The most widespread opinion in the field of educational psychology highlights children’s great capacity for learning, the younger they are. In turn, in many educational programmes the need for incentive, in terms of the atmosphere and the adults, is noticeable, so that the children grow up motivated and can live in healthy learning environments.
In religious experience, throughout centuries, fathers and mothers, many grandmothers, and other close people, instilled the faith and assured the process of its transmission from generation to generation and from home to home. Thus, the first announcement, the closeness of God, friendship with Jesus, prayer to Mary and some saints, is supported by the family context.
Today, in the West, we live in a great crisis in the transmission of the faith. Many homes live as if God did not exist. Therefore, what Fr Claret teaches us continues to be a great truth. It is catechists (when the parents do not) who instil fundamental values, openness to God, solidarity and respect for others, protection of nature and so many other principles in children.
As has always happened throughout history, great changes come from what appears to be the most fragile and weak. We remember that it was the young John in Elizabeth’s womb who first noticed the coming of the Lord (cf. Lk 1:39-45). This is the way that God chooses to act. The same precariousness of Jesus’ birth tells us so.
How have I carried out – or am I carrying out – the transmission of the faith in my home, or in the school or parish to which I belong or where I work? Are there incentives to make the message attractive, or does routine threaten to scare away the uninterested?