21 February 2011

An Antidote

One of the dangers of advanced theological education is that when one "looks under the hood" the eyes of faith are dimmed, or even more seriously, lost.  Most practically, it seems to me that a life of prayer will prevent this.  However, there are plenty of prayerful people I know who have had their faiths dampened, warped or baptized by skepticism.

Each Monday I have the great privilege of working with a family in our parish's RCIA program.  From a base of absolutely nothing, each week two of the brothers and me have been tasked with literally teaching them the building blocks of the Catholic faith.  I come away each Monday with two emotions which vie for supremacy. On hand hand, I feel extremely blessed to be able to share the faith with this family.  On the other, I realize how completely unprepared I am in both mind and spirit to pass along the faith.

And yet, when I reflect on these emotions, I grow more and more thankful for the latter emotion.  Perhaps the worst thing that any person -- professor, priest, catechist -- can have happen to them is to begin to believe in their own erudition and theological intellect.

Perhaps one of my most heartfelt prayers each evening is to be spared from this pride.  And while it likely isn't politically correct to admit and it might result in many a graduate student questioning my credentials, I talk to Mary (yes, the Mother of God) about this a lot.

And this perhaps brings me to the conclusion about both advanced theology and my devotion to Mary: devotions may be considered outdated through the prism of contemporary theology, but, my rule of thumb is this: if it was good enough for my grandmother when she had an ill husband, five children, one of whom was drafted into the army, it's good enough for me.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Good food for thought