Education to the Supernatural…..This does not mean education to piety.
In Christian families this is properly provided for:
The children are taught their prayers, how to go to Confession, how to prepare for Holy Communion, how to assist at Holy Mass and other church services, how to say the rosary.
All this is fine, but perhaps it is not the essential!
The important thing is to teach the child who he is, who God is, and how God wants to mingle His life with his by coming to dwell in him, consecrating him thereby as a living tabernacle of the Most High.
When the child knows all this not merely as bookish knowledge but as knowledge lived out and often recalled, exercised by his faith and his young good will, then and then only, will there be a solid foundation on which to build religious instruction, to justify and demand exercises of piety.
It is absolutely essential that before all else the child be informed of the divine riches which his baptism brought him.
It must be explained to him that the day he was carried as a little baby to be received into the Church, God came to take possession of his soul.
He should be taught that when people come into the world they do not possess this divine life.
God gave it to Adam and Eve in the beginning but they lost it.
Right here is a splendid opportunity to explain the greatness and goodness of God, the marvel of our supernatural life, how God created man greater than nature, how He wanted to make all of us His children.
The little one knows well what a father is.
Explain to him that God is our Father in order to give him what is essential in all true piety, a filial spirit and an understanding of how true it is to call God, Good.
The story of creation fascinates children; so too does the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall.
What a lesson for the child is the example of the terrible punishment incurred by disobedience! . . . The divine life is lost!
But God still loves His poor human creatures just as mamma and papa continue to love their child after he has done wrong.
And what is God going to do to give back this lost supernatural life?
When one commits a fault, he must make up for it to obtain pardon. Who can make up for such a fault? God asks His own Son to do it.
His Son will come down to earth. And then follows the beautiful story of the Christmas Crib and the timely application of these truths:
How we should pity those who do evil and if we can, help them get out of their misery, their bodily and spiritual wretchedness!
Not only will Jesus live upon earth with us but He will die for us after living more than thirty years over in a little country where we can find many souvenirs of His stay—
the little town of His birth, the workshop of His foster-father, that noble carpenter named Joseph, the villages that heard Him preach to all, and especially to children, on how to get to heaven, the place of His death upon the Cross, that place of suffering where Mary His Mother stood beneath His instrument of torture…
All that, all that so that John, Paul, James, Henry, Peter, Louise, Camille, Leonie, Germaine may be even while they are still on earth, little–and yes very great—living tabernacles of God who is Goodness itself; so that later in heaven they may be with the God of their hearts forever.
Religious instruction is not sufficiently centered; it is not centered about the central mystery of Catholicism.
Even the catechism with its divisions of Dogma, Morals and the Sacraments—divisions that are perfectly logical and understandable but more adapted to theological authors than to the souls of children—can, if we are not careful, make one forget the beautiful wholeness of Christianity which is superbly majestic in its architectural lines, clear, and pulsing with life.
It is clear that everything centers about the dogma of grace and our supernatural elevation.
The best way to develop this idea with the child is to use the technique of an object lesson and explain the rites and ceremonies of baptism to him.
That will be a little drama in which he has been the hero, and consequently, it will hold tremendous interest for him.
It is something about himself, it is his own story he hears; he will be delighted.
Describe the ceremonies graphically for the little one.
As soon as feasible, take him to church.
Before showing him the tabernacle, the Eucharistic dwelling, take him to the baptismal font:
Here is where you became a living tabernacle of God.
At the words of the priest, “Go out of this child, unclean spirit; give place to the Holy Spirit,” the devil was forced to leave you, because of the power Our Lord gave to His priests.
Then the Holy Spirit came to dwell in you. And since the Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son, God in His fullness came to dwell from then on in your heart—yes, there are three Persons, but there is just the same but one God; there are five fingers but they make only one hand—and that one God in all three Persons dwells in you.
God does not have to use an airplane like the one you saw landing from its flight the other day, but He does come down from heaven to dwell in your soul;
He came into each of us, Papa, Mamma and in you, in Henry and James and Pauline, in Genevieve and little Louise.
He comes on His own without anyone else sending Him and His coming is very real.
Besides all this, His dwelling in all of us does not keep Him from continuing to dwell in heaven, too.
He is all-powerful; it causes Him no difficulty to be at several places at once.
If He who exercises His power everywhere, comes especially into the souls of the baptized, it is to dwell there in a dwelling of love.
When your godmother or your grandfather come to spend a few years at your house, how happy you are
! It is to give you pleasure that they come; and they bring with them goodies and lovely presents….
God does the same thing when He comes to stay in you–He brings presents with Him; we call these gifts graces; that means favors, gifts He is not obliged to give but which He gives just because He is so good. Good, did we say?
Extraordinarily good! Much kinder than godmother or grandpa; kinder even than Papa or Mamma.
He is the One who made the kindness and goodness of fathers and mothers and of all good people on the earth.
Think how much greater is God’s goodness since He possesses all this goodness put together and a great deal more besides!
But then if God is like that, how ought James and Joseph and Henry and Isabelle and Louise and Madeline behave themselves?
Well, first of all, they should never do anything that would chase God from their souls; to do that is what we call mortal sin; mortal, because it forces God to leave just as if it killed Him.
God cannot die, but it is just as if the person would say to Him, “I don’t want anything more to do with You; if I could do away with You, I would do so!”
That is why mortal sin is such a vile thing. And it is not enough for you to keep from driving God out of your soul; no, there in the depths of your heart, you should try to keep Him company. Don’t you think so?
How sad that would be if He would be there within your soul and you would not pay any attention to Him, and seem to attach no importance at all to His Presence.
That would not be very nice. You ought to visit Him there within your soul, in the morning, in the evening and often during the day; speak to Him; tell Him that you love Him very much.
He who loves as a real Christian, a truly baptized soul, keeps God company since God is with him all the time.
“Now, while we deplore hasty, improvident, ill-considered marriages, and hold that their consequences are very sad, there is a very supreme kind of selfishness in this over-cautiousness to marry which is not delightful to contemplate….the fear lest self should be inconvenienced or deprived in the very slightest degree; and all this does not tend to the highest development of human nature, but rather the reverse, since the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice is one of the loveliest attributes of human character.” -Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1894