I am still thinking about the "leisure/'what is school?'" question that I posed in the last post...
I stole a moment, before I began writing, to look at some old photographs taken of Sarah Orne Jewett's Maine of the late 1800's. I bought a beautiful hardback edition of The Country of the Pointed Firs off the Internet (Half.com) for $1 plus shipping; and, it arrived a couple of hours ago! Joy-Beth, Jay and I are working our way through Seton's two clear and compelling history books on American history for children: How America Began and How America Grew.
Last night, I attended a most inspiring talk by one of our TORCH (go here for a link to this wonderful group) mothers, who has educated her eight children at home for the past 14 years. She and her husband draw on the sacramental grace of marriage to create the "domestic church" that all Catholic families are called to be. Since I was not raised in a Catholic home, it inspires awe in me to see what is possible when we participate in all seven sacraments. We can truly shoot the moon! We should always strive to be who God has created us to be, to be the best version of ourselves. We have no excuses to settle for less than the best, as our Lord has given us all of Himself. He has given us His Most Blessed Mother. He has given us the Vicar of Christ. He has given us our Guide and our Rule, the Church, which is Him alive in the world this minute.
I was particularly touched by some of Patty's exhortations as I have, on many occasions, received the grace necessary to be what I could never be "on my own steam." The gift of home education has only come to our family through God's steady and merciful grace. I have always been intrigued by philosophy, but it was not until I became a Catholic, at the ripe old age of 33, that I realized that a true love of learning can only be possessed when all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are present. What happens when the Holy Spirit is missing? Secular culture for one. People can be very intelligent, but we are a ship with neither rudder nor captain, without God as our Guide. We are adrift, ready (and often willing!) to be blown around by myriad temptations. It is my experience that the more intelligent the person, the more temptations abound. An intelligent person ought to be aware of his need for guidance and grace. So often, this is not the case.
My point is that learning is not just a gift we possess, but it must be accompanied by the grace that we receive from our Creator. Creatures these days are all too ready to worship themselves. Humans want to invent their own religions; they want God to belong to them. The opposite reality -- that we belong to God and His Divine Will -- involves humility. Last night, I saw and heard from a very beautiful, humble child of God. My heart is so full of gratitude and love for all that God has done for me and my family. He has brought the most amazing people into our lives.
Lord, make me an instrument of your Peace. Amen