EDUCATE IN THE FAITH IN TODAY’S WORLD
Luke’s story ends by saying: «The child grew to maturity; he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favor was with him».
When we speak today about «educating in the faith», what are we trying to say? Concretely, the objective is that our children understand and live responsibly and coherently their connection to Jesus Christ, learning to live in a healthy and positive manner from the Gospel.
But today the faith can’t be lived in just any old way. Our children need to learn to be believers in the midst of a society that’s been de-Christianized. That demands that they live a personalized faith, not by tradition but as a fruit of a personal decision; a faith that is lived and experienced, that is to say, a faith that is nourished not by ideas and doctrines, but by a gratifying experience; a faith that isn’t individualist, but is shared somehow in a believing community; a faith centered on what’s essential, that can co-exist with doubts and questions; a faith that isn’t shamefaced, but committed and witnessed in the midst of an indifferent society.
This demands a whole style of educating today in the faith where what’s important is transmitting an experience that is more than ideas and doctrines; teaching to live Christian values more than the subjection to some norms; developing personal responsibility more than imposing customs; introducing into the Christian community more than developing religious individualism; cultivating a trusting contact with Jesus more than abstractly solving problems of faith.
In the education of the faith, what’s decisive is example. That our children can find in their own home «models of identification»; that they don’t find it difficult to know how someone ought to carry themselves in order to live their faith in a healthy, joyful and responsible way.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf