Did you know that God has sent you a personal invitation to learn your faith anew? Did you know that God has given you a second chance to internalize your faith?
Our children are God’s invitation to learn our faith all over again and, this time, to internalize it.
I was struck by this when, during the Advent season, I read Quas Primas, an Encyclical on the Feast of Christ the King written in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. What a great read. You can read it at EWTN website: http://www.ewtn.com/library/encyc/p11prima.htm
There’s a lot I could highlight and tip my cursor at, but the part I’m especially focused on this liturgical year is this excerpt:
(21) “For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church (emphasis mine). Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year—in fact, forever. The church’s teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man’s nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God’s teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life.”
It goes on, of course, but this is the main flux.
I love this! I love that Pope Pius XI confirmed my 21st century mothering instincts years outside of each other. He agreed that the feasts of the Church do indeed reach all people and affects both mind and heart! Can children be taught in any other way?
He tells us that most of the faithful are not “the more learned” but are, in fact, “only a few” and we are assured that:
“For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church.”
This sentence alone directs the steps of parents in teaching the Catholic faith to our children.
That the Church embraces feasting makes me want to be a child again. It makes me happy to belong to a Church who invites and welcomes the little children towards the altar of God. That the Church has given us such a beautiful, rich, eventful tool—the liturgical calendar—to focus on and plan our feastings upon, speaks to my creative side…the side I share with my God the creator. That the Pontiff agrees with me that I should focus on these feasts within my home makes me almost giddy…like a child. A Catholic child in the 21st century!
Copyright 2011 Cay Gibson