Is Catholic education about more than what students learn in a textbook or lecture?
“Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote that the essence of Catholic education is one that deepens our participation in the mysteries of the Faith, and primarily the Eucharist and worship of God,” author David Clayton recently told The Cardinal Newman Society in correspondence.
Clayton, artist-in-residence and fellow at Newman Guide-recommended Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, recently co-authored with Leila Lawler, The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home.
In its pages, Clayton examines how Catholic families can live out their faith in between going to Mass—how they can live a “unified life of faith.”
Clayton explains how Catholics can create a “little oratory”—a prayer table or an icon corner—in the home or even in a college dorm room. It’s also a “spiritual place” that helps root the family in worship.
“[I]t is through worshiping together that community is built,” Clayton said. “This is true for the family and for any group of people, such as a school.”
The Little Oratory offers practical ways for living out worship in daily life, including instruction on how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary with small children, how to use sacred art for prayer, and even how to make time for prayer itself.
“It is the nature of that worship (or lack of it) that creates the culture of the community,” whether for a family, school or college, Clayton explained.
Therefore, the “liturgical life of… [an institution such as] a college is the most profound influence on the formation of the students,” he continued.
While at the same time, “every subject taught, even those that seem non-religious subjects, should be explained with reference to our vocation to love God in worship of him, and through love of our fellow man,” Clayton said.
Bringing worship of God into the home or dorm room will be powerful in establishing “a new culture of beauty that will draw others, beyond our homes, into the Faith.”
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