Unlocking the Power of Prayer and Identity in Catholic Education

Welcome to the Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle, where we explore the intersection of Catholic prayer and identity. Join Jonathan as he delves into the transformative power of prayer and reflects on its significance in shaping our vocation and understanding of ourselves as educators. Get ready for enriching discussions on strengthening faith and embracing the unchanging truth of our identity as beloved children of God. Stay tuned for insightful reflections and empowering insights.

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    Welcome Aboard: Exploring Catholic Education, Prayer, and Identity

    Jonathan Doyle Talks About Fundamental Catholic Subjects
    Jonathan Doyle Talks About Fundamental Catholic Topics

    Join us as we discuss the intertwining themes of Catholic education, prayer, and identity.

    Hello there my friend, Jonathan Doyle, is with you as always. Welcome to the Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. Wherever you are on the planet, welcome aboard. It is a pleasure to be with you, coming to you from the studio here in Australia.

    It is hot here at the moment. We haven’t had much of a summer, but we’ve definitely got one today, which is actually quite pleasant. I got up early this morning, had my prayer time, and jumped on the bike. Then I knocked out a quick 70 kilometers on the bike. I came home and I went to the gym. I feel like I’m pretty good, actually. I’ll see how I feel in a few hours, but right now I’m feeling really good. It’s great to be talking to everybody.

    Housekeeping, as always, please make sure you have subscribed. If you listen regularly, hit that subscribe button, whatever podcast platform you are on, it does make a difference. Everything else you need to know about me: how to book me for speaking consultancy projects. All the other stuff is on the website: jonathandoyle.co. And if you are on Instagram, you can find me at @jdoylespeaks. I am putting stuff out there every day. If you’re up at 4:00 AM in the mornings and you’ve been completely looking for something to do, jump on Instagram because you will find me there, usually around 4:00 AM each day. Posting the insanity that makes up my daily life. 

    Faith-Infused Reflections: Strengthening Vocation with Catholic Prayer

    Ceiling of a Church - Holy Spirit - Dove

    One of the reasons I get up really early is to make sure that God gets the first and best time of the day. I’ll talk about the need to strengthen our vocation with the helps of the faith. Our beautiful Catholic faith gives us so many helps. It gives us the sacraments, it gives us the magisterium, it gives us the saints.

    One of the things that’s been huge for me over the years is, of course, the divine office. And at the moment, I’m doing my daily prayer and my daily scripture study, reading through the office of readings each day. It’s so cool because I ask the Holy Spirit every day if there’s anything particular that he wants me to share with you, just to make it clear to me.

    Understanding Catholic Prayer as a Spiritual Sacrifice

    People Praying in the Catholic Church

    This morning I was reading a treatise in the office of readings. A treatise from Tertullian on prayer. You’ll never guess what it’s about. All right, let’s jump in. And it was just the first line that jumped straight out at me. And I want to share it with you.

    “Prayer is the spiritual offering, which has abolished the ancient sacrifices.”

    I’m not going to read the rest. It’s quite a long selection this morning from the office of readings, but Tertullian goes into this incredible exegesis on just how prayer becomes our sacrifice to God.

    I don’t know; I can’t speak for you, but I personally have not sacrificed a bull or a goat recently. And I’m just looking at my calendar here, and I have not scheduled any bull or goat sacrifices in the medium term. Life is long; anything’s possible, but probably, I’d say, you and I are not heavily geared towards animal sacrifice. And sprinkling blood all over ourselves. It’s not something we’re probably doing right now.

    What this beautiful reading is saying is that the gift that the Lord has given to us in prayer, as Tertullian says, abolishes the ancient sacrifices. And it’s just an interesting thought. I wanted to just put that out there for you because we bring our worship as a sacrifice and our prayer as a sacrifice to God, and it’s pleasing and acceptable to him.

    Optimizing Your Catholic Prayer Life

    Candles and Flowers in Catholic Home Altar for Praying

    We pray for our students, our parents, our school communities, our leaders, our principals, and our bishops. It’s the ablation that is pleasing to God—the ablation of our prayer, the sacrifice of our prayer. So just make sure that no matter how crazy busy your life is, you are making some special time every single day to be with the Lord in prayer. Always remember that great quote from Basil Pennington:

    “Pray as you can, not as you can't.”

    So you don’t have to follow any particular format. You don’t have to follow anybody else’s rules; whatever draws you into a deeper relationship with Christ. That is the point of prayer; that’s the relationship. You used to say that it was just a glance toward heaven. Just the desire, the being with God.

    Unveiling Catholic Identity: A Reflection on its Impact on Students and Society

    Multi Color Human Faces for Diversity in Culture

    Now, the other thing I wanted to talk to you about today is that I just wanted to mention something to you around identity and how identity is impacting our students. We’re close to releasing a massive new online program around respectful relationships and consent education, which is a big thing happening here in Australia and probably other parts of the world too. And one of the modules that I’ve been writing revolves around the issue of identity.

    I’ve been working through some quotes from the catechism and from some bishops conference documents. But what strikes me, and what I wrote about in the module, is how we’re a culture strangely obsessed with identity, right? We talk about identity politics. We know about all the other issues around gender identity, which seems to be a huge issue for our culture.

    I wonder if it’s because Freud used to say that when the church abandons something, the culture picks it up. The idea that we have lost track as a culture of our identity, our filial identity, really as sons and daughters. Then identity becomes malleable. The Marxists knew this really well: that the constructs of identity become malleable. You can twist them, turn them, change them, use them, and try to push people into different identity groups and pit them against each other.

    Catholic Identity in Education: Embracing the Unchangeable Truths

    What I want to remind us of is what this program we’re working on is seeking to do. It’s to remind us that what we can do with our students is remind them of their pre-imminent identity. They can change how they dress. They can change how they look. I also mentioned in the modules about social media, right? We can jump on social media and change the identity that we present to the world.

    There are all these ways in which we can influence and change how we want to be perceived by the outside world. But there is one preexisting aspect of identity that cannot be changed. And that’s a creation in the image and likeness of God. And I guess our adoption as sons and daughters through baptism. You can do whatever you want, you can dress however you want, you can get facial tats, but it’s not changing the deepest ontological truth. About who we are. I think this is why we have so much in Catholic education to take back to our students.

    I said to an archbishop recently that we’ve been in a crouch position for too long. And the more that I’ve been studying, for me, Marxism has a great deal to do with it. If you understand Marxist ideology, you understand a lot of what’s happened in education over the last 50 to 100 years.

    Nurturing Identity and Truth in Young Minds

    Group of Teenagers With Questions

    You know this idea that there is an ontological truth that we have something to say; we don’t need to constantly be going. “Oh my gosh, I hope I don’t sound stupid, but I hope the kids don’t laugh at us.” It’s no; we go towards young men and women with the truth of their identity in Christ, because if we don’t, what else have we got? What are we doing? What’s making up our days and nights as Catholic educators?

    If we don’t eventually have the courage and confidence in the right context—not every conversation, not every class, not all the time—but in the appropriate moments, say to them, Hey. Let’s talk about identity, let’s talk about who you really are, let’s talk about the truth: there’s something about you that can’t be affected by popularity, by looks, by social status, by prestige, by money, by injury, by anything. Wouldn’t that be good news for young people struggling with identity?

    I’ve got three teenagers, and Karen and I have worked really hard over the years to build a strong sense of who they are, who we are as a family, and the things that are important and where they belong. What our story is: because there’s a hunger for identity, especially around those sensitive. You know what Maria Montessori used to refer to as the sensitive periods—particular times in a child and adolescent life where they have these openings to deeper questionings around things.

    Nurturing Identity Through Prayer and Personalism

    Catholic Christian Bible Study - Studying the Word of God in Churches

    So all I’m going to say to you today is: first, let’s follow Tertullian’s great quote: prayer is the spiritual offering, which has abolished the ancient sacrifices. Let’s remember that, and then let’s remember that we have good news about identity. It is a hot topic, we just need to be grounded in our Catholic philosophical anthropology. And if you know a bit about it, read about it.

    There’s a book right here for me at the moment on my shelf, which I’m going to read again because they’ve got a lot of speaking coming up. It’s by John F. Crosby; it’s called “The Personalism of John Paul II.” It’s almost a pamphlet; let me have a look at it for you right here in the studio. It’s 93 pages, and they’re very short. You could read anything, but I just would encourage you to begin to find your courage, find your voice, rekindle your faith, and go back towards young men and women with the good news of Jesus Christ and their identity as unrepeatable miracles that have never existed in cosmic history and will never exist again in the future. That they are of value, worth, and dignity.

    The deepest aspect of their identity is their creation in the image and likeness of God. God willed them into existence. He wanted them to exist on their best days, and on their worst days, they have an identity that transcends anything that this culture can throw at them. So let’s reconnect them to that.

    Your Go-To Catholic Speaker and Consultant

    Jonathan Doyle During A National Catholic Conference
    Jonathan Doyle During A National Catholic Conference

    All right, my friends, that is it from me. Please make sure you’re subscribed. If you are looking for a Catholic speaker, if you’re listening to this, if only we could get Jonathan to come and speak to our teachers, speak in our diocese, and speak at our event. Or do some training for us or some consultancy work. What a coincidence! That’s exactly what I do.

    I’ll be back in the States again soon. And of course, here in the Asia-Pacific region, you can find everything on the website: jonathandoyle.co. If you’re on Instagram, please come and say, Hi, @jdoylespeaks. Send me a DM. So, Jonathan, I just want to say hello and listen to your podcast. Here’s what I think you should do an episode on.

    God bless you, everybody. My name is Jonathan Doyle, and it is my joy to bring you the Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. Because you are doing very important work. God sees every bit of it. He’s ridiculously proud of you. You and I are going to talk again tomorrow. 

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    Jonathan Doyle


    I’m on a mission to liberate the potential of the incredible people that make up your organisation, school, or business.

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