Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Love Knows It's Never Too Late To Learn

“What do they have, that I don’t have?”

“How do I find that peace, too?”

I remember asking these questions 14 years ago during my reversion to the Catholic Faith. I hadn't really left the Faith, but would categorize myself as a "cafeteria Catholic" at the time. I really didn't know my Faith, and I wasn’t exactly sure how to proceed in trying to answer those questions. It became my quest to find the answers. What resulted was something amazing and wonderful.

I was impressed by the example of pious Catholic women. So, in an effort to unlock their “secret,” I joined a thriving Mothers Group and its book club. St. Athanasius, a great Doctor of the Church and defender of doctrine, once said, “You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” This was a pearl of wisdom I could not ignore. Spiritual reading opened the door to a desire to grow in holiness in ways I couldn’t even have imagined.

I devoured books about the Faith one after the other, hungering for more. I wanted to read and pray and discuss all the riches that were contained on the pages of those amazing books. A world was opening to me that made sense of the emptiness I felt without faith. Those books were a window into the souls of holy men and women who had gone before, modern Catholic spiritual leaders, spirituality and holiness. It was a humbling and sometimes painful process realizing just how much I didn’t know. Welcome to working on putting pride in its proper place.

I also started going to lectures and attending conferences, like the annual Phases of Womanhood Conference, which inspired both my heart and mind. I would come away with information to research and more books upon which to meditate. These events always provided me with a myriad of questions for my spiritual director. He finally said to me, “These sound like exam questions from my seminary days. You need to consider getting an MA in Theology from Catholic Distance University.”

“Go back to school to get an MA in Theology, how could I make that happen?”

I posed that question to my husband who immediately encouraged me to follow that burning desire to know and love Christ from a more intellectual perspective; to use my mind to inform my heart more formally. So, at age 39 with six children and a husband’s unfailing support, I returned to school to study online for an MA in Theology. God's presence was so clear; I was doing what He wanted. As a result, I graduated November 2009 with my husband, children and mother, Eleanor in attendance. (Oddly enough, I live in the same area where Catholic Distance University is located, so it was easy for me to attend the Mass and graduation ceremony.)

The moral of the story is: When you experience that surge in your heart to know more about the Faith, and to love more through learning, find a way to make it happen. Love knows it’s never too late to learn, because Love Himself is calling you to do so.

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