Education for Liberation
Mathew P. George
St. Johns MTC, New York
11 for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. 12 I, wisdom, live with prudence, and I attain knowledge and discretion.
The theme of this meditation is Education for Liberation. Kofi Annan, the seventh Secretary General of the United Nations has said, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” Education can liberate all people from poverty, ignorance and exploitation.
Last week, while watching the dedication service of around 200 school children at our church and seeing the commitment of children and parents for best education, I was impressed by the importance our community gives to education. Going back to the 1950's and 60's, we all will acknowledge the fact that the educational opportunities we received during those years have greatly helped all of us and our families to become what we are today. Education has really liberated us and has made us at par with the main stream populace.
Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator who began a national literacy program for farmers and slum dwellers in the 50's and 60's, sponsored by the Catholic Church. The group used education for the liberation of underprivileged. They had a double task: to develop an efficient literacy method for adults, and to raise the social consciousness of the Brazilian workers. Our work as a church is here on this Earth. Paulo Freire says that the church must speak out about injustices done to the poor and oppressed. The hope and strength the church gets from the gospel should empower the church to stand up for the underprivileged and marginalized people. Liberation Theologians all across the world know that the Bible is the book that wants to liberate oppressed people. Jesus Christ said in Mark 10:45, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Lady Wisdom of Proverbs is an attribute of creation. She is a personification of the wisdom that God has built into the world. Nobody can survive long if he or she violates the teachings of wisdom. The world and the human soul are made in such a way that those who are prudent, diligent, trustworthy and discrete will be emotionally, physically and even financially healthy. In contrast, those who are treacherous, reckless, and immoral will destroy themselves. Wisdom is more precious than anything this mortal world can offer.
When Paul calls Christ in 1 Corinthians 1:24 as “the wisdom of God” he means the historical person Christ and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as God’s means of bringing salvation to humanity. The crucified Christ is the power that saves and the wisdom that transforms follies of humans into ultimate and highest discernment. My prayer is that wisdom will give us true discernment.