Parents are ordinarily the primary channels of grace for their children. This primacy as channels of grace for the children comes through the sacrament of Matrimony. The sacrament confers two graces: first, the grace for husband and wife to love one another faithfully, even until death; second, the corresponding grace as parents to be channels of grace for their children. The purpose of marriage therefore is to rear families indeed here on earth, but to rear families for Heaven—nothing less. And, I would say: there can be nothing more. All of this is most certain by our Faith.
One of the great blessings of modern home education is that it is finally waking up some parents to God’s plan for them. The providence of God allows no evil, no suffering, without purpose. He wants to wake parents up, and not just in our country, but especially in the Western world, where Catholic family life is in such dire need and, in so many dioceses, in such shambles.
The widespread secularization of organized education in so many parts of the Western world has, I believe, been the lightning and thunder that some have needed to wake them up to their primary duty as fathers and mothers.
If I were to offer one passage from the New Testament on the how of home education, I would choose St. Paul’s statement in a letter to the Romans, chapter 8, verse 28. Says Paul: “To those who love God, everything works together unto good.”
St. Paul is saying that we are united with God by loving Him, and if we love Him we will keep His commandments. If we love Him, He will use us to accomplish His divine plans. There is one condition parents must meet: that they are united with God through loving Him.
Or you might say, in other words, with faith in our union in God’s will, there is no limit at all to what God will accomplish through us. Miracles are nothing to God. Nothing. Expect miracles in your lives. Hear me: expect miracles.
Be united with God, and in measure of your union with His will, He will use you. Be clear about this: it is not merely giving others a good example. We simply are unable to give to others what we do not have ourselves.
This goes much deeper. In the vision of my father in God, St. Ignatius, in the measure in which our hearts be united with the heart of God, in that measure God will use us, in the most extreme degree. But it is we who set the condition: How generous, how faithful will we be to God? In the measure that we love God, He will thoroughly use us to achieve the design that He wants to achieve, and, this means, especially in the lives of others. For parents, of course, there are no other lives that should be more important than those of their children.
What does this mean for home education? My answer is — everything. In the degree that parents love God, God will use them to teach and train their children. And nobody cheats here. A doctorate in pedagogy means nothing. Academic studies in the field of education also mean nothing. If the parents have a strong faith, God will use them to strengthen the faith of their children. If the parents are humble, they will effectively teach humility to their children, and the key word is the adverb, effectively.
What a difference between a pedagogy that is above the neck, and a pedagogy that involves the whole being. Parents must be trustful of God, hopeful against all human odds, patient under suffering, chaste. If the parents are prayerful as well, God will use those parents to be the means of giving their faith, their hope, their chastity and their humility to their children. The corresponding virtues are now able to be in the child because they were in the parents.