Passing Down the Faith to the Next Generation

By Mike Aquilina 

Mike Aquilina is the award-winning author of more than fifty books on Catholic history, doctrine, and devotion. He is executive vice-president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and a contributing editor to Angelus News. 


I think it's significant and important that the St. Paul Center is doing the series The Bible and the Church Fathers. The way of biblical religion is the way of the Fathers. We worship the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, and the God of the Fathers. That's the phrase used by the Apostles and the Early Church.

The Psalmist describes his own doctrine as

. . . things that we have heard and known that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord and His might, and the wonders, which He has wrought. —Psalm 78:3-4

That's what the Fathers of the Church did. They took the proclamation of the Gospel and they brought it to the next generation, and the next generation, and the next generation, until it has come to us.

They were the ones responsible for the great canonizations. They brought forth the canon of Holy Scripture in the fourth century. They brought forth the canon of the great liturgical families. They brought forth the canon we know as the Nicene Creed, the canon we know as the Apostles' Creed. And they passed these things down faithfully until they got to us. We owe them so much.

We see this dynamic all through the Bible, the Old Testament and the New. The teaching of the Fathers is passed to the children, and the children are commanded to honor their fathers and their mothers.

We, too, have received that commandment. The St. Paul Center, in putting together this wonderful study, is following through on that. The Bible and the Church Fathers enables us to be obedient, to be faithful, to that commandment given to us by the Lord and repeated by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

You Might Also Like

Bible and the Church Fathers Books and DVD box

The Bible and the Church Fathers is the fourth study in the Journey Through Scripture series. In twelve beautifully produced lessons, you will learn who the early Church Fathers were and how they shaped the way we read Scripture. You’ll discover the Church’s favorite tools for reading it, and you’ll understand Scripture’s relationship to Tradition and, in particular, to the Sacraments.

What’s more, you’ll recognize the powerful effect of Scripture on the Church Fathers. For them, this was no academic pursuit. Their love of God’s Word transformed their lives—just as it has the power to transform ours today.