Dec 10, 2013
Pope Francis is a master teacher for today’s world. He has a knack for summing up sagacious teachings in 140 characters or less, he organizes the main ideas of his homilies and teachings in groups of three to make them easy to follow and to remember, and he gets the attention of his “students” by living Christ’s message in an exceedingly radical way. Who better to look to, then, as a model for effectively teaching the Catholic faith?
I’ve spent the last few days poring over Evangelii Gaudium and frankly I have been overwhelmed by the magnitude of this apostolic exhortation. As someone who teaches about the Church and the Gospels and morality for a living, I felt incredibly humbled and challenged by The Joy of the Gospel. I decided to take a page out of the Pope’s playbook and to try to summarize three key lessons about teaching that I gleaned from The Joy of the Gospel.
Lesson #1: Be a joyful messenger
“As for the moral component of catechesis, which promotes growth in fidelity to the Gospel way of life, it is helpful to stress again and again the attractiveness and the ideal of a life of wisdom, self-fulfillment, and enrichment. In the light of that positive message, our rejection of the evils which endanger that life can be better understood. Rather than experts in dire predictions, dour judges bent on rooting out every threat and deviation, we should appear as joyful messengers of challenging proposals, guardians of the goodness and beauty which shine forth in a life of fidelity to the Gospel.” (168, emphasis added)