HOW TO EDUCATE IN THE FAITH TODAY
The passage of Luke ends by saying: «As 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 do we mean? Concretely, the objective is that our children understand and live their adhesion to Jesus Christ in a way that’s responsible and coherent, learning to live in a healthy and positive way from the Gospel.
But today’s faith can’t be lived out just any old way. Our children need to learn to be believers in the midst of a de-Christianized society. That demands living a personalized faith, not through tradition, but as a fruit of a personal decision; a faith that is lived and experienced, that is, a faith that is nourished not by ideas and doctrines, but by a thankful experience; not an individualist faith, but one shared somehow in a believing community; not an embarrassed faith, but one committed and witnessed in the middle 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 rather than the subjection to some norms; developing personal responsibility rather than imposing customs; introducing into the Christian community rather than developing religious individualism; cultivating the trusting adhesion to Jesus rather than abstractly resolving problems of faith.
In the education of the faith, what’s decisive is example. May our children be able to find in their own home «models of identification», may it not be hard for them to know how one ought to behave in order to live their faith in a way that’s healthy, joyful and responsible.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf