How The Holy Spirit Is Improving Catholic Education

In today’s episode I share a great quote about how the Holy Spirit does not replace our natural skills but actually elevates them in powerful ways. In recent decades many teachers and schools have fallen back on more effort and professionalism as a response to the challenges of modern education. In this episode I focus upon how we can let the Holy Spirit truly transform our vocation.

Becoming an instrument is the hands of God

Well, hey everybody, Jonathan Doyle with you once again for The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. Welcome aboard. Whether you’re listening for the first time, whether you’re listening as a regular listener, thank you so much. Hey, do me a favor, make sure you’re sharing this. If you like what you hear in these short messages, I need your help. I need you to grab the link wherever you’re hearing it and flick it out to a whole bunch of teachers. As we get this message out, gosh, don’t we all need some encouragement, don’t we all need just a little daily reminder that the Holy Spirit’s with us, that God is proud of what we’re doing, and that this is a really important moment in history where great Catholic teachers can do so much to bless young people.

And remember, what’s the goal of all this? I love coming back to this beautiful quote from Pope Benedict XVI who said that the goal of catechesis, Catholic education, he said is not to put people just in touch with Jesus. So the goal isn’t that, at the end of schooling, Catholic schooling, kids go, “Yeah, we know who the guy is. We know who Jesus is. We know about these miracles. We know this.” What often happens is that kids think that Jesus is like a wisdom teacher. Right? Definitely in my country they can come out of school thinking, “Yeah, Jesus was a good guy. He held baby lambs and He was a really wise teacher.”

But really, in a Catholic school, we’re doing something very different. Well, we’re presenting a different Jesus for a start. We’re presenting a Jesus who is God. We’re presenting a Jesus who is the way to the Father. But Benedict says that the job isn’t to put kids in touch with Jesus, but intimacy. Intimacy with Jesus. Isn’t that very different, to go from being just aware of Jesus into being in relationship with Jesus.

So what amazing thing it is that you do. And listen, let’s press in. I want to share with you today a beautiful quote. Now please email me daily. The word is daily, D-A-I-L-Y. Email me if you’re not on the daily list because I send an email once a day with a beautiful quote. And it comes out the same time every day, takes about five seconds to read it, but it’s a real blessing. So email me if you’re not getting that,, and say, “Hey, Jonathan, get me on the list,” because here’s today’s quote. Listen to this. It’s very beautiful. It says, this is a great quote from St. Joseph of Cupertino. Isn’t it beautiful? St. Joseph of Cupertino. Listen to what he says. “Pray to God, you are the spirit and I am only the trumpet. And without your breath I can give no sound.” One more time. “Pray to God, you are the spirit and I am only the trumpet. And without your breath I can give no sound.”

Isn’t that a beautiful image, right? So, St. Joseph is helping us realize that we are instruments in the hands of God. We don’t save anyone, do we? We don’t bring anyone to heaven really. God uses us. We partner with God. There’s this beautiful Latin word, particips creotorus, co-creators, that God works through us, we’re His instruments. Mother Teresa was always so big on that, wasn’t she? Being the hands and feet of Jesus. Jesus has no hands but yours, no feet but yours, no voice but yours.

So I want us to start thinking as Catholic educators of this idea of being instruments. As I put that quote together yesterday, I was thinking of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Can you imagine, when Michael Angelo is there and he’s doing that ceiling, God is just flowing through him. So, yes, there was a gifting, yes, there was a talent. But of course even that gifting and talent wasn’t his, it was given to him.

So without the breath of the spirit moving through us, we become inert instruments. And my thesis of Catholic education over almost 20 years working with schools and diocese all over the world, is that when we lose this idea, we fall back into two things, professionalism and striving. Now, professionalism is important. People are like, “Well, are you saying we shouldn’t be professional?” No, of course I’m saying we should be. But a professionalism that’s based in Christology, that’s based in the spirit, elevates those natural gifts. Remember St. Augustan saying, “Grace builds on nature. Grace builds and accentuates and develops our natural talents.”

So, to become that beautiful image, in that quote, he’s like a trumpet. But can you imagine a trumpet just sitting there with no wind moving through it? It’s nothing. It’s just this metal thing that sits there. But as the wind moves through it and controls the notes, something beautiful happens, and that is you. That is who you are in the hands of God, in the hands of the spirit, moving through you.

So I just want to encourage you today as you go into the classroom, just a simple prayer. Holy Spirit, please breathe through me today. Guide my inclinations, guide my inspirations, guide my words, help me, help me to be the instrument that you want me to be today. So simple, huh? Such a simple idea. Let the Holy Spirit guide you each day as a Catholic teacher to become the instrument that God has really created you to become.

All right, friends, that’s it. Short messages every day. Come and find me. Twitter, @beingcatholic1 . Jump on Twitter and just type in @beingcatholic1 or Jonathan Doyle. You’ll find me there. Facebook, come and join us. The Facebook group, Passionate Catholic Teachers.. Come and join us there. Type that in.

Last thing, as always, share this. Make sure you’ve subscribed. And I want you to go to the website,, and you’ll see a tab there that says, “

Okay, that’s it. Please share this with people. God bless you. You are an instrument in the hand of God who’s creating a beautiful symphony in your classroom. Even if sometimes it doesn’t look that way, He’s there and He’s ready to do amazing things through you. God bless you friends. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast, and I’ll have another message for you tomorrow.

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One Catholic Teacher exists to inspire, encourage and support Catholic teachers around the world. Each day Jonathan Doyle offers a short dose of formation and encouragement via The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. Jonathan is also a global speaker and author on all issues related to Catholic Education.