"The first of your obligations is to impart to their minds in a firm and solid manner those truths of the Faith which are the foundation stones of our holy Religion and to train them to practice the teachings of Jesus Christ... You are in an employment in which you are to touch hearts, and this you cannot do except by the Holy Spirit. Pray, God, then, to give you the same grace He gave to the Holy Apostles, that having filled you with His Spirit, for your own sanctification, He may also by the same Spirit enable to you to procure the salvation of others."
Teaching the faith is not principally about knowledge. Knowledge is good, yes, but knowing many "facts" does not assure salvation. That only comes from Jesus Christ - loving Him and following His commandments. So, when one of our Sisters goes out to teach, be it in a Catholic School setting, parish catechesis, or RCIA, this is the first thing on her mind. In fact, it is the ONE THING. All else falls under the one thing. It is for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls that she embarks on this apostolate, which is truly a gift and an honor.
There is something special about being able to teach the faith, because in the faith there is the fullness of beauty, goodness, and truth. These rise above pure facts, which are often forgotten after a class or exam. We get to walk with the students as they journey closer to the God who is love and learn about how He has a plan for them. As a Sister, this takes on a special meaning, because we have this amazing opportunity to share with our fellow man our Beloved and the One for whom we gave up everything. When you love, you want to share.
"A single soul is more precious before God than all the bodies that are in the universe and consequently, one who helps to reestablish the grace of God in it, to nourish and strengthen it by good example and by the pious instructions given to it, does more holy action than if one were to clothe and feed all the bodies which are upon the earth."
This task, this apostolate in which we are blessed to serve, is not taken on alone. First of all, we have Christ and His Church! We are not creating new teachings, but simply handing on what Jesus taught His Apostles and what they
continued to pass on. Again,what an honor and blessing it is to take part in this handing on! Through the centuries we have had the Church, which Christ Himself set up and imbued with the deposit of faith, to guide us and continually teach us what is true, what is right, what is of God. We are not alone. We also have the blessing of having our fellow Sisters to help in our mission. There are many Sisters with vast experience in teaching the faith at all levels and settings, and as true Sisters will do anything they can to help. There is also the invaluable prayer support.
Finally, we get to follow the model of our Blessed Mother. By teaching the faith, we are educating the children on God in the ways of truth and love, just as she did for Jesus. Also, particularly as a Sister, we reflect how Our Lady directs everything to her Son. Someone may look at her image, say a pray to her, and then she brings that love, that prayer to Jesus. Likewise, we may be the ones in front of a classroom, the one whose voice is heard, but it is all directed towards Jesus. Our efforts are for His glory and to bring people closer to Him. That is the main goal, but He often blesses us besides, with a child's smile, an adult who now more fully understands, a family who prays more together. What a good God we have.
Prayer to Our Lady the Teacher
O Mary, Mother of the Word Incarnate,
You are the teacher of souls
and the sign of true doctrine.
As the infant Jesus nursed from your breast,
so the child Jesus learned the mysteries
contained in your heart.
From the cross,
your Son gave you to his Beloved Disciple
as his Mother and Teacher.
Hear the prayers of your Church
for guidance in her work of educating the faithful
and preparing men to serve God's holy people in the priesthood.