Which is the criterion that allows us to draw the line between the different types? It is the union with God, the eternal educator, the union of life and mind and heart with the living God!
I am thinking first of the Copper Educator! If I may speak more in terms of the Prussian civil service and teacher-type, then he stands before us as a man of iron discipline and duty! The Copper Educator fulfills his duty very exactly, but only to the extent that duty demands. After school hours he goes his own way. Once he has closed the door behind him, his mind is closed as well. Then he is no longer the teacher, but pursuing his own interests. If I may refer back to our point of departure, we can say: the union of life with Christ must be conceded to him; what he lacks is the necessary union of mind and heart.
When we think of the Silver Educator, then we have to climb up. He works not only during school and office hours, but beyond that. You can see him day and night, how he works and slaves and pushes himself. He never seems to get tired. But what is the deepest motive of his activity? Either ambition or a false sense of self assertion and self development. Hence he is termed in teacher and educator circles as an ambitious climber who must play fiddle everywhere, who must have a hand in everything, who must have the the first and last word in all things. He may live in union with Christ, he may even have a certain union of mind and interest with him, but his greatest deficiency is the lack of perfect union of mind and heart. That becomes painfully apparent when hard knocks impede his work, when success evades his best efforts, when misfortune and failure stalk his life. He may stand for a time , but sooner or later the difficulties and hardships of life will crush him.
It might be well for us to examine ourselves to see what type of educators we are, the first or the second? The third type represents the Golden Educators, the ideal teachers. With them. sovereign calm is joined to great activity. To their union in life and interest is a added most tender union of mind and heart with Christ, the Eternal High Priest and Educator of the nations. Because of that tender union of the heart and mind they so carefully cultivate, they know that cross and suffering, failure and contempt are the best means of shaping and forming human beings. They go about their duties faithfully. They are lovers that never lose sight of the object of their love, not even when they have closed the door behind them. The solicitude for their country and its youth goes with them day and night and occupies the center of their conversation and their life, their prayers. Masterful, ideal educators! And the more crosses and sufferings, contempt and persecution they encounter, the more they grow in Christ, the more the chalices of their souls are opened to Christ, the more Christ can channel and radiate into them as his divine powers. We should like to be such educators!
Do you understand what this means? In any case we may, and should, take home with us from all these considerations the thought: Prayer is an educational force of the first magnitude!
I have added yet another type: The tin or cast-iron educator. He fulfills only his most essential duties, without inner glow and warmth. The union of interest, mind and heart with Christ occupies no room in his life.
All in all: We understand how important it is for us to maintain a constant lifeline as tools with the master craftsman and as secondary educators with the Primary Educator.
Just read again what great masters in education can tell us about the subject. I am thinking more, for example, of St. John of the Cross. Of certain educators he says: " They make much noise. They talk a lot and never get tired of it. But," he adds, "they are men who can be compared with a blacksmith who strikes the anvil with his hammer. Much concussion, but little repercussion. Wouldn't they be better off to withdraw from time to time to pray, to cultivate their inner life before stepping into the school and before the people who they are meant to educate?"
A saintly priest lay on his deathbed. He anguished as he looked back on his past life. Would he face his judge with empty hands? Most likely it was his confessor who tried to calm him by reminding him how many sermons he had preached during his life. To which he replied: sermons will be the last thing I talk about unless I'm asked. What did he mean? Beaucoup de rien, much smoke and no fire! In my sermons I sought myself, not God. My actions have not flowed from an interior union with the Eternal, the infinite God.
--Mary, the Educator if the Nations--
The living God needs instruments. He wishes to use us in forming men. To make the work easier for us he has placed before our eyes a classic prototype and ideal pattern--The Mother of God! She is the tool of all tools and as, hers is the great task and mission in life to be and remain the educators of the nations under Christ, the living God.
I wonder if it is not worth our time to stop here for a moment to ask: Is she really the great educator of the nations? Has she been appointed and destined as such by God?
She has been solemnly proclaimed as teacher by the Savior: Ecce Mater tua. Behold your mother!(John 9:27). Surely it is not difficult for us to hear in this commissioning to be a mother also her commissioning to be a teacher. To be a mother means to be a teacher in every regard.