The beginning of the new school year was always exciting for me as a child. Yes, there were the usual concerns about having the correct supplies for class, concerns that my clothing was not the “cool” clothing for the school year (see the Bugs and Taz shirts dressed as Kriss Kross from the 90s), and wondering if I would get lost in the hallways on my way to class. But underneath all of those concerns was always an excitement. I would not admit this to my friends, but my excitement was really centered around the fact that I would be learning something new! I enjoyed my science classes where we learned about the world around us. I delighted in history where we discovered amazing events in human history and learned from them. I enjoyed English and creative writing. I really enjoyed all of it! And I see that happening again and again every year as the students return to school. And this should the be attitude that we have as adults with our entire lives, especially with our life of faith.
I will often hear people make the comment, “They never taught me about that when I was in Catholic schools or in Religious Education!” when they discover a long held belief of the Church or some other teaching that they did not know. The assumption is that everything should have been taught to us by the time that we received the sacrament of Confirmation. While it is true that our Catholic school teachers and our religious education catechists worked hard to teach us about our Catholic faith, it is possible that they missed some particulars or (dare I say), we were not paying close attention. As a result, we did not retain some of the truths taught about our faith. It is when we discover this reality that we must embrace that desire to learn and seek out to discover the truths of our faith on our own.
Thankfully, we live in the 21st century where there are more resources to learn about our faith than any prior generation of Catholics. Some of the great resources that we have at our fingertips are the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the writings and teachings of the Church as found at www.vatican.va, the books from quality Catholic publishing companies, the good Catholic book stores that we have in the Twin Cities, the Lightous Catholic Media CDs that can be ordered, and the different programs and offerings that we have right here in our very own parish! We have been hardwired from God to learn and discover the world that God created and ultimately to discover God himself. As we see the children returning to school this week with the desire to learn, let us reignite that same desire in our hearts to learn more about our Catholic faith so that we might love God and our neighbor all the more. May God bless you and your pursuit of learning his truth this week.
Fr Nathan LaLiberte