Instructions for rightly ordering the human soul…
I want to try and put in a short summary all the disparate but related parts of a large conversation I have been having and continue to engage in as I oversee a school. The general topic is the human soul, expressly the young human soul. And the over arching resolution is that surely we can instruct the young in virtue. I am going to try and be very logical and use statements in as plain a way as I can, so please forgive me if I come across elementary. That is what I am seeking to do.
A. Man is a rational but fallen creature.
B. Man’s soul, by reason of the Fall, is born in a dis-ordered state.
C. Humanities purpose being to glorify God, he is dependent upon God for re-birth, and for re-ordering his soul aright.
D. The regenerate human soul experiences two congruent sides to this path of re-ordering his soul: on the one hand, the Spirit of God is at work producing the fruit of sanctification, and at the same time, man is instructed to pursue his sanctification through the means of the Word and Sacrament. This pursuit of the good by man is a pursuit of virtue.
E. Being virtuous is the state of a well-ordered soul, a soul has forgotten itself, taken up its cross, and is following Christ.
F. The young soul both “catches” and “learns” virtue. That is to say, he needs to see virtue modeled in others and to be instructed in its pursuit.
G. A complete man will have both wisdom (a soul that fears God) and virtue (a life lived in the fear of God).
H. The overall pursuit of virtue could be called “education” (to lead out from dis-order to order).
I. Education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue.
If we believe this much, we are ready to discuss further the specifics of a school. But we must view it all through this framework first. (Don’t worry, this is the first page of the instruction manual, more to come).