Recording the "memories" of Jesus' life with His friends and family is a wonderful way to gain more knowledge of Christ and enter more closely into the Paschal Mystery. Mrs. Miller suggests making an ongoing scrapbook project that can be started anytime of the year, and can be done individually or as a group project for all ages.
"The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother" (CCC, 469).
Many people want to deny the actual historical existence of Jesus Christ. It helps to see Jesus as our brother and as man, with friends and family just like everyone else. With the popularity of scrapbooking, why not make a scrapbook album of Family and Friends of Jesus? This album would contain memories of His friends and special events of His life. One can pretend that the album will be given as a present to Jesus.
The album would include saints that knew Christ personally (like the Apostles, St. Martha, Mary Magdalen), or were part of His family (Mary, Joseph, Sts. Joachim and Ann, St. Elizabeth, St. John the Baptist), or who wrote about His life in the Gospels (Luke and Mark). St. Paul is also included on the list as the Church considers him an Apostle. The scrapbook can also contain "memories" of special feast days related to the life of Mary and Jesus (Annunciation, Presentation, Christmas, Birth of Mary, etc.). The feast days are similar to family events that one records with pictures and memories in albums (Christmas, birthdays, baptisms, etc.).
By learning more about these saints who knew Jesus in person helps us gain more knowledge of Christ. By celebrating these feasts, we are brought to the Paschal mysteries (Christ's passion, death, resurrection and ascension), which are the center and priority of the celebration of the Liturgical Year.
A list of suggested saints and feast days have been provided, along with the Bible citations of the Mass readings. Included is the rank of the feast, and the liturgical color. The feasts of the Guardian Angels and the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are included, as they are part of the "family" – St. Gabriel appeared to Mary at the Annunciation, and all of us, including all these saints had Guardian Angels. This list is by no way complete. Some days could be added, such as Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Immaculate Conception, Chair of St. Peter, Conversion of St. Paul, or removed as desired.
This is an ongoing project, and ideal for all ages. The amount of work, caliber of supplies and what type of information you use depends on your time, talent and age level. It can be used to develop art skills, copywork practice, calligraphy practice, and other applied skills. Scrapbooks and photo albums can be found almost anywhere, ranging from inexpensive to elaborate and archival quality. Find something suitable both in price range, durability and flexibility. At minimum, it should have the capability to add and/or subtract pages and to move them around. If you intend on using just magazine cutouts and inexpensive pictures, it's not important to use acid free paper. But if you want to keep this from year to year, definitely refrain from using construction paper and newspaper.
Decide initially what purpose the album will have. Will it just contain pictures, either hand-drawn, or cut from magazines, printed from the computer or actual holycards or reproductions of famous artwork? Will it include symbols of the saints and feast days? Will it be a reference for the family, including biblical quotes, prayers, novenas, meditations, activities and recipes? Will it contain photographs of various projects and celebrations of your family on these days? Or perhaps a combination? This could be a family project, with each member contributing, or it could be an individual project, that helps with spiritual growth. The best plan is to start simply and then add on every year. Use the calendar on CatholicCulture.org for each feast day to find information on the feast, biographies, patrons, symbols, prayers, recipes and other ideas.
This project can be started during any part of the year. Since in the summer there is usually a lull in outside commitments and the Church's season is Ordinary Time, this is a good time to start this project. In July alone there are five saints' days that directly relate to the life of Christ.
Index Page For the Index page, have a picture of Jesus or His Sacred Heart in the center of the page. Surround the heart with one symbol of each saint or feast that is included in the album. The names of the saints and the page numbers could be included underneath the symbol.
Scrapbook Pages St. Martha, July 29, is the example page presented, but remember that this is only a suggestion; use the ideas as a springboard for the scrapbook.
Read the Gospel texts related to St. Martha: John 11: 1045; John 12: 1-9; Luke 10: 38-42. The Office of Readings has a sermon from St. Augustine, Sermo 103, 1-2. 6: PL 38, 613, 615. Discuss (or if this is an individual project, meditate on) the texts. Ask questions such as: What kind of friendship did Jesus have with Martha, Mary and Lazarus? What lessons did Jesus teach Martha during these events? What virtues or lesson do we learn to emulate?
Find other commentaries, such as the Navarre Bible to see the explanation of these readings.
From St. Martha one basic lesson learned is that there is both active and contemplative work. Some vocations require more of one, but we all need to stop and experience quiet to pray, meditate, contemplate. Parents' time allotted for prayer is shorter than unmarried singles or religious, but time should be set aside. Children need to learn to start putting time aside for personal prayer and spiritual reading. This will help to develop good life-long prayer habits.
Another lesson to learn is that we serve Christ our Brother when we serve others through our work, whether it be the daily duty of household chores or other charitable work outside the home. In serving others we serve our Brother Christ.
After discussing or meditating on these lessons, it is time to put the scrapbook page together. Start with a page with a white background. Use borders or decorations with a kitchen, cooking or food theme.
Title St. Martha, July 29
Pictures or drawings or holycards of St. Martha. Sources can be from the Internet, magazines, or reproductions from sacred art. Or have child recreate the scenes with Jesus in drawing or crayons or paint. Perhaps the picture could be Mary meeting Jesus at the door, and Martha in the kitchen, wearing an apron.
Symbols: Water pot and asperge; cooking utensils; ladle or skimmer; broom; bunk of keys at her girdle; two asperges; dragon bound with a girdle (symbolizing temptation resisted); torch (symbolizing enlightenment and zeal); censer (symbolizing prayer and worship); boat.
Patronage: Cooks; housewives; maids; servants; servers; single laywomen; travellers.
Quotes along page: (Print out from the computer, write in calligraphy or with fancy markers) "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." (Lk 10: 41-42).
"Jesus loved Martha and Mary and their brother Lazarus" (Antiphon, Canticle of Mary)
"Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world" (Jn 11:27)
Foods: Ratatouille; foods that Jesus would have eaten that Martha prepared.
Geography notes, customs of New Testament times.
Prayer: Father, your Son honored St. Martha by coming to her home as a guest. By her prayers may we serve Christ in our brothers and sisters and be welcomed by you into heaven, our true home. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen This prayer is from the Collect (Opening Prayer) of Mass; the same prayer is used as the Closing Prayer for Morning and Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours.
Other illustrations: people serving others; people cooking, serving food, pictures of Lazarus rising from dead; pictures or map of Bethany, during the time of Christ; type of house that Martha would have resided, etc. http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=1131