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Thursday, March 08, 2007

I go, and it is done...

So it is.

I have just submitted my first assignment to the just judgment of my professor. I am not at all confidant in my work although I THINK I have grasped the concepts and the essential elements required for the questions, I will just have to wait and see what happens.

I have agonized over these questions, I have read and re-read Redemptor Hominis and you would NOT believe how marked up that little booklet is! I consider the work to be well worth it as I've been pondering the mystery of God a great deal in recent nights, sensing that there is something just outside of my sphere of understanding, something I can't quite grasp, something my heart and soul are striving to embrace. I suspect, though, that I may never truly grasp this mystery of the love of God with my finite mind. But answer the questions in my first assignment? I can barely form coherent sentences! What a struggle this has been!

I finally realized that if I have not been able to answer my assigned questions by now, though, then the next couple days will not make a difference; it's time to simply turn in my work and pray for the best, and then go on to learn from my mistakes. I have often learned the most from my mistakes and this is likely to be one of those times. I accept that.

What scares me, though, and part of the agony I've been going through was a comment the professor made during our orientation; he suggested that in his experience, those who do not do well on the first assignment really struggle with the others, although this is obviously not always the case.

I've never been the struggling student, (outside of math, geometry and statistics, that is!), and I don't want to be now, but at the same time, sometimes we need that struggle. I do NOT want to do badly on this first assignment, fearing that if the grade is poor my confidence will be COMPLETELY undermined.

But there's another issue; I had to ask myself why I am taking this class, seeking this personal holy grail? Does GOD want the grade to matter? Is this about God, or is this about me?

I have to be careful to not be seeking this degree for my glory, but for God's glory. There is a temptation to pride in being accepted to a grad program and even further if doing well. Yet it goes back to 1 Corinthians 13:

2 And if I have prophetic power, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing....

8. as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect.

I have been praying about this as I do not know if I will turn in my application for the Masters in Pastoral Theology; I do not know for certain if it is the right time, or if I am doing it for the right reason. I have not yet figured out if I am seeking my own glory or God's.

The one thing I do know is that I love what I am learning, the knowledge and understanding are drawing me closer to Christ in ways I did not expect, and my eyes have been opened to mysteries I have not even BEGUN to fathom.

For so much of my life I was deprived of authentic Catholicism, authentic religion, authentic truth. When I finally began to seek God in earnest, I became nearly overwhelmed by the thirst and hunger for Him. That mad demand is not there anymore, but the thirst for deeper knowledge and understanding has remained. As I have begun this class, I sense that thirst returning yet again, and I sense this is the grace of God inviting me to penetrate the mystery of His identity and my identity as a human being, to become, as John Paul II puts it, "ever more human."

I want to continue on in my studies for the pure sake of knowledge, and then, in turn, to share that knowledge with the world because the world is in such NEED of the TRUTH! Yet I don't know if it is my calling, I don't know if I have the ability to do this. It is a struggle.

But I have learned that the best things in life are difficult and present challenges we never thought we could overcome.

So for now, I'm taking each day as it comes, not making any decisions, not burning any bridges, just working on keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus, praying that He will lead me to wherever it is that He wants me to serve Him.


Anonymous said...

"Eyes fixed on Jesus"--the only way to live! God bless you!

Our family is going through a "desert" experience where we live in a small rural town where there are only a handful of Catholics and of course, they haven't been catechized. Everyone else is protestant. It is tiring to be an apologist 24/7--always trying explain (even to the Catholics) why we believe what we do.

Keep those eyes fixed on Jesus! So will I!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: I think you are taking this class to learn more of His Truth.

I also think you are being too hard on yourself. You are certainly capable of explaining His Truth. I see it on your blog every day.

Pretend you are writing to your blog audience but academe it up a little. I have confidence in you!

You are in my prayers. Don't give up. I know your job is getting you down. Don't let that effect your life.

Kiwi Nomad said...

I think you will find the second assignment easier. In 2005 I did a biology paper, my first academic study for more years than I care to name. The first assignment, genetics problems, had my brain turning the most incredible contortions. But once I "got in the groove" I realised the paper was manageable after all. I am now starting a second paper, and I have renewed confidence. I am sure you will get some confidence in the next paper, even if not in this one!

Deacon Bill Burns said...

I have no doubt you'll do fine. And as kiwi nomad 2006 said, your first academic paper in years is likely to be more difficult to write.

Adoro said...

suzanne ~ God bless you for stepping up to the challenge you are facing; it would be easier for you to walk away and not engage in discussion. Keep your eyes on Jesus INDEED!

Cathy ~ Actually, my post on human dignity was my attempt to do just that...but it wasn't what was called for in my less-than-one-page question, "What does John Paul II teach about human dignity in Redemptor Hominis"? I actually considered taking the questions and pretending to write the answer for my blog...but because of the specificity needed for the answers, well, it just wasn't going to work. The blog audience versus the professor audience...well, there's a higher standard called for, a more precise understanding needed...and it's difficult. I like the challenge, and thank God, I'm on vacation now so that'll help with the job stress! LOL

Kiwi ~ thanks for the encouragement! The first assignment we had was 5 questions, explaining deep theological concepts in very precise wording - less than 1 page. I HOPE the paper is easier...I have to choose out of the listed topics yet, but after tomorrow's class I should be able to do that. I have already narrowed it to two of the several possible topics (again very specific), but this will be 5 pages on the topic, to include endnotes and a biblio. I've done the biblio before, cited sources certainly, and I had to do footnotes for a high school research paper..but endnotes is new to me. So much to learn!

theocoid ~ we shall see! :-)