“Education is part and parcel of religion and every enthusiastic teacher knows that he is obeying the precept, ‘feed my lambs’––feed with all those things which are good and wholesome for the spirit of a man; and, before all and including all, with the knowledge of God.” – Charlotte Mason, Vol. 6, pg. 246
We’ve already started talking about how we must take care of not only the physical parts of ourselves that we can see, but also those parts of ourselves that, while invisible, are of greater importance than our physical selves – our minds and our souls. We talked about the importance of wide reading to feed our minds on their proper diet of knowledge. Now let’s talk about feeding our souls on the knowledge of God.
I’m going to write this article based on the assumption that most of the people reading this come from some variety of a Christian faith, as I do. Charlotte herself was a devout Christian and the crux of her method was that all knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit.
“But we hold that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, that the Lord the Holy Spirit is the supreme educator of mankind, and that the culmination of all education is that personal knowledge of and intimacy with God in which our being finds its fullest perfection.” – Charlotte Mason, Vol. 3, p. 95
So how do we apply this as mothers and teachers, grandmothers and aunts, sisters and cousins? We realize that the Holy Spirit is consistently reaching out to us and trying to give us this gift of knowledge, but we must respond to Him in kind. Through prayer and reading of the bible, we show our openness to receiving those gifts the Holy Spirit wants to generously bestow.
When you take this time to pray, to contemplate God’s Word, and to find time to quiet your thoughts and listen, you are setting an example to every soul in your household. When I took the vows of marriage, I agreed to the idea that my vocation as wife was predominantly to help my husband get to heaven. His vow meant he accepted the job of helping me to get to heaven (he has the much harder job!) and together, each child we bring into the world is one we will raise with the goal of heaven for that soul. Taking time to pray for each person in your home is fulfilling that role of wife and mother and letting your husband and children see you or simply knowing that mom has time in the day set aside for prayer creates an atmosphere where prayer is valued. Herein lies a beautiful paradox – that time “for yourself” benefits every soul around you!
Further, to not only read, but to study and understand the Bible key to your spiritual life. As Saint Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” He should know, he translated the entire bible into Latin from the original Greek and Hebrew. No matter what your denomination or non-denomination, there is certainly resources out there for you both online and in your local church. If you don’t have a group, start one. If you don’t feel you need a group, perhaps a good study bible would be right up your alley or a copy of your catechism. Find a way to connect to the Lord through a deep study of His Word and a whole new world will open up for you and all those around you.
I would also suggest that as a family, you look at what it means to keep Holy the Sabbath day. We mothers too often can make excuse after excuse as to why we remain busy all week long and cannot find time to read, take a walk, or enjoy quiet time. On Sundays, we are actually commanded to do so. It’s one of the ten. Consult with your spouse as to what you discern to be appropriate ways to spend your Sunday and stick to it. Come into your Monday ready for the week ahead and refreshed, rather than harried and exhausted.