For Stein, the educator “must never forget that, above all, the primary and most essential Educator is not the human being but God Himself (107). As a result, given the educator’s witness of life lived in relationship with Christ, “children in school . . do not need merely what we have but rather what we are” (6). The method of a true education depends on this witness: “The most effective educational method is not the word of instruction but the living example without which all words remain useless” (6). Only a witness has the capacity to break through the encrustation of the human heart. Life lived according to one’s nature in the embrace of the Church is more fulfilling than any human reductiveness or doubt about the greatness of God’s call to existence. A life lived according to this nature and vocation incarnates the Truth that has loved man and woman into existence in the first place.
Having read the novel, you can open it at random and be instantly returned to the enthralling if progressively more unhappy inner life of Newland Archer, married to one woman and infatuated with another. You can attend the choreographed dinners and lawn parties, ride in carriages and on ferries, and eavesdrop on seemingly straightforward conversations that conceal—that barely conceal—layers of nuance, subtext, unspoken longing, suppressed declarations of love and overt demarcations of territory. We get to know the characters so well that we know instantly how each major figure is responding to a bit of new information or a changed view of the situation. After a while the author no longer needs to tell us.