Over seven hundred years ago, Bernard of Clairvaux taught that love trumps a variety of inferior motivations for education. “There are many,” he wrote, “who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge: that is curiosity. There are others who desire to know in order that they may themselves be known: that is vanity. Others seek knowledge in order to sell it: that is dishonorable. But there are some who seek knowledge in order to edify others: that is love.” The primary goal, then, of Christian education ought to be unadulterated Christian love, and its greatest concern isn’t really to produce successes, but rather to produce saints.
And these saints, all decked out in their educational gifts — gifts of the mind and character of Christ, of faith, hope and love, of truth, goodness and beauty — these saints well-equipped in love are the fragrance of Christ in the world. Christian education is a key to fostering a striking beauty and allure in the Church as the bride of Christ, equipping her to fulfill her vocation effectively as the agency of the kingdom of God in changing lives and transforming the cultures of the world.