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March 22, 2013
Start with Educating Adults
JEREMIAH 20:10–13; JOHN 10:31–42
There is a great need in the Church today for adult education. Several generations have now managed to pass through the Catholic education system with little more than an elementary understanding of Catholicism. Over this time, more and more Catholics have decided not to send their children to Catholic schools or religious education programs. All this is having a devastating effect on future generations.

We could dream up all types of elaborate adult education programs, but my proposal is that we encourage Catholic adults to read good spiritual books. Fifteen minutes a day is as good as any place to start. My proposal will no doubt be overlooked by most, and frowned on by others, because of its sheer simplicity. Nonetheless, let me assure you the simplest solution is usually the best, and hidden in our ancient traditions we will find the solutions to most of our modern problems.

Spiritual reading is a perfect example of an ancient solution to a modern problem. If every Catholic were to read a good Catholic book for fifteen minutes a day, this habit alone could be a game changer for the Church in our times.

What percentage of Catholics do you think have read a Catholic book in the past twelve months? This is a question I have been posing to audiences of late. The consensus seems to be about 1 percent.

Now imagine for a moment what would happen if every Catholic in your parish read a good spiritual book for fifteen minutes a day. How would your parish change? If every Catholic spent fifteen minutes a day, every day, learning about his or her faith, how different would our Church be in a year? Five years? Ten years?

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Most great things are achieved little by little.

How can I help other adults grow in their faith through spiritual reading? What am I willing to do to increase my knowledge of Catholicism and spiritual practice?
from Rediscover Lent by Matthew Kelly


Francis de Sales: Francis was destined by his father to be a lawyer so that the young man could eventually take his elder’s place as a senator from the province of Savoy in France. For this reason Francis was sent to Padua to study law. After receiving his doctorate, he returned home and, in due time, told his parents he wished to enter the priesthood. His father strongly opposed Francis in this, and only after much patient persuasiveness on the part of the gentle Francis did his father finally consent. Francis was ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva, then a center for the Calvinists. Francis set out to convert them, especially in the district of Chablais. By preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine, he had remarkable success. 
<p>At 35 he became bishop of Geneva. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls. He practiced his own axiom, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.” </p><p>Besides his two well-known books, the <i>Introduction to the Devout Life</i> and <i>A Treatise on the Love of God</i>, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. For his writings, he has been named patron of the Catholic Press. His writings, filled with his characteristic gentle spirit, are addressed to lay people. He wants to make them understand that they too are called to be saints. As he wrote in <i>The Introduction to the Devout Life</i>: “It is an error, or rather a heresy, to say devotion is incompatible with the life of a soldier, a tradesman, a prince, or a married woman.... It has happened that many have lost perfection in the desert who had preserved it in the world. ” </p><p>In spite of his busy and comparatively short life, he had time to collaborate with another saint, Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12), in the work of establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. These women were to practice the virtues exemplified in Mary’s visit to Elizabeth: humility, piety and mutual charity. They at first engaged to a limited degree in works of mercy for the poor and the sick. Today, while some communities conduct schools, others live a strictly contemplative life.</p> American Catholic Blog St. John of the Cross put it succinctly when writing about the virtue of love (which is the core of every virtue, so it applies equally to trust, humility, gratitude): “Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”

 
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