Words of wisdom from the ever wise William O’Malley S.J,

  • Heighten awareness of the miraculous order of the universe, the omnipresence of the immutable laws of physics, the innumerable elements that had to fall into place just for life, much less intelligence, to emerge from inert matter. It should help students develop sensitivity to the numinous presence of God in nature and not presume that science teachers evoke this (even Catholic ones). They don’t.
  • Slowly develop, very early on, a familiarity with centering prayer, a budding relationship with God, without which “religion” (religare, to connect) has no meaning.
  • Demand at least a rough understanding of epistemology, the study of which opinions are true and why (it establishes that subjective opinions are valid only if they are substantiated by objective facts) to challenge nearly universal relativism. Make clear that faith is not absolute certitude, as taught by Aquinas (who described absolute, physical and moral certitude) but moral certitude, which is a calculated risk.
  • Through the legends and myths of all cultures, grasp the universal truth-bearing value of stories, which makes libraries worth preserving. Few English teachers engender this.
  • Foster a felt awareness of the insidious influence of media brainwashing; it is an influence high school kids routinely deny. Brainwashing is useless if the victim is critically aware he/she is not free, so that awareness is critical.
  • Grasp what Ignatius Loyola called the radical difference between the two standards—the self-serving of the world versus the self-giving of the kingdom. After 12 years of our religious education, would most kids choose a retreat over a rock concert? Evangelize this audience.
  • Understand that morality means simply being a decent human being, while Christianity goes a quantum leap further: forgiving before a perpetrator has “earned” it.