Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
‘True piety admits no other rule than that whatsoever things have been faithfully received from our fathers the same are to be faithfully consigned to our children; and that it is our duty, not to lead religion whither we would, but rather to follow religion whither it leads; and that it is the part of Christian modesty and gravity not to hand down our own beliefs or observances to those who come after us, but to preserve and keep what we have received from those who went before us.”
Vincent of Lérins (died c. 445) in The Commonitory of Vincent of Lérins 6.16 (London: Aeterna, 1894).
I did not know much about Vincent of Lérins until my dear friend, John Stanley, alerted me to his wisdom yesterday. Thank God for faithful friends!
To “faithfully consign” something is to deliver it diligently to the next generation. What I love about John he wakes up each day ready to do is part to pass the baton.
What about you? Do you focus on getting yourself out of the way so that what others receive is pure goodness from God? Or are you handing down your own beliefs?
Basically Vincent was saying that every generation can either pass it on or screw it up. His resolve after the Council of Ephesus was not to mess things up. With him, let’s get it right.
While our Lord tarries His return, which seems almost imminent, let’s not hand down our own agendas but “what we received from those who went before us.”
That’s generosity, because what we are preserving and passing on is priceless.