In preparation for a talk I’ll be giving in December, I am revisiting some dear old friends-in-print: Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, the Didache, Loving the Church by Cardinal Shonborn. It all has me remembering a lot of things. Why I got into Theology; why I loved every day that I was able to study it at Franciscan U; why I thrill with elation in the moment of catechesis… I can hear Sr. M. Johanna’s voice as she lectures on christocentricity, and Fr. Pattee’s insightful explanation of each of the seven Sacraments. I remember the excitement of (the attempt at) absorbing the depth of Dr. Hahn’s lectures, and the giddiness of grasping, after considerable effort, an eternal truth that was new to my mind and heart. Considering how frustrated, impatient and drained I get from the task, the love I have for learning the mysteries of the faith must be what keeps me teaching it. I complain because I get worn out; I weaken because I neglect prayer; I am discouraged because my calling to adult catechesis doesn’t translate into a full time gig in the Church. None of this stands much of a chance though in the face of becoming a theology student once again, be it in my bedroom with a book in my hands or at a lecture or Bible study. On such occasions, I am renewed in both the joy I am gifted with when I study the faith and in the commitment previously made to be a catechist in whatever ways God allows.
I mean, when I read, “There are two ways, one of life and one of death; but a great difference between the two ways,” and realize I have the opportunity to not only learn but also share the very faith that the Apostles learned firsthand from Jesus and taught to the first generation of Christians, my heart can’t help but cry out in gratitude to the Lord.