On the Spot: God's Pedagogy and the Call to Obedience

Authored by Amette Ley in Issue #30.2 of The Sower

This feature aims to highlight some of the complex positions, questions and comments experienced by Catechists, teachers and parents. It tries to outline the knowledge necessary to be faithful to Church teaching and which will best help those we teach who call us to account for the hope that is in us. (cf I Peter 3:15)

We look at how we can imitate the ‘divine pedagogy’ of welcoming revelation by stages in our handing on the faith to our children.

‘The divine plan of Revelation….involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.’ (CCC 53 my emphasis)

The children in the top infant class were preparing some pictures to make a wall frieze; they were illustrating the nursery rhyme, ‘Humpty Dumpty’.

‘You paint Humpty Dumpty, Louisa,’ said the teacher, handing each child a large sheet of paper, ‘And you paint one of the King’s men, Jack; and Debbie, you paint a horse. Mickey, you paint the wall.’

Anyone who has spent time with small children will know how that turned out. The caretaker was not pleased and the paint never really came off the wall completely. But Mickey had not been disobedient – it was simply his understanding that was not up to the task. He did what was asked of him in blind obedience.

In looking at God’s way of revealing himself gradually to us, and at what was expected by way of our response, I want to draw out the parallels with passing on the Faith today, and try to show how we need to regulate and graduate our teaching on revelation, as well as our expectations of responses to that revelation. In identifying how our responses to God’s revelation help us to build on what has gone before, I hope to come closer to identifying what an appropriate response to God’s revelation might mean for us and for our children.

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This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

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