believe in the Marks of Catholic Education and propose a plan of study with the "Classical Catholic" Model of education.
Explore a Faith, Hope and Love approach to Catholic Apologetics and journey with me through Emmaus Moments which include my
personal reflections on how we learn more about the Faith with as we teach our children.
Also in our future plans, is a series of Catholic
Unit Study Starters on topic studies for Catholic Education, one of which will be Heritage and Heraldry: A Genealogy of the
Catholic Church in America.
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As Catholics we have a responsibility to
present the fullness of the Truth. As educators we will not easily find the “Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but
the Truth” in a prepared plan of study or in common textbooks.
of our choice of curriculum we should be able to connect any subject area to the Truths of our Faith. Since I did not find
a ready-made handbook for Catholic curriculum connections I decided to create one for myself. I am now sharing with you, my
humble attempt at providing a reference handbook for Catholic educators. My ultimate goal was to provide a “snapshot”
of the basics of Catholic education and to provide connections to the Faith in each subject area.
As I was first beginning to put my thoughts on paper I ran across The Enchiridion by
Saint Augustine. A young man had asked Augustine to provide him with a handbook of Christian doctrine, containing brief answers
to several questions.
You are anxious, you say, that I should write a sort of handbook for you, which
you might always keep beside you, containing answers to the questions you put, viz.: what ought to be man’s chief end
in life; what he ought in view of the various heresies, chiefly to avoid; to what extent religion is supported by reason;
what there is in reason that lends no support to faith, when faith stands alone; what is the starting-point, what the goal,
of religion; what is the sum of the whole body of doctrine; what is the sure and proper foundation of the Catholic faith.
Now undoubtedly, you will know the answers to all these questions, if you know thoroughly the proper objects of
faith, hope, and love. (emphasis added). For these must be the chief, nay the exclusive objects of pursuit in
I read that
passage and thought, what in the world am I trying to do? A famous saint simplified the whole of our Catholic teachings to
the three theological virtues. How could something that seems so overwhelming be reduced to such simplicity?
Augustine went on to say:
Now you ask of me a handbook, that is, one that can be carried in the hand,
not one to load on your shelves. To return, then, to the three graces through which, as I have said, God should be worshipped
– faith, hope, and love: to state what are the true and proper objects of each of these is easy. But to defend this
true doctrine against the assaults of those who hold an opposite opinion, requires much more elaborated instruction. And the
true way to obtain this instruction is not to have a short treatise put in one’s hands, but to have a great zeal kindled
in one’s heart.
I thought, maybe there is hope for me yet. I do have the desire, the zeal. This project has been in the works for well over
a year and I am often struck with thoughts and ideas in the middle of the night. To me that is a sign that I must persevere.
Virtues|| How the Virtues are Fulfilled in the Catholic Faith||Our
| Faith|| Fullness of the Truth|| What we Believe|| Facts|
| Hope|| Heritage of
Apostolic Succession|| Who we Are|| Understanding|
| Love|| Living Bread
in the True Presence|| How we Live|| Application|
Working off the writing of St. Augustine,
I began to realize that there are three basic elements that the Catholic Church possesses that no other Protestant church
can claim. Taking St. Augustine's three basic "objects of pursuit in religion," namely Faith, Hope and Love
and applying a touch of classical thinking to the mix - here is what I came up with:
We have the Fullness
of the Truth. Christians basically believe many of the same fundamental truths, however, they are missing some part
of the whole picture. It stands to reason when you consider that the Catholic Faith was the original Christian Faith until
Martin Luther in the 1500's started the heresy of Protestantism. He protested against some of the practices and
teachings of the Catholic Church and started his own church. Our Church's fundamental teachings are contained in the twelve
articles of the Apostles Creed. That teaching has not changed in over 2000 years. Doctrines have been further defined and
practices may have changed, but the teaching has remained the same.
Peter, in the New Testament was clearly handed the "Keys of the Kingdom." He was the first
Pope, and the first Church created was Catholic. In order to understand this fully you must read the writings of the Apostles
(the Didiche) and the writings of the Early Fathers of the Church. Just as God preserved the family line from David through
Jesus in the Old Testament, even during the time of the Divided Kingdoms, God has preserved the family line of the Catholic
Church from the time of the Last Supper in the New Testament. We have the Heritage of Apostolic Succession.
Peter was the first Pope; the Apostles were the first priests and bishops of our Church. That true family line of leadership
through the Popes of our Church has not been broken since the time of the Apostles. Even in the times of the anti-popes there
remained a true Pope. God promised that He would never let that line be broken.
It was through the ultimate act of Jesus' love and sacrifice that we were
given the Living Bread in the True Presence of the Holy Eucharist. This is no simple symbol of Christ. This
is, through the powers invested in the role of the Catholic priesthood, the True Presence of Christ: Body, Blood, Soul and
Divinity. Thanks to a wonderful Catholic woman I always know the meaning of Transubstantiation. When I was a young girl, I
helped this woman and her family plant a garden. On the way home she was asking me a few questions about the Catholic Faith.
Then she asked me THE question: Is the Eucharist a symbol of Christ or is it really Christ's physical Body and Blood.
Well, I answered wrongly that it was only a symbol. She was aghast that a student attending a Catholic school would not know
such a teaching. After the lecture I received I will forever warmly remember the meaning of Transubstantiation (Although
the appearance remains the same, the original substance of the bread and wine is changed to the physical Body and Blood of
Christ at the Consecration of the Mass). This teaching is illustrated so clearly in the Bible story of the Road to Emmaus.