With Advent beginning this weekend, the Sunday Scripture readings begin to focus on preparation for the end times. Many people today look around and see the strife and wars all over the world and think, Surely the end times are upon us.
A priest yesterday for his homily took a contrary position. The end times, he said, are still some time off.
He noted the prophecies of many saints, which are not required by the Church to be accepted as part of the Faith, concur that today's troubles comprise a period that can be called a desolation of revolutions. This desolation of revolutions would be ended by a valiant king who will arise along with a great pope, who together will usher in a period of peace. He said that the prophecies of Fatima indicate that this victory of peace will occur in this century.
That means today’s 15-year-olds stand an excellent chance of living to see this.
However, things are likely to get worse before they get better. The forces of evil will not be vanquished easily or overnight.
That means today’s 15-year-olds will first have to endure greater global tribulations before they enjoy world peace.
And that means they need to be prepared not only to encounter the tribulations but to overcome them and be on the vanguard of the peace to come.
In between all of this, they will need to go to college, graduate, get jobs. Their high school educations therefore can and should prepare them for careers and colleges, but if that is all it did, it will leave them vulnerable to the tribulations they will surely face. Yes, education should prepare them to be industrious and prosperous, but No, education can and must do more. It can and must also form them to encounter this turbulent world with courage and all the virtues, with logic and sound use of reason, with knowledge of human history and human nature – all founded on a clear and comprehensive grasp of God’s Love and Mercy, which are the manifestation of His Will, and which are revealed definitively in the Person of Jesus Christ, taught infallibly by His Catholic Church, and lived completely through a rich Sacramental and spiritual life.
And that is precisely the mission of a classical curriculum imbued with the academic, spiritual, and theological heritage of the Catholic Church.
For in the end, it is not getting into prestigious universities and a position with advancement at a Fortune 500 company and avoiding crippling debt – as important as these things are – that will keep our children out of hell and get them into heaven. Rather, it is not only preparing them for such pursuits, but more importantly for how they assess and pursue them, and the ends to which they order them, that will get them into heaven.
Our teens’ responsibility will be to help usher in the coming era of peace. How well prepared they are is ours.