17 February 2011

I Learned My Theology at Home

There is, right now, in my prayer, ministerial and intellectual life, a recurring theme that I wanted to share. It is something along the lines of the famous line: everything I need to know, I learned in kingergarten.

I don't wish to be anti-intellectual.  And, for those of you who read this blog regularly, you know that I am not.  Yet as I attend four different theology classes this semester, I worry that real harm is being done when we "go under the hood" when doing theology and fail to marvel at the fact that the car moves at all.  Surely to examine the individual trees of this topic or that is vital.  Surely the intellectual exercise inherent in theology is good and just.  And, perhaps most importantly, as future priests, deacons, brothers, sisters, religious education directors and so on, it is important to possess a clear and deep understanding of the intricate matters of Catholicism.


If in studying theology, or reading the assigned tomes, or in the verbal jousting so loved by graduate students, the true teacher, Christ, is forgotten, mitigated, warped, minimized, shunted, pushed, shoved or otherwise moved from His throne as the Alpha and Omega, I fear we've missed the point.

After two and a half (wow!) years of religious life, I have learned how dangerous it is to attribute motives to the pursuits of those around me.  But, at the end of the day, I know that I desire to study theology and be a priest because of the Truth, regardless of whatever "truths" I am taught.

I have often mentioned Dom LeClerq's classic treatise, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God as describing my basic theological position and desired intellectual posture.  Allow me to push this a bit further.  My desire for God has drawn out of me a deep desire to learn.  However, the major lessons of Christianity, I believe I have already learned and now merely attempt to explain and perfect.

From my passed-on grandmother, I learned how to pray to my God.
From my mother, I learned how to hope in the power of God.
From my dad, I learned how to trust in God and how to show integrity in His presence.
From one grandfather (and the stories told about him), I learned how to have joy in the precious life given to us by God.
From my other grandfather, I learned about endurance in suffering and grace in that same experience.
From my still-living grandmother, I've learned about how one can (and must) love another person so much that the heart is seared and permanently given.

Yes, I learned about God from my home.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I think that God means us to learn about his nature and his love for us from the loving example of other humans--that's one of the reasons for the Incarnation!