Isocrates’ Definition of Being Educated

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From Isocrates’ Panathenaicus: Whom, then, do I call educated, since I exclude the arts and sciences and specialties? First, those who manage well the circumstances which they encounter day by day, and who possess a judgement which is accurate in meeting occasions as they arise and rarely misses the expedient course of action; next, those who are decent and honorable in their intercourse with all with whom they associate, tolerating easily and good-naturedly what is unpleasant or offensive in others and being themselves as agreeable and reasonable to their associates as it is possible to be; furthermore, those who hold …

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Virtue Guide No. 15 ~ The Necessity of Prayer

Virtue-Guide

St. Francis de Sales, in this reflection (2.1) found in his Introduction to the Devout Life, speaks to us about the importance of prayer. Use his guidance to assist in purging yourself of all unnecessary attachments. The Necessity of Prayer. Prayer opens the understanding to the brightness of Divine Light, and the will to the warmth of Heavenly Love—nothing can so effectually purify the mind from its many ignorances, or the will from its perverse affections. It is as a healing water which causes the roots of our good desires to send forth fresh shoots, which washes away the soul’s …

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Ancient Wisdom ~ Isocrates on the Sophists

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From Isocrates’ Against the Sophists: If all who are engaged in the profession of education were willing to state the facts instead of making greater promises than they can possibly fulfill, they would not be in such bad repute with the lay-public. As it is, however, the teachers who do not scruple to vaunt their powers with utter disregard of the truth have created the impression that those who choose a life of careless indolence are better advised than those who devote themselves to serious study. What concern does the modern public system of education have with truth? Many would, …

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Virtue Guide No. 14 ~ Purging away the Tendency to Sin

Virtue-Guide

St. Francis de Sales, in this reflection (1.22–24) found in his Introduction to the Devout Life, instructs us to purge away all inclinations towards sin. Use his guidance to assist in purging yourself of all unnecessary attachments. The Necessity of Purging away all tendency to Venial Sins. As daylight waxes, we, gazing into a mirror, see more plainly the soils and stains upon our face; and even so as the interior light of the Holy Spirit enlightens our conscience, we see more distinctly the sins, inclinations and imperfections which hinder our progress towards real devotion. And the selfsame light which …

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Fr. Hunwicke on the Importance of Latin

Fr. Hunwicke penned an excellent post about the necessity of studying Latin in order to then study theology, referencing St. John XXIII. Father Z also commented about the post here, another must read. I found the following bit quite fascinating: As long ago as 1933, C S (‘Patrimony’) Lewis advanced the suggestion that the attacks – even then – upon the position of Latin and Greek as the basis of education, might be part of a plot devised in Hell to subvert the Faith. In The Pilgrim’s Regress he reminds the reader that “till recently” members of our society “had …

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Xenophon on Socrates, Part II

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More from Xenophon’s Book IV of The Memorabilia, translated by H. G. Dakyns. At this point I will endeavour to explain in what way Socrates fostered this greater “dialectic” capacity among his intimates. He held firmly to the opinion that if a man knew what each reality was, he would be able to explain this knowledge to others; but, failing the possession of that knowledge, it did not surprise him that men should stumble themselves and cause others to stumble also. It was for this reason that he never ceased inquiring with those who were with him into the true …

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Virtue Guide No. 13 ~ Confession

Virtue-Guide

St. Francis de Sales, in this reflection (1.19–20) found in his Introduction to the Devout Life, guides us to make a good confession. Use this guide when going to confession. Some practical comments have been added to the text in italics. How to Make a General Confession. First read this reflection about confession and review all the instructions below. Such meditations as these, my daughter, will help you, and having made them, go on bravely in the spirit of humility to make your general confession;—but I entreat you, be not troubled by any sort of fearfulness. The scorpion who stings …

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Beauty and Education

Benjamim Lockered has penned a concise summary of aesthetics that I highly recommend. Speaking of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, he states: Of the three terms, however, beauty is the one that has the most thoroughly succumbed to relativistic thought. If I make any aesthetic claim whatsoever, my students are likely to look at me blankly; if they find I am serious about it, they are likely to confront me vociferously, maintaining what everyone knows: That judgements of beauty are purely subjective. What one person thinks beautiful, another will think ugly. And, of course, there is some truth …

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Xenephon on Socrates, the Educator

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From Xenephon’s Memorabilia translated by H. G. Dakyns: Such was Socrates; so helpful under all circumstances and in every way that no observer, gifted with ordinary sensibility, could fail to appreciate the fact, that to be with Socrates, and to spend long time in his society (no matter where or what the circumstances), was indeed a priceless gain. Even the recollection of him, when he was no longer present, was felt as no small benefit by those who had grown accustomed to be with him, and who accepted him. Nor indeed was he less helpful to his acquaintance in his …

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The Transformative Power of Reading

Chad Wellmon has recently written about a shift in reading which has come about as a result of the technological age and the digitization of books. Essentially, the purpose of reading, for most people, has diverted from seeking to know God through reading to seeking knowledge itself. St Augustine, according to Wellmon, has had much influence on the tradition of Western reading. From him comes the idea of the transformative power of reading, which causes one to encounter the divine. Wellmon states: Augustine’s autobiography is also a bibliography. He recounts his conversion through a series of bibliographic events: He cried …

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