Spiritual act of mercy: Instruct the ignorant

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

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Flickr photo by George Bannister

Instruct the ignorant — That seems like such a harsh statement! The word “ignorant” has negative connotations these days.

Let’s put it in other words: Teach others; Instruct the unaware. Now, that sounds better.

Jesus instructs the apostles in the book of Matthew to go out and teach, making disciples of everyone. So, we are instructed to do the same.

It seems like a huge task, but it can be very simple.

The family

Our obligations are first to our spouses and children. Gone are the days when we ship the kids off to Catholic school and hope the priests and sisters will teach our kids all there is to know about our faith. First, that is a huge task! I know from personal experience that while I learned the basics and the importance of Mass, adoration, etc., I didn’t really learn the history of the church or delve into important topics all that often. Also, many families don’t encourage Catholic practice outside of school hours. Practicing our faith is like doing homework; it needs to be re-enforced by parents. So, live your faith constantly in front of your family, and encourage practicing of the faith.

Another way to help is to teach CCD on Sunday mornings to the church children. We need to be drawing the youth closer to the faith, and encouraging them to learn the practices. If volunteers don’t continue this practice, it might be detrimental to the next generation of followers. Also, get your children involved in youth groups and other church-related activities.

Teaching our children might be tough, though, as many of us might not have a background in theology or have “necessary” training. To that I say: Educate yourself. Before telling your children something, make sure you are correct.

Rely on those who have the training: priests, deacons, bishops, and the pope. They are the proper sources to read from and ask questions to. However, remember that these men are human, as well, and can and will make mistakes.

Most of all, prayer is an important lesson to teach everyone and to put into practice. Teach your family how to pray, and be a good example of this by praying nightly.

But what if …?

I realize that I centered this post a lot around family and children. They are the first and most important part of instruction, as we have an obligation to get our spouses and children into heaven. Plus, in my eyes, it is easy to teach children because they want to learn and it is our obligation to teach them.

But what if you are single/don’t have children/don’t like teaching/etc? I will touch on this topic in my next post, because I hear you! I do not have children, so the idea of “instructing the ignorant” frightens me a bit, too!

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