"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Friday, February 27, 2009

On the Education of Children

A friend and I were speaking with each other at a park yesterday and I shared that our pastor had included a wonderful quote in our bulletin recently (he always does, but this one really spoke to me and it is from one of my favorite saints). It is so good in fact that I printed it out and hung it on my refrigerator.

Does it not strike you as a surprising fact that Catholic parents so often do what is asked of them from merely human motives and that everything about their homes tends to nourish luxury? They tell them how such and such a man of obscure birth has made himself famous by his eloquence or has acquired great riches and has married an heiress, that he has built himself a magnificent house and lives envied by all. Such examples are held up to the children, but the parents never think of talking to them of those who are great in the kingdom of heaven. If anyone else tries to speak of these things, the parents stop them as though they would spoil everything by such talk.

There are mothers who take great care of their daughters' health but little of their conscience. Far from forbidding them foolish or even bad books, indecent dresses, undesirable friends, indecent pictures, plays, and dances, they allow them these things and even sometimes force them upon their children. Do not such parents know that spiritual fornication is a crime among Christians; that a look may kill a soul and that a bad desire or thought is enough to rob children of innocence and grace? Some mothers think that when they have brought a child into the world they have no further duty toward it. Yet marriage was instituted and is blessed only that children may be brought up in the fear and love of God. If only parents would take the trouble, what could they not do for their children! If you do not bring up your children well, what do you do? It is the only thing you have to do; it is this that God requires of you, for this that He established Christian marriage; and it is on this that you will be judged. You reply that you have amassed a fortune for your children. Did God ask that of you? At judgment He will say: Give me an account of this soul that I confided to your care. What has become of it? It was the field, the vine that the Lord left in your hands to be cultivated. Have you brought up your children to lead holy lives? What have you taught them? Are they good? Do they fear God? Are they well instructed? Many parents will not know what to answer to these questions. They do not even know if their children are good or bad, well or ill-instructed.

St. Claude de Colombiere (1680)
On the Education of Children

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