The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph #s 631-637 give more details:


2: Why Did God Make People? The only reason that people exist is because God loves us and wants us to be with Him forever in Heaven.  Since we know that God is perfect, always existed, and doesn’t need anyone or anything to make Him better (He’s already perfect, remember!), the only reason He made us is because He wants each of us individuals to exist.  God designed us with our strengths, gifts, struggles… God even knows every hair on our head ( Luke 12:7).  We (humans) were made by God, for God.  Read more in the Catechism # 27

3) How can God be 3 persons in 1 God? This isn’t something that we can fully understand because it is a mystery – something too big to fit into our limited brains.  But it helps to understand the definition of “person: a being with an intellect and will.”  Okay, maybe that doesn’t help.  But we know this Trinity to be true because of what was revealed to us by God.  There really isn’t a way for a human to understand 3 and 1 at the same time.  So it’s only by the grace of God that we “know” that God is a family. 


4) How did God Make Dirt? Actually, God created dirt.  To create means to make something from nothing.  So we humans don’t really create anything.  We can make mud pies out of dirt and water, but we didn’t created the dirt and water.  Everything humans make uses material that is already created.  God created dirt (and birds, fish, animals, sunshine, moonlight, trees, rivers, people…) from nothing.  God is known as the “Uncreated Creator” since He has always existed even before anything in the world.  So like #3, I’m not really being very helpful, but it’s true to say that God created everything in a mysterious way that our human brains can’t comprehend.  See Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are her than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

5th Grade Religious Ed Class


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