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Header-When Saints formed Children

  Biografia y Escritos de San Juan Bosco

 

"God made me to know, love, and serve Him in this world in order to be happy with Him in the next." 

Thus does the child correctly answer the catechism question of why God made him.

In consonance with this basic notion, Catholic education has traditionally meant fashioning the child's whole personality for the practice of virtue.  It thus produced children with consciences, in marked contrast to the troubled and problem children so prevalent today.

Modern schools have, for the most part, lost sight of - or utterly ignore -  the true finality of education. Let us look back then, to a time when saints formed children, leading them along the path of virtue.

Following are some selected passages from the educational guidelines laid down by Saint John Bosco in the last century. These forgotten truths are every bit as timely now as then.

 

Pray:  Novena to St. John Bosco

 

On music: "Any educational center without music is a body without a soul. Music educates, soothes, and elevates;  it is a most efficacious means for instilling discipline and contributing to morality."

St John Bosco paintingOn love for beauty: "The teacher must also help his charges perfect their sentiments for beauty. This is a natural sentiment, but it must be developed and perfected. All children have a capacity to appreciate the beauties of nature, art, and religion."

"I recall that when I was a boy my mother taught me to look up and gaze at the sky and to observe the marvels of the countryside. During the serene and starlit nights, she took me outside and showed me the heavens and said to me,  'It is God Who created the world and put so many beautiful stars above.

If the firmament is so beautiful, how will paradise be?'

And when spring came around, with its wealth of flowers across the countryside, she would exclaim: 'How many beautiful things the Lord has made for us!' And when the clouds gathered, and the skies darkened and the thunder roared: 'How powerful the Lord is! Who can resist Him? Therefore, let us not commit sins.'

And in winter, when all was covered with snow and ice, and we would gather together around the fire, she even amidst our poverty, would say: 'How grateful we should be to the Lord Who has provided us with all that is necessary! God is truly our Father: Our Father, Who art in heaven..."

 

On intellectual formation: "To cultivate only the intellect,  abandoning all the other human faculties, is to deform man."

"Intellectual education encompasses a series of norms, of practical measures and appropriate resources to provide the juvenile intelligence with the knowledge of letters and sciences indispensable and helpful for life. But the school should not presume to take the place of the family,  and much less the Church. School must teach in relation to life."

 

On moral formation: "All, or nearly all, educators see the development of the intellect as their principal responsibility to the child."

St John Bosco - photograph - hearing confession"However,  this displays a lack of prudence, for they do not understand—or else easily lose sight of—human nature and the reciprocal dependency of our faculties. They direct all their efforts to the development of the cognitive faculties and sentiments, which they erroneously and tragically confound with the faculty of love. In so doing, they completely disregard the sovereign faculty,  the will, which is the only source of true and pure love, and of which the sensibility is but a type of outward appearance."

"What is the obligation of the Christian teacher? According to the spirit of Jesus Christ and the practice of His moral law, the mother, the father or the teacher, must avoid giving a vitiated education to the children.  Providence has entrusted to them; their immediate end must be to direct the child along the path of sanctity, whose guideposts are renunciation and generosity. To communicate the spirit of sacrifice,  the teacher must direct his charges,  above all, to cultivate their reason and will without neglecting any of the other faculties."

 

On social formation: "Games are also social elements that should not be belittled. For this reason, we give them much importance. Games teach the child to control himself and not to injure or bother his companion:  to develop social sensibility, to increase habits of courtesy, affability, and manners,  to stimulate the exercise of justice and loyalty,  indispensable conditions not only for games but for all forms of social activity."

 

On religious education: "Education must develop in youth a passion for good and a hatred of evil. The teacher is duty-bound to understand that this is an effect of correspondence or lack of conformity to the will of God."

"One of the defects or vices of modern pedagogy is the reduction of religion to pure sentiment. For this reason, it does not want to speak to children about, or even name, the eternal truths: death, judgment, and much less, hell."

 St John Bosco - Image collage


From Biografia y Escritos de San Juan Bosco, Madrid: B.A.C., 1955.

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 11, 2020

Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself...

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July 11

Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly,
applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries
shall never be conquered by misfortune.
God will not chastise him in His justice,
he shall not perish by an unprovided death;
if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and
become worthy of Eternal Life.

Our Lady to St. Dominic


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Benedict of Nursia

Once a day he lowered a basket to Romanus who brought him br...

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St. Benedict of Nursia

Benedict was of a noble family in Nursia, near Rome, and had a twin sister, Scholastica, also a saint and co-founder with him.

Sent to Rome for his education, Benedict abhorred the licentiousness of his companions in the city and secretly left Rome. He found his way to the village of Enfide, where, far from the din, he realized that he was called to a life of solitude.

Climbing higher to a rugged, wild place called Subiaco, he met a hermit, Romanus, who giving him a habit of sheepskin, initiated him in the hermitical life in a cave high up in the mountain.

In this desolate place, Benedict spent three years in total solitude, once a day lowering a basket to Romanus who brought him bread and kept the secret of his whereabouts.

As the fame of the sanctity and the miraculous powers of the young recluse spread, disciples gathered. Benedict set up a system of twelve wooden monasteries, containing each twelve monks headed by a superior, himself directing all from his cave.

Once these communities where established, Benedict moved on to Monte Cassino. At the site of a big temple, he built two chapels, and around the sanctuary there gradually arose the greatest abbey the world has ever known.

Profiting from the experience at Subiaco, Benedict now no longer placed those who flocked to him in separate houses but gathered them in one establishment, ruled over by priors and deans under his general supervision. Here he also built guest rooms, for as Monte Cassino was nearer Rome, not only laymen but dignitaries came to consult with the holy founder.

It was most certainly at this period that Benedict composed his rule of monastic life, which was to influence all of Europe.

At Mount Cassino, famous for his sanctity and miracles, Benedict far from confining his care to his monks alone, extended it to the population in the surrounding country. He relieved the distressed, healed the sick, distributed alms, nourished the poor, and is said to have raised the dead on more than one occasion.

The great saint, who had foretold so many things, also foretold his own death. He notified his disciples, and bid them dig a grave six days before the end. As soon as his burial site was ready, he was struck with a fever and on the last day received Holy Communion. Then, lovingly supported by his spiritual sons, he expired, standing on his feet in his chapel, his hands uplifted to heaven.

Photo by: High Contrast

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. N...

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A Young Man and His Lady Love

In twelfth century England, a group of young men had gathered and were bragging of their various feats, as young men have done since the beginning of time.

The lively conversation went from archery to sword fighting to horsemanship, each trying to outdo the accomplishments of the others.

Finally, the young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

Thomas of Canterbury meant the most holy Virgin as the object of his affection, but afterwards, he felt some remorse at having made this boast. He did not want to offend his beloved Lady in any way.

Seeing all from her throne in heaven, Mary appeared to him in his trouble, and with a gracious sweetness said to him: "Thomas, what do you fear? You had reason to say that you loved me, and that you are beloved by me. Assure your companions of this, and as a pledge of the love I bear you, show them this gift that I make you."

The gift was a small box, containing a chasuble, blood-red in color. Mary, for the love she bore him, had obtained for him the grace to be a priest and a martyr, which indeed happened, for he was first made priest and afterwards Bishop of Canterbury, in England.

Many years later, he would indeed be persecuted by the king, and Thomas fled to the Cistercian monastery at Pontignac, in France.

Far from kith and kin, but never far from his Lady Love, he was attempting to mend his hair-cloth shirt that he usually wore and had ripped. Not being able to do it well, his beloved queen appeared to him, and, with special kindness, took the haircloth from his hand, and repaired it as it should be done.

After this, at the age of 50, he returned to Canterbury and died a martyr, having been put to death on account of his zeal for the Church.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

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