“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” – John 8:32
True freedom – more than merely being without constraint or restriction – is found in one’s ability to do the Good. Put differently, it is one’s ability to act always in accord with the truth of one’s nature, which is compelled ever-forward by, and finally reaches its perfection in, the Good. But to have the ability to do the Good, and thus to obtain true freedom, one must, first, be able to rightly see & understand the world around them; he or she must have a rich encounter with reality (with attention, as discussed above, being the precondition for such an encounter). From the subject areas we teach, to our emphasis on theater & engagement with the natural world, to our Socratic questioning of the “given” structures of modern life (occurring in class and out of class), Canongate leads students into an encounter with reality.
Canongate sees a formation in the virtues as an integral part of education.
Second, to have the ability to do the Good, one must have the various “powers of soul” collectively & usually referred to as “the virtues”. To that end, Canongate sees a formation in the virtues as an integral part of education. Our students are not told what to do & how to act exclusively from the top down but are asked to self-govern & take an important role in fostering the culture of the school. A school cannot become good by imposing goodness on students; rather, good students and thus a good school, must be formed & grown to have characters which can act rightly as if by second nature.
But for the Christian, as Jesus in St. John’s Gospel tells us, the Good is not an abstract philosophical concept, but Christ himself, the Word-made-flesh. encountering the person of Christ and being his disciple is, therefore, essential to any sense of freedom worthy of the name. And this is why, for Canongate, the liturgical life of the Church courses throughout & punctuates our school day and school year. Morning Prayer, Mass, The Angelus, sacred music, spiritual guidance & mentorship, and courses designed to make theology come alive in practice – all these and more pattern our days, drawing us further along in our discipleship to Christ, and thus toward true freedom.