Build your own memory mansion (1)

The power of memorisation is something which has been woefully neglected in modern education, but which forms the core both of the education of antiquity and of the perennial catechetical discipline of the Church. In the ancient world, the importance of memory was extolled by Simonides, Aristotle and Cicero; and in the Christian world, by St Augustine, St Albert the Great and St Thomas Aquinas. St Thomas goes as far as to associate memory with the practice of virtue — specifically the virtue of prudence. 

It is also an admirable and longstanding discipline in the Church to have children and catechumens commit the whole catechism to memory. Catechisms designed for this purpose are ordered into short, unambiguously phrased questions and concise answers, not only as an important aid for memorisation, but in order to convey the truths of the faith as simply and precisely as possible — building up a strong spiritual edifice, as it were, brick by brick.

This is exactly what is accomplished through Our Lady of the Rosary Family Catechism, which covers the entire Baltimore Catechism in 40 beautiful video lessons, each with its own activity pack, breaking down this unparalleled monument of traditional Catholic teaching into manageable (and memorable) chunks.

Memory is one of the greatest powers of the human mind; human beings have exceptionally good visio-spatial memory in particular, which can be harnessed and adapted to almost any purpose with the help of good learning methods and a simple mnemonic technique known as “artificial memory”. This is what enabled St Thomas Aquinas to compose his magnum opus, the Summa theologiae mentally, with the aid of only a few notes at most, and to dictate it to his scribe in its finished form! But one does not need to be a doctor of the Church (or a doctor of any kind) to develop and make use of “artificial memory”. It is accessible to everyone, applicable to almost any situation, and will open doors to help you advance in all aspects of life.

To see how this is done — not only practically but perfectly and permanently — return to the Family and Life Academy Blog for future instalments of this series .