Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
September 23, 2007
Going For the GoldWe are already in the latter part of September and, as a parish, we are preparing to enter into a new year of Christian Formation. This time of the year affects different people in various ways. Some look forward to it because they see it as a good way of getting their family to church with little or no argument. Others see it as a time of anguish for the exact opposite response. Still others see this time period precisely for what it is meant to be, i.e., a time to educate themselves and their children in the life of Christ and his church.
Last week’s issue of the America magazine had an excellent article on education. In the article, James J. Digiacomo, S.J., takes a realistic view of Religious Education in our present time. He begins by suggesting that future generations of Catholics could call our era “the bad old days.” This is not a very positive outlook on our present situation. For Catholic parents and Religious Education directors and teachers, it could be a devastating blow to efforts, not to mention to our egos. But, if we really want to be honest, we must admit that there is a tremendous amount of truth to the matter. What can be done about our plight?
The author proceeds to give us a viable alternative to these “bad old days.” He uses the ever popular symbols of the Olympic awards, the Gold, the Silver and the Bronze medals. With this analogy he leads us to understand the difference between the good, the very good, and the great. We must remember that, as parents and teachers we must always aim for the gold. Even those athletes who know they are not the best, aim for the Gold. Otherwise they end up with nothing at all. Everyone aims for the Gold in sports. Otherwise there is no point in being there. Why would we not aim for the best in matters of Faith ? Don’t we owe this to our children?
In aiming for the Gold we strive to achieve an outcome that reflects a well-informed, convinced young believer who identifies with the faith community and participates in the sacramental life of the church. They also aspire to a life influenced by Christian values. This includes moral sensitivity and a developing social conscience.
In aiming for the Silver we will see that the young person, although not convinced of or practicing their faith, will be religiously literate. They at least know what well-informed Catholics and other Christians believe and stand for and why it is important to them. They also want to lead morally responsible lives.
In aiming for the Bronze we see that the young person is unresponsive to religious insights or concerns and has a basically secular outlook on life. Yet they take moral questions seriously, care about justice and are learning how to form their conscience.
Some of us may say, I would be so lucky as to get a Bronze medal in anything at all. If my child attains such a medal I would be proud of him or her. The problem with this thought process however, is that in aiming for the Bronze, the chances of our falling short and getting nothing at all is a very strong possibility. Over the next few weeks, let us take some time to reflect on what we really want for our children. Do we want something that is just good enough or do we want the best spiritual health available?
Lorette P. Nault