The Art of Teaching

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“The art of teaching is a vocation. It calls for fitness and training as well as a consecration; hence it is a special kind of vocation. Whether one is called upon to teach religion or one of the secular subjects is of no vital concern. All knowledge comes from God and is a remote reflection of His divine wisdom. The teacher participates in the creative power of God in the sense that he forms and educates the mind and will and other spiritual powers which the Creator left for others to develop in His children. The ultimate objective of education is to know God better, to love Him unselfishly, and to serve Him prayerfully.

“Pope Pius XI, in his famous encyclical, “On the Christian Education of Youth,” thus defines the aim and nature of Catholic education:

This is the preeminent educational mission of the Church… The proper and immediate end of Christian education is to co-operate with divine grace in forming the true and perfect Christian, that is, to form Christ Himself in those regenerated by baptism… For the true Christian must live a supernatural life in Christ.

“The teacher’s vocation is a dedicated service that is second to none in importance. Speaking particularly of the priest’s obligation to teach religion, a document of the Holy See declares: ‘The office of teaching has precedence over the sacramental and liturgical ministry according to the divine command of Christ to the Apostles. The Apostles, obeying this command, placed the work of teaching ahead of any other activity; for St. Paul himself could affirm, “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel.” The reason for the precedence of the teaching office is evident; one cannot enrich the soul with grace if it has not first been enlightened with truth.'”

– Very Rev. Joseph B. Collins, SS; Confraternity Teacher’s Guide (1960)