The ideal setting for the Review of life is a small group or team of 3 to 5 young people. It is not possible to do it effectively with a large group. If numbers are more than 7 then it is best to divide into smaller groups.
The review of life can be started very simply in a conversational way based on three questions in the context of the everyday life of a young person.
What has happened? Do you think this is ok or not? What will you do?
It can then be developed on the following lines:-
Three ways of doing the Review of Life
We present here three different what’s of doing the review of life. Each of them contains the same ingredients: Life situations, the gospel message, practical action. A group can vary the way they do the review of life to gain the benefits of each one or they may wish to stay with the one which is most suitable.
1. Open Review of Life
The open Review of Life is one which starts from a sharing of things that have happened to the members of the group that week. They then choose one of these and follow the See-Judge-Act method which means:
See – looking more closely at the event or incident, identifying all the relevant facts surrounding the situation, and trying to understand the causes and consequences.
Judge – discussing the values relevant to the situation, noting the rights and wrongs and drawing inspiration and guidance from the Gospel text.
Act – deciding what can be done by the person concerned and/or by the group.
The advantage of this way of doing the Review of life is that the group deal with something that is of real immediate concern to someone in the group.
2. Review of Life on a Chosen Topic
Sometimes it is helpful to choose a specific topic for the Review of Life. This topic should be one that is of current relevance to the young people in the group, to their friends or to the young people in the neighbourhood or maybe a topic that has arisen from the experiences of the group shared in an open Review of Life.
To do the Review of Life in this way a person is chosen to prepare it and together with the chaplain or another leader they draw up specific questions following the See-Judge-Act method.
eg. Topic: Young people and Leisure Time
See: How do you and young people you know spend most of their leisure time? Give an example of something that has happened in your leisure time. What influences our choice of leisure activities? What enables us to enjoy it? How do our leisure activities affect us?
Judge: What is the true purpose of leisure time? What would you consider to be a bad use of leisure time and why?
Read: Mathew 6:25-34 or Luke 14:12-14
What does this passage say to us? What does it ask us to keep in mind in deciding how to use our time?
Act: Should we make any change to the way we use our leisure time? Is their any action we can take concerning the situations we have discussed?
Other examples of topics are: Starting work, working life, media influence, use of money, health issues, local community matters etc.
The advantage of this way of doing the Review of life is that the questions and the Gospel text can be prepared in advance. It also leads the group to discuss and reflect on issues of which they might not have been aware.
3. Gospel Review of Life
It is also possible to start the Review of life with a gospel passage and then apply it to our life situations.
See: Read a passage of the gospel. Let one or two people describe the story, the content in their own words. Ask questions like:
Why did Jesus, the disciples, the main characters, other people around act or speak as they did?
What were the effects of Jesus’ words or actions, how did people react?
What particularly strikes us or surprises us?
Judge: Can we think of a situation or experience today which is like what happens in this passage? What attitudes and ways of behaving do we encounter today which are similar? What would we like to see changed? How could things be different?
Act: What are we ourselves prompted to do by this Gospel story? How can we imitate the actions or words of Jesus in our own life? What can we promise to do next week?
The benefit of this way of doing the Review of Life is that we give more time to the Gospel text. It helps us become more familiar with the story of Jesus life and with his words and actions.
further information can be found in the CIJOC - ICYCW Manual or contact the CIJOC-ICYCW International Team