First of all:
I mean it!
Latin is an extraordinarily beautiful and sacred language. It is the language of the Catholic Church. Used in the Church and by the Church for millennia, the Latin language does two profound things: it unites Catholics across time and space, and it clarifies the Church’s thought and teaching like nothing else. (Here is an article explaining the beauty of Latin, our universal language, and its place in our liturgy in greater detail!) While in the secular world study of Latin has gained the reputation of something for “smart people” only, Latin is something that each and every Catholic can know about and feel comfortable with. Connect with your Catholic heritage and learn to love your Mother’s language! You can get started reading and learning Latin today, right now. Here you go:
Ready to read some Latin?
Maria sancta est. Angeli boni et sancti sunt. Aqua sancta est bona.
Angelus est bonus. Mundus non parvus est. Vita bona est!
Terrae parvae non sunt. Terrae sanctae sunt. Jesus Dominus est.
Deus est magnus. Dominus bonus et magnus est. Jesus est Deus Filius.
Okay, how did that feel?
Guess what–you just learned all this just now:
* * * 16 Latin words–The concept of Latin modifiers matching endings for case and number–Nominative case endings for 1st and 2nd declension (feminine and masculine)–Predicate adjectives–the concept that word order doesn’t matter in Latin, endings do! * * *
Not bad for a day’s work, huh? After this small taste, I really hope you decide to continue your study of Latin!
- Take baby steps. Use a curriculum written for children, and you will make progress quicker than you might expect, feeling comfortable while having your hand held by a wise teacher. There are many good texts and resources out there for learning Church Latin, both free online and new available for purchase.
- Surround yourself with Latin. Use the internet to find the Latin versions of your favorite Scripture verses. Reading them over and comparing them, you will see the way Latin works as a real language (rather than a textbook exercise!), meant to communicate real thoughts and ideas. Memorize common prayers like the Ave Maria (Hail Mary) and Pater Noster (Our Father). If you make Latin a part of your everyday life, you will soon think of yourself as a true student of Latin!
- Motivate yourself. Besides the many spiritual reasons to become familiar with this language, there are the intellectual ones as well. Keep all these reasons in mind as you pursue your study. I’ll leave you to ponder these two quotes by a Latin expert and curriculum writer:
Latin develops the powers of observation, comparison, attention to detail, and concentration.
Latin is a journey. It can take you to the very height of what it means to be an educated person.