Word Magazine March 1963 Page 8
“GO YE THEREFORE AND TEACH ALL NATIONS..”
By Rev. Robert E. Lucas
The Divine Commandment enjoins us all to teach others the faith of Christ. Many Orthodox Catholic parishes are just being made aware of their obligation to illucidate the principles of Orthodox Catholicity to their faithful. We have entered a period of consciousness of the importance of Christian education.
In the Orthodox Catholic parish, the Church School is established that we might bring the truths of Christ and His Orthodox Catholic Church to our faithful, particularly the children who are undoubtedly the flower of our future. Sacred Scripture says “Train a child in the way he should go and in adulthood, he will not depart from that teaching.” How trite this is! We as members of Christ’s Church take very seriously the mandate to teach and proclaim the gospel. Unless we educate our children to an acute awareness of the principles of our philosophy of life, we cannot expect to pass to our progeny a heritage so rich, so glorious, so magnificent and so inspiring that its Founder died that it should endure the oncoming centuries.
The main office of the Church is a teaching one. For centuries she has been training and teaching her members. She is constantly striving to teach them the way of life that will bring them to the threshold of eternal life in heaven.
How like the Apostles are we today, particularly when they turned to Christ and said: “Lord teach us. . . How many of us starve today for a morsel of religious knowledge. What great numbers of our faithful have found themselves in an embarrassing position when confronted by individuals of other religious denominations interrogating them about the Church of Christ. How appalling it is that the number is so great. But it is not too late to try to salvage those souls for Holy Mother Church who are willing to take up their cross and follow Christ.
Our Orthodox Catholic Church has undertaken the task so it remains for our faithful to shoulder the obligations incumbent upon them. We must call upon the Holy Spirit to guide us. Sacred Writ bears eloquent testimony that “. . . the Holy Spirit shall teach you all things.
In order that we have an effective Church School program it is necessary that parents assume their responsibility of providing the child with a primary religious education. They are to bring the child to the religious instruction classes, not send him. Parents should provide the child with fine examples and family life that is conducive to molding a healthy religious body and soul in a youngster. Parents should talk about the faith at home. Frequent expression of what Christ’s Orthodox Catholic faith means to the parents strengthens the child’s beliefs. Parents must show their child — their family that their faith is alive, that it is practiced, that it isn’t just lip service Christianity. Frequent Confession with the children after they come of age ties them closer to the church. Oftentimes parents give children the erroneous impression that Sacraments are just for the little ones and that they have no need for them, or their benefits. So many of us are so reluctant to stand up and be counted. We must give our children a firm foundation upon which to build their lives and establish moral principles. When Holy Mother Church says fast on Fridays
— then fast it is. Teaching the child to respect and love Christ’s priests is important because they are Christ’s official teachers among us. If parents do not possess sentiments of love and esteem for God and His Church, these very easily will be communicated to the child.
We must be a militant church. We must assume the rightful place for which we have been destined in society. It remains for us to lead the world to Christ — that is our goal — the goal Christ has set for us.
We must all cooperate with our Church School programs so that our educational endeavor will be pleasing to God; that it will merit His blessings; that its goals will be attained; that our parishes will be strengthened; that we will grow, expand and flourish; that we will all attain our salvation in our divinely established Orthodox Catholic Church.