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What Is Love? - Discussion and Reflection Questions

This What Is Love? lesson plan helps young people understand what love truly means from a Catholic perspective. It is designed to engage them in discussions and reflections that explore love's different aspects. The aim is to make them see how love is more than just a feeling; it's an action and commitment that reflects God's love for us.

Through various activities and questions, the What Is Love? lesson plan encourages youth to think about how they experience and show love in their lives. They will learn about love's importance in relationships, both with God and others. This is a chance for them to discover how love can guide them to live better lives.

The plan also includes reflections on what the Bible and the teachings of the Catholic Church say about love. This will help the youth understand that love is at the heart of Christian life. It's not just about loving those who are easy to love, but also about showing love and kindness to everyone.

By the end of the What Is Love? lesson, the youth will have a deeper understanding of love. They will see how it's connected to faith, how it should be expressed, and why it's essential for a fulfilling life. This lesson is not just about learning; it's about growing in faith and love.

Opening Activity for the What Is Love? Lesson Plan

Give everyone a pencil and a sheet of paper.

You all have one minute to write down everything you love. Go!

After a minute, have them stop and share their lists.

  • Now, how many of these things would you be willing to make a sacrifice for?
  • Is there one thing on your list that you would be willing to give up all of the others for?

Love is a pretty broad word and it can mean a lot of different things. If I say I love ice cream that means something very different than to say I love my friend. I'd probably be willing to sacrifice more to help my friend than I would be willing to give up for a bowl of ice cream.

Go back through your lists and scratch off the things which you really only like, even though you like them a lot. So remove the ice cream type things. Keep those you truly love on your list.

Scripture Reading for the What Is Love? Lesson Plan

Read the gospel:

John 10:11-18 (Jesus the Good Shepherd) - the Gospel Reading for the 4th Sunday of Easter - Year B

Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.

I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.

This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.

This command I have received from my Father.”

John 10:11-18

Discussion for the What Is Love? Lesson Plan

Jesus is not talking about the ice cream kind of love here. The type of love Jesus shows us is sacrificial love. He is willing to give up everything, even his own life, for us.

  • How does Jesus' unbounded love impact your life?
  • Do you feel like you can trust Him because He loves you so much?
  • When you are stressed or afraid, does it help to know that He cares for you and understands you?
  • How does the image of the Good Shepherd make you feel?

That's a really difficult thing to do. When we look at our list of loves, how many would we be willing to die for? That's asking a lot.

Hopefully we will never be asked to do that. But we are often asked to make little sacrifices for love. To love is to want what is best for someone, even when it is hard.

Imagine you have tried out for the school play. Your friend got the lead part, even though you really wanted it. Are you going to be happy for her, because she's really talented? Or are you going to hold a grudge? In this case, you might need to sacrifice your pride and your need to appear to be the best. And that can free you from any resentment and help you truly be happy for your friend and support her.

Maybe you were invited to a friend's party. But your mom needs you to babysit your little brother. You can choose to be upset and let your unhappiness control how you interact with your little brother when you are watching him. Or you can look at it as an act of sacrifice to help your family, whom you really do love, and do it with a willing spirit.

Maybe you have put away some money to buy some new clothes. You don't really need more clothes, but they are the latest. And then you hear the talk from the missionary from Africa. There are some school kids there who need uniforms. You feel your heart tugging at you to help. Will you give up some of the money you saved to help them? That would be a real sacrifice. And you don't know them. But you can still choose to love them.

  • Can you think of some examples of sacrificial love from your own life?
  • What is difficult about making a sacrifice for the good of another?
  • What is easy about making a sacrifice?
  • Does thinking about Jesus as our example for love help?

If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, spend some time in prayer with the Good Shepherd. Reach out to someone who loves you, knowing that they want what is best for you.

If you are presented with an opportunity to make an act of sacrificial love, pray with the Good Shepherd on that also. Know that He sees your act of sacrifice, no matter how small, even if nobody else does. And know that if you cannot bring yourself to make a sacrifice, He still loves you with all of His heart.

Small Group Reflection Questions for the What Is Love? Lesson Plan

  • Personal Reflection: How has understanding Jesus' love changed the way you see love in your own life?
  • Action-Oriented: What is one specific way you can show love to someone who may not expect it from you this week?
  • Challenges in Love: Share a time when it was difficult to love others. How did you overcome that challenge?
  • Seeing Love in Others: Can you think of an example when someone showed you love in an unexpected way? How did that make you feel?
  • Love in the Community: How can our group act together to show love to our wider community?
  • Forgiveness and Love: Discuss a time when forgiving someone deepened your understanding of love.
  • The Role of Faith: How does your faith help you love people who are different from you?
  • Love and Sacrifice: Talk about a moment when you saw love expressed through sacrifice. What impact did it have on you?
  • Love in Action: What is one act of love you've witnessed within this group that inspired you?
  • Future Steps: How can we support each other in our commitment to live out the love we've discussed?

Challenge for the What Is Love? Lesson Plan

This week's challenge involves deepening your understanding and appreciation of the love Jesus has shown for you, encouraging you to reflect on and respond to this love in tangible ways. Here's are some ideas:

  • Daily Reflection: Each day, take a few moments to reflect on a specific instance or story from the Gospels where Jesus demonstrated love. Consider how these actions (healing the sick, forgiving sinners, teaching the multitudes) showcase His love not just for the individuals involved but for all humanity, including you.
  • Journaling: Keep a daily journal where you write down your thoughts about the day's reflection. How does the example of Jesus' love challenge or inspire you? Are there ways you can emulate this love in your interactions with others?
  • Acts of Love: Identify one act of love you can perform each day inspired by the love Jesus has shown. This could range from offering forgiveness, lending a helping hand, providing comfort, or simply being present for someone in need. Aim for these acts to reflect Jesus' unconditional love, focusing on both those close to you and those in wider community circles who might be overlooked or marginalized.
  • Group Discussion: If possible, organize a group discussion towards the end of the week with your peers who are also taking part in the challenge. Share your reflections, experiences, and the acts of love you performed. Discussing with others can provide new insights and understandings, deepening the impact of your reflections and actions.
  • Prayer: Start and end your day with a prayer, asking for the grace to recognize Jesus' love in your life and the strength to reflect that love in your actions. Thank God for His love and ask for guidance on how to best share this love with those around you.

Prayer for the What Is Love? Lesson Plan

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for teaching us about love through Your Son, Jesus. Help us to understand and share the love You have shown us. Guide us to love others as Jesus loves us, with kindness, patience, and compassion. May the lessons we've learned inspire us to act in love every day. Bless us with the courage to show Your love in all we do. Amen.

More Resources for the What Is Love? Lesson Plan

Themes for the What Is Love? Lesson Plan

  • What Is Love in the Bible: Exploring how love is defined and exemplified in biblical stories and teachings.
  • What Is Love in Action: Understanding how love is shown through actions and deeds, not just feelings or words.
  • What Is Love in Forgiveness: Discussing the role of forgiveness in love and how it reflects Jesus' teachings.
  • What Is Love in Community: Examining how love functions within a community, promoting unity and support.
  • What Is Love in Sacrifice: Identifying the connections between love and sacrifice, particularly in the context of Jesus' sacrifice for humanity.
  • What Is Love in Daily Life: Looking at practical ways to live out love in everyday interactions and decisions.
  • What Is Love in the Church's Teachings: Delving into how the Catholic Church interprets and teaches about love.
  • What Is Love in Relationships: Understanding love's role in various types of relationships, including family, friends, and romantic partnerships.
  • What Is Love in Service: Exploring how love motivates service to others and how this service strengthens communities.
  • What Is Love in Prayer: Reflecting on how love is expressed and grown through prayer and a personal relationship with God.

Background Material for the What Is Love? Lesson Plan

The "What Is Love?" lesson plan is rooted deeply in the rich traditions and teachings of the Catholic Church, which views love as the fundamental calling of every Christian. This lesson plan draws inspiration from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and writings of the saints to provide a comprehensive understanding of love from a Catholic perspective.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "God is love, and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image. . . God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion" (CCC 2331). This highlights the belief that love is not just a human emotion or choice but a reflection of the very nature of God.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" (God Is Love), explores the concept of love as being at the heart of the Christian faith. He states, "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction". This emphasizes that love in the Christian life is a response to encountering Jesus Christ, who is love personified.

Saint Therese of Lisieux, known for her "little way" of spiritual childhood, offers a practical model of how love can be lived out in everyday actions. She believed in doing small things with great love, saying, "What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love" (Story of a Soul). Her approach underscores the idea that love is accessible and achievable for everyone, not just through grand gestures, but in simple, daily acts of kindness and compassion.

Through these Catholic sources, the "What Is Love?" lesson plan seeks to guide young people in exploring the depth and breadth of Christian love. It aims to inspire them to embody this love in their relationships with God and others, following the examples set forth by Scripture, the Church's teachings, and the lives of the saints.

Music Suggestions for the What Is Love? Lesson Plan

Youth Ministry Lesson Plans
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Free Youth Ministry Lesson Plans and Reflections

This collection of youth ministry lesson plans and reflections offers a comprehensive guide for engaging young Catholics in their faith journey. Covering a wide range of topics, from understanding sacraments to exploring moral decisions, each plan is designed to foster deep reflection and meaningful discussion. The "What Is Love?" lesson plan is a key part of this collection, inviting youth to explore the Christian understanding of love in a thoughtful and interactive way. Perfect for youth groups, Sunday school classes, or individual study, these free plans are valuable resources for any youth ministry program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is "What Is Love" lesson plan about?

The "What Is Love" lesson plan is designed to help young people understand love from a Catholic viewpoint. It involves discussions, reflections, and activities that explore the nature of love, its importance in our lives, and how we can express it in line with Catholic teachings.

Who should participate in the "What Is Love" lesson plan?

This lesson plan is suitable for young people, especially those involved in Catholic education programs like Sunday school, youth groups, or confirmation classes. It's tailored for teenagers and young adults who are interested in deepening their understanding of love from a faith perspective.

How long does the "What Is Love" lesson plan take to complete?

The duration of the lesson plan can vary depending on the group's size, their engagement level, and how in-depth the discussions go. It's flexible to accommodate different settings, but is typically about one hour.

Can the "What Is Love" lesson plan be adapted for different age groups?

Yes, the lesson plan is versatile and can be adjusted to suit different age groups. For younger participants, you might simplify some of the concepts or discussions. For older teens or young adults, you can dive deeper into theological and philosophical aspects of love as taught by the Catholic Church.

Is there a follow-up to the "What Is Love" lesson plan?

While the plan is standalone, it opens the door for further exploration of related themes, such as Christian service, the sacraments, and vocational discernment. Leaders are encouraged to build upon the insights gained from this lesson with additional activities and discussions that explore living a life of love more deeply.


The "What Is Love?" lesson plan offers young Catholics a valuable opportunity to delve into the essence of love from a faith-based perspective. Through guided discussions, reflective questions, and interactive activities, participants are encouraged to explore the multi-faceted nature of love as understood within the Catholic tradition. This experience is not just about learning definitions; it's about recognizing love as a central element of our faith and daily lives, deeply rooted in God's love for us and our call to love others.

By engaging with this lesson plan, youth are invited to reflect on their relationships, actions, and choices through the lens of Christian love. It challenges them to think beyond the superficial representations of love often portrayed in media and society, guiding them towards a more meaningful, selfless, and Christ-centered understanding of love. This process of reflection and learning is crucial for personal growth and spiritual development, helping young Catholics to become more compassionate and loving individuals.

Moreover, the "What Is Love?" lesson plan serves as a foundation for ongoing discussions about faith, morality, and ethics. It opens the door for deeper exploration into how love influences our interactions with family, friends, and the wider community. It encourages young people to live out the commandment to love one another, fostering a sense of empathy, service, and commitment to the common good.

The "What Is Love?" lesson plan is a valuable educational tool that enriches young Catholics' understanding of love. By grounding the concept of love in faith and scripture, it empowers them to lead lives that reflect the love of Christ in their actions and relationships. This lesson is not just a one-time discussion; it's a stepping stone towards a lifetime of loving as Jesus taught us, serving as a constant reminder of the power and importance of love in our lives.

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