The great theme of our third grade curriculum is Love - Sacrificial Love - the kind Christ has for us. This lesson is one of my favorites because the children make sacrifice beads. They might be a nice little project for you to make at home. I used mine during Lent last year, and I think they really helped me do a better job at loving-kindness than I would have done without their reminder!
+ Sacrifice Beads
St. Therese of Lisieux said, “We can only respond to love with love.” St. Therese spent her life making "little presents" for God - trying to please Him every minute of every day through loving sacrifice. We can also use sacrifice beads to help us respond in our little way to Jesus’ great sacrifice for us.
When Therese was a child, her older sister, Marie gave her a special string of beads on which to count her gifts for God throughout the day. When Therese did something to please God, she would pull a bead up the string. At the end of the day she would count her little sacrifices, offering them to God as a part of her night prayers. These "presents" could be any act of kindness or unselfishness toward another person, any time she was cheerfully obedient, or any time that kindness or generosity was chosen over selfishness. Some examples we gave the children included, eating what is served to us without complaining, cheerfully following directions the first time given, offering to help, sharing, letting others go first, or have the last piece of something...and so on.
This simple string of beads can serve as a reminder to anyone of any age of the many chances that we have each day to please God. These beads are a way to challenge ourselves to grow ever more holy. Like St. Therese, we can try to please God with small gifts of love and sacrifice whatever our day may bring.
We tell the children not to be discouraged if they are unable to pull many beads at first. As we work at it, we will find more and more opportunities in our day for these little acts of holiness. Stick with it for a while, and you will be surprised by how much joy you will find in giving these little gifts to God.
Marie, an artist, later drew this picture of the day
she gave her little sister the beads.