District Superior's Letter: Feb 2009
One of the things that always strikes me most in visiting our priories, schools and chapels throughout the District, is the numerous young families and the many children—and I can see that there stands the future. It is mainly through educating the youth in a profoundly Catholic manner that we will best work towards restoring everything in Our Lord Jesus Christ...
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
One of the things that always strikes me most in visiting our priories, schools and chapels throughout the District, is the numerous young families and the many children—and I can see that there stands the future. It is mainly through educating the youth in a profoundly Catholic manner that we will best work towards restoring everything in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
But this is for no one an easy endeavor, particularly for you parents, since educating is “the art of arts, the science of sciences”, according to St. Gregory Nazianzen. If this is so, then we all, parents especially, need to learn this art and science. Many believe that just because they are parents, they know how to bring up children as if this were an infused knowledge or ability. But as a matter of fact, like any other science, it is not and thus we have to learn it. Even if one has natural talent in this area, it remains a skill which we must learn to improve on, and thus we must be humble enough to acknowledge this fact.
Education is a matter of developing all the faculties of a child in order to enhance all his abilities so that he becomes an adult. We are talking about physical education, intellectual education and moral education. Physical education means simply to develop good health and good physical conditions for the body to grow; intellectual education means, of course, to raise the intellect to the highest level possible according to each individual’s capacity. But it is important to specify that it is not merely the acquiring of a certain level of knowledge or level of academic studies (this is important but not sufficient)—It is mostly and above all to form minds turned towards the Truth and steeped in a Catholic spirit. By moral education we refer to the training of the will (which is not an easy task); that is to develop virtues (good habits), so that the will can follow the light given by a well-formed intelligence.
It would be a mistake to believe that these abilities could develop by themselves, without being guided or helped. Because of original sin, the body and soul of every newborn child are weakened. The body needs to be taken care of in order to grow up properly and the mind needs to be educated, in order to be corrected by good natural principles and by the true Faith. Also, the will being weak needs to be strengthened and trained. Therefore, to believe that children can be raised without being corrected in all their weaknesses and faults is to deny, in practice, original sin and its consequences in us.
That is one of the reasons why the Church has received the mission to teach all nations; to teach the Revelation, to teach how to practice the Faith, to teach how to live saintly lives, and therefore, how to educate. Consequently, the Catholic Church has always built schools, universities, etc. to fulfill this duty and it is the obligation of the priests to help and advise parents in educating their children.
I would like to express my support of all those who work in the education field of the Society of St. Pius X—particularly the priests, brothers, and various sisters who give their lives, time and efforts in educating the children of our faithful—and also to the teachers and all those who assist in any way in our schools, dedicating themselves for the good of the students. I commend as well the parents, of course, who make so many sacrifices in order to place their children in true Catholic schools.
I would also like to thank the generous benefactors of our schools in particular. Schools are very expensive to run and we absolutely depend upon your help. Thank you sincerely for your generosity and kindness.
The final goal for every one of us is of course Heaven. Thus it is also our duty to lead the children entrusted to us there, and in so doing, to deserve a place in Heaven ourselves. On this point we will certainly be judged, as St. John Chrysostom wrote: “The parents who will raise in a Christian way their children, will be rewarded. They will be harshly punished if they neglect that education.” Knowing that this work is not easy, but bearing in mind that by educating our children we contribute to the restoration of all things in our Lord Jesus Christ, let us be generous in undertaking this great task.
With my blessing and prayers, in the Immaculate Heart,
Fr. Arnaud Rostand