God is good. Here I am over 4,000 miles from my papers and by chance, a rare set of essays I did not know existed until a short while ago falls into my hands from a friend's book shelf. And a begging note, if any readers could please see it in their hearts to help me get my small shipment of things over to Europe from the Quad Cities in Illinois, I would be very grateful. Please pray about helping.
Not an accident. The title is The Child in the Church: Essays on the Religious Education of Children and the Training of Character by Maria Montessori, London: Sands & Co,. 1929
I wrote a book on character training over ten years ago and did not even know this book existed.
I shall share some bits from it for home schooling and other parents. In the beginning is an Apostolic Blessing from\Pope Benedict XV. Father W. Roche, who wrote the introduction states that this book is for anyone who cares about the souls of children.
I note the points rather slowly as these are new for many of you.
The first is that God has planted in every child and, therefore, in every human being, the desire for Him. This desire is more obvious in the unspoiled child, who has been allowed freedom to maintain wonder and awe in his soul. Sadly, most parents, pushing their child in front of computers and televisions, have already disturbed that natural thrust.
The second point is that a parent of educator must be sympathetic, sensitive, to this growth of religious feelings and beliefs in the young child. Paying attention and knowing what to look for are essential for the parent. Parents who are busy, like Martha (this is my metaphor) and not reflective like Mary, will miss the signs of religious sensitivity in the child.
The third point Maria Montessori makes, and I shall go into more detail in posts to come, is the the Liturgy, and that would be the TLM, the EF, is not only the magnificent expression of our faith, but "the pedagogical method"of the Church, the door to religion in the life of the child.
I hope you are as excited as I am about these words. Here is the passage on the Mass.
"The Liturgy, magnificent expression of the content of the Faith, may well be called,'the pedagogical method' of the Catholic Church which, not satisfied with teaching by means fo the word preached to the faithful, makes the various acts of religion real, makes them, as it were, live and allows the people to take part in them each day. And to find life=giving food for his soul the child has but to open these portals resplendent with divine light, portals resplendent with all the solemnity given to them through the ages, by the lives of the saints, who found in the Liturgy a means of fructifying the virgin soil of their souls, open to the sweet influence of divine grace."
May I add as a comment that the biggest problem is that parents are spoiling this fertile ground by several means.
Television, computers, too many toys, not enough silence in the day, too many activities, and so on.
I am grateful for poverty, as I had to maintain simplicity in the home, which saved my son. But, I knew this before hand because of the Montessori training.
As I learned and as I am reminded in this text, and as you know from the perfection series, the growth of the spiritual life is a process.
I shall close this post with a quotation from Pope Benedict XV from the book.
"...I implore the dear and all-powerful little ones, to stretch out to me their helping hands from the altar." We must realize that the Church is, as Montessori states, "the true place for the education for the child "and that includes home schooling parents most of all, plus our Guardian Angels.
Later on, after the theory, I shall talk about the Atrium, found in this book, but for those who like photos, here is one in a Protestant church. Amazing. The Episcopalians picked up the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, but I introduced it into at least one Catholic school years ago with success. I chose this photo because parents can set this up so easily in the home.
To be continued...