Supernatural Love: “Teaching is not the principal thing…”

The teacher of religion should love his students with a love which sees in them the image of Christ. He should love them even as our Lord loved children and took them to His heart when He was on earth. ‘The charity of Jesus Christ,’ wrote Bishop Dupanloup, ‘and your love for children will inspire in you a disinterested and enlightened devotion toward them. In a well-conducted class, teaching is not the principal thing, the chief thing is piety and personal, affectionate influence on the children.’

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

Photo by Rodrigo_Soldon / flickrCC

3 Minute Retreat: Never Forgotten

My next reflection was posted today for Loyola Press’s 3-Minute Retreat!  You can view the retreat on the  3-Minute Retreat web site  or  Facebook page. (It really does only take three minutes!)


I have a secret: I’ve envied my wife whenever she’s been pregnant. OK, maybe not for the morning sickness or back pain! But she gets a head start on developing a relationship with our children. She gets nine months of deep intimacy which is available to me only dimly. She knows that child in ways I can only imagine “ just as God knows us in such tender, intimate ways. Even when we sin and turn our back on him, God extends a love even deeper than my wife’s love for our children. That’s thrilling, awe-inspiring, and maybe a little terrifying! But such is the way that God carries us, knows us, loves us.

“No other objective than to arrive at love”

The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.

The Roman Catechism  no. 10 (quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

‘Greater love than this’

In the War, two friends were out with a night patrol together. When the party returned under heavy fire to their trenches, one of the friends was found to be missing. By this time it was getting light, and almost certain death to be out on top, but the one friend insisted on crawling out to look for the other, and reluctantly the officer gave permission. He was watched slowly working his way into no-man’s-land, from shell-hole to shell-hole, and at last could be seen no more. When it became dusk again he crawled back and dropped into the trench, himself mortally wounded. While the stretcher-bearers were attending to him, the officer said: ‘Well, I hear you found your friend.’ ‘Yes, sir, but he only lived for a few minutes.’ ‘I’m afraid it was hardly worth it ”I wish I hadn’t let you go.’ ‘Oh, yes, sir, it was worth it. He said “Good old Jack ”I knew you would come!”‘

Our Lord’s love for us is like that ”He would give His life again for each one, if it were necessary.

– Rev. F.H. Drinkwater, Catechism Stories Part I: the Creed (1939)

Descendit de caelis

A few months back, while going through some materials around the office, I came across a series of small books by a certain Fr. F.H. Drinkwater containing stories illustrating certain points in the Abbreviated Catechism of the Diocese of Birmingham (England). The stories themselves are charming and, on occasion, I may reprint one here (as near as I can tell the copyright on the books has expired).

This story, appropriate for the season, offers an excellent lesson on the meaning of the Incarnation:

There is a story of a young king in the olden days who really cared about his people, and was grieved to know how much they suffered from hunger and cold and pestilence. He did what he could by gifts of clothes and food, but his own resources were scanty, and the people were often too ignorant to do the best for themselves. When the king tried to teach them better ways of farming and building, he people made little response. ‘It’s no good telling the King ot troubles,’ they would say. ‘He could never understand what it is to work or to be hungry and cold.’

The young king felt discouraged and went to a wise old minister and asked his advice.

‘How can I win the confidence of my people?’ he said. ‘I want to show them how to put an end to some of their misfortunes, and help them to bear the others with courage. They do not know their king cares about them — tell me how I can make them understand.’

‘There would be only one way, I think, Your Majesty.’

‘Tell me, for God’s sake.’

‘If Your Majesty could go and live amongst them, not as king, but as one of themselves….’

That night a poorly-clad man left the palace; no one recognized the King and no one knew his secret but the old minister and two or three trusted servants. It was given out that the King had gone on a foreign journey. For months he lived in a poor hut, and lived and ate and worked as a peasant, tended the sick and helped the workers. His fellows soon got to love him and came to him for help and advice, and were very sorry when he said good-bye to them.

When he reappeared at the palace and once more went amongst the people in royal fashion, he was soon recognised by those who had known him as a labourer. the story spread, and thenceforward his people loved and trusted him because he had shown that he loved and cared for them.

To make us understand God’s love for us was the purpose of the Incarnation.

– Rev. F.H. Drinkwater, Catechism Stories Part I: the Creed (1939)