In this painting, The Angel of the North by Ojibwa artist Blake Debassige, we can see how some First Nations artists are integrating the spiritual traditions of their own people with those of the Christian tradition. The painting also reveals the connection between the natural world and the spiritual world.
What familiar symbols can you find?
What elements in the painting show the importance of the natural world to Aboriginal peoples?
Note the wings of the angel in the painting. They are shaped like the wings of an eagle, a spiritual symbol often seen in Aboriginal art. Placing the wings of an eagle on the shoulders of an angel symbolizes a merging of Aboriginal spirituality and Christianity. the angel is drawn as a two-dimensional, transparent figure, revealing the spiritual nature within – a style that is common among the Woodland school of artists made famous in Canada by Norval Morrisseau. The rays from above suggest the presence of the Great Spirit or God. The angel has released one of her sacred feathers as a gift to those who live on the Earth for use in their sacred rituals. The eagle is one of the most sacred spiritual symbols for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Angel of the North and other similar paintings illustrate the way in which some peoples have integrated their spirituality with their Christian faith.
Luke 5:12-14“He would withdraw to deserted places and pray.”
Response Idea #1:
Low tech (pencils, paper, bible, people): Divide class into 7 groups and assign a gift to investigate. First, investigate and explain what each gift is. Then, read and discuss each scripture reading accompanying that gift – summarize each story and tell how the gift is presented in the story. Then, write a complete sentence or two completing the phrase next to each gift.
Response Idea #2
High tech (computers, blogs): Collect words/phrases exploring a gift to create a Word Cloud: https://tagul.com/
Upload and embed your word cloud in a blog post with a write-up of Idea #1.
Create a hyperlink list of all 7 gifts (link to any 6 of your classmate’s completed posts on their gift).
Response Idea #3
High Tech: Listen to “Strong Enough?” by Matthew West. Read the lyrics from the google. Write a post discussing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. How do the gifts of the Spirit make us “Strong Enough”?
Response Idea #4
High Tech: Listen to “You Say” by Lauren Daigle. Read the lyrics. Write a post discussing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. How do the gifts of the Spirit make us “strong when I think I am weak”?
Response Idea #5
High Tech: Listen to “Even If” by MercyMe. Read the lyrics. Write a post discussing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. How do the gifts of the Spirit “give me the strength”?
The fundamental source of human knowledge is encounter with the world and its history through experience. The guiding intent for the curriculum is to educate people to become fully alive and free human beings. In a Catholic context this source and this guiding intent both point to the experience of the community, an experience where Jesus Christ is encountered and the values of the Reign of God direct human action and being. Simply put, we learn through life.
Catholic education brings a focus to learning to discover, evaluate, interpret the human experience, which is always in transition, in ways that enhance and deepen appreciation for the gift of creation and provide insight into how learning can lead to fullness and freedom for all people.
Strategies to develop a respect for the life-giving dimensions of tradition:
Provide access to the tradition of human culture–works of art, literature, etc.–as a way of engaging learners in conversation with the past
Invite learners to bring the symbols and artifacts of tradition into their own lives with a questioning and interpreting attitude
Invite learners to come to know for themselves the wisdom, knowledge, or beauty, of the tradition
Allow for the occasion for moral discourse and provide access to models of responding to the moral questions raised by the study of the past
Invite learners into a critical assessment of experience so they may discern what is life-giving and life-enhancing
Celebrate the hope that comes with recognizing God’s continuing action in the life of the community
How can tradition be life-giving in Catholic education?