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The goal of education

By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, roycimagala@gmail.com
May 31, 2017

THIS is none other than for us to be another Christ. After all, he is the very pattern of our humanity in the beginning and the redeemer of our damaged humanity. If education is for us to achieve the fullness of our humanity, we should not look at anything, no matter how lofty and useful, other than at Christ.

St. Paul, in his Letter to the Ephesians, describes it this way: “His (Christ’s) gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ...” (4,11-13)

Yes, education is not simply about acquiring some worldly knowledge and skills. It’s about achieving this “mature manhood” St. Paul was talking about, a mature manhood that is “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Obviously, knowledge and skills are important and are, in fact, indispensable. But they have to be oriented toward the ultimate goal of education which is the pursuit for the fullness of Christ in us.

We have to be wary of the strong, almost irresistible temptation to downgrade the purpose of education to simply achieving some worldly values like wealth, honor, popularity, efficiency, etc.

These worldly goals, if not related to the ultimate goal, can very well be sweet poisons that can corrupt the process of education.

Some sectors may claim that putting Christ as the main goal of education undermines the technical rigor that should accompany the task of learning the sciences and the arts. They claim that that approach would be too other-worldly as to restrain us to go to the last consequences of our studies.

We should not be deceived by such claim, because the opposite is, in fact, the case. When we put Christ on top of everything else in our education, we would be most motivated and pressured to be thoroughly exacting in our studies. Christ himself would require nothing less than that.

Thus, the ultimate goal of education is when we learn to deal in an abiding way with the Holy Spirit, who is the spirit of God, who will remind us of everything Christ taught us, who will lead us to the complete truth and would tell us of things to come.

At this time of the world’s life, we should do much better than the early Christians who, when asked by St. Paul whether they have received the Holy Spirit, answered that “we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” (Acts 19,2)

All the technical things involved in our education should somehow tend to the learning of how to deal with the Holy Spirit. For this, it might be useful also to know the gifts of the Holy Spirit which enable us to know things the way the Holy Spirit knows them.

We should never marginalize, much less, ignore, the Holy Spirit in our education.

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