All that is good and true has proceeded from the Word and has its homing point in the incarnate God…
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- Saint Paul
Religion at Divine Mercy Academy is not just one subject within the curriculum, but the key to its unity and integration. The cosmos is an ordered, unified whole because it is created in Christ “in whom all things hold together” (Col. 1:17).
Belief in God as our Father and the world as His beautiful and rational creation binds faith and reason, nature and culture, art and science, morality and reality into a coherent and integrated unity. This unified view reaches its summit in worship, which is the highest form of knowledge and thus the end and goal of true education. This understanding should be made explicit in religion as a subject, in the curriculum as a whole, and in the life of the school. Most of all it should be reflected in the Sacred Liturgy and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the source and summit of the school’s life. Religious education therefore has as its ultimate goal the life of prayer and a deep, reverent participation in God’s own life through the Sacrifice of the Mass.
“God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8).
This is at the heart of what it means to say that God is Trinity, a communion of persons. If God is the source of cosmic order, then that means love is at the root of this order, a key to its meaning, and essential to our meaning as persons. Students should come to a deeper understanding of the meaning of love, both divine and human. They should begin to understand that love is at the root of reality and what this implies for civilization and for the meaning of their own nature as embodied persons.Students should understand that God’s love in the Incarnation gives rise to a distinctive Christian civilization which is their birthright. Students should learn Scripture and be familiar with the treasures of Christian culture, art, architecture, music, literature, and great deeds, all of which give expression to a Catholic view of reality. Students should begin to learn the ‘symbolic language’ of these treasures and learn how to ‘read’ religious paintings and architecture. And they should understand how a true civilization of love reaches its summit in the Mass, where our desire for God is anticipated and surpassed by God’s love for us.
At Divine Mercy Academy we are especially aware of how the great teachings of our patron, Pope St. John Paul II, on the Theology of the Body are vital to our mission of forming disciples of Jesus Christ, who are made free to realize their full potential by living joyfully in accordance with the truth of our vocation to love.
Students should understand how the vocation to love informs our very meaning as persons, soul and body. The curriculum should reflect on how men and women live out this vocation differently in marriage, religious, and consecrated life. Upper school religion courses should therefore contemplate the ‘theology of the body’, not primarily from the point of view of ‘sex education’ or even sexual morality (though both of these remain important), but from the truth about the human person as a sexually differentiated unity of body and soul created in and for love. The goal here is not to moralize, but to provide students with a beautiful, more compelling vision of life and love that they can desire and appropriate as their own.
The study of religion should fulfill the role of basic catechesis, conveying what the Church teaches.
By approaching catechesis in light of a broader vision of God and the human person students are helped to understand not only what the church teaches but why this teaching is true. Students see what these teachings have to do with the basic questions of the human heart, how they matter to their lives, and how they have mattered in the lives of whole cultures.
The study of religion is both the conveying of a definite body of knowledge and the cultivation of habits and qualities in the soul of the student. It should incorporate silence, adoration, mystery, and the experience of beauty through adoration, music, and the school’s observation and study of the liturgy and the liturgical calendar.