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Back to 2017-12-18-Opinión-TEO-Dimensiones de la coherencia cristiana

Ramiro Pellitero, Professor of the School of Theology

Dimensions of Christian coherence

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 13:27:00 +0000 Posted in Religion Confidential

In the Aparecida Document we read: "When we speak of a Christian Education we understand that the teacher educates towards a human being project in whom Jesus Christ dwells with the transforming power of his new life" (n. 332). This is of special interest in the perspective of the upcoming Synod on youth.

The Christian training is centered on Christ. St. Paul exhorts the Philippians to have "the same mind as Christ Jesus had" (Phil 2:5). And to the Corinthians he tells them to have "the mind of Christ" (1 Cor 2:16). The letter to the Hebrews explains the submission of Christ throughout his life, and especially on the Cross, for the salvation of all men. These are the coordinates of the Christian Education , based on biblical anthropology, which sees the person as the image of God (cf. Gen 1:27).

Therefore, the Christian Education is based on the anthropological and ethical foundations of rationality, affectivity and the social dimension. But it does not remain at the merely human level, but assumes these dimensions in the fullness of Jesus Christ. In fact, "Christ manifests man fully to man himself and reveals to him the sublimity of his vocation" (Gaudium et Spes, 22).

All of this requires educators to have the right dispositions and attitudes, which begin with cultivating a friendship staff with Jesus Christ and, at the same time, to know in depth the world in which we live and the people we meet. 

Let us begin with the dimension of experience staff, with its great load of affectivity. At the anthropological level this has to do with sensitivity as the capacity to capture beauty. This calls for an ethical Education of desires or values. An imbalance due to excess in this area would be a Education of subject sentimentalism, which would lead to affective individualism.

In the Christian perspective, the Education of affectivity requires the "Christian experience", which is realized in prayer and in the sacramental life, first of all of the educator himself. Here the liturgical Education has its important place. The fruit is love for God and others (charity). Educating in this dimension requires listening - listening a lot - in order to understand and discern, reflect and dialogue. In this way, young people and everyone can be taught to do the same. In this way, the "sensitivity" of Christ is acquired.

Let us continue with the dimension of rationality. It has to do with scientific, doctrinal and theological preparation, therefore with truth. In the ethical experience of humanity, rationality is translated into moral norms. It is true that, as Benedict XVI said, reason - today fundamentally empirical - needs to be broadened by its openness to ethics, wisdom and faith. A unilateral excess of reason could lead to intellectualism or rationalism. The Education of rationality must be associated with the Education of the will. Otherwise, voluntarism can also arise, which does not contribute to maturity staff.  

As far as faith is concerned, it is a matter of lived faith. Not a theoretical or enlightened faith, as the Gnostics of all times have advocated. Nor should we fall into salvation by mere human works, as the Pelagians have maintained. A good Christian education keeps in mind doctrine - which includes the fundamental principles of faith, liturgy and Christian morals - while at the same time situating itself with persons and their concrete circumstances. It is concerned with reinforcing Christian identity in the intellect and in the will. At the same time, it attends to the other dimensions of the person: feelings, dialogue with others and, always, openness to God. This is how the "mind" of Christ is configured.

Let us move on to the social dimension, true solidarity in Christ, which includes family and ecclesial aspects. At the anthropological and ethical level, we need to educate to understand and to serve: head, heart and hands. To grow as a person means to seek beauty, truth and goodness; it is necessary to educate in the desires and authentically beautiful values, in the true norms and in the virtues that make us better and more capable of working for others. It is the dimension of communication and language, of social sensitivity and concern for the common good. If it is a mistake to dilute the responsibility staff and to avoid the effort, it is a mistake to live closed in on oneself.

In the Christian perspective, this leads to the rediscovery that the vocation to holiness entails involvement in the mission statement. For this financial aid much the biblical Education . To be a Christian - as the word itself expresses - means to participate in the redemptive mission statement of Christ, to die like a grain of wheat in order to bear fruit (cf. Jn 12:24). To work in union with Christ is to live, in the concrete circumstances of each day, with the hope of glory (cf. Col 1:27). The Christian educator creates a culture of justice and mercy, teaches how to care for the Earth for all, especially for the weakest and most unprotected. Christ is in them and whoever does not recognize him in this way does not grow in goodness, does not grow as a person or as a Christian. For this reason, every Christian community and group should be schools of social, family and ecclesial sensitivity, lived and understood from meeting with Christ.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the Christian Education is Education transcendent. As we have already seen, every good Education teaches us to go out of ourselves (without forgetting self-acceptance) and to walk the paths that lead to God and to others: the paths of the heart (beauty), of reason (truth) or of solidarity (good). It leads to a dynamic fidelity, to the discernment of prudence and to the training of conscience.

The Christian educator must personally walk these paths before his students and together with them. He is convinced that without Christ it is not possible to achieve full happiness and to completely realize the good, to fully find the light of truth, to build a lasting coexistence and to attain beauty final, to establish the link between the small things of each day and eternity. It does not despise or undervalue any of the human paths, but knows that Christ alone is Alpha and Omega, only the paths that lead to Christ save. This Education is difficult in a relativistic or secularist environment. Nor is it compatible with a fideistic or fundamentalist mentality.

At final, to educate as a Christian means, beginning with the educator, to look at reality from the perspective of faith, to understand status and to make the right decisions in order to be faithful to the Christian vocation on a daily basis and to contribute to the unique mission statement of the Church, each according to his or her gifts, ministries and charisms. This is the Christian truth of action, including educational action.

For this reason, it makes no sense to oppose fidelity to creativity, doctrine to life, staff to the social. Attention to reality, also in the Education, requires balance, weighting, integration, capacity of evaluation, distinguishing the essential from the accidental -not always an easy matter-. This discernment requires on the part of the educator certain attitudes such as detachment from oneself (from one's own interest and judgment), prayer, study and dialogue. In this way he makes possible his task, which consists in collaborating with the very action of God - grace - in people, to configure in them the mind, sensitivity and solidarity of Christ.