Saturday, August 16, 2008

Answers

Remember in an earlier post when I said "Our Lady tends to eschew theological discussions." Well, that certainly needs to be amended to "Our Lady tends to hold off on deep theological discussions until we are ready to truly listen. Man, did my head get expanded by this amazing lecture by our new parish priest, Father Avelino.

Father has taken his priesthood formation training from seminary and adapted it to us laity aspire to holiness. The basic idea is that the four elements of healthy humanity need to be developed equally in all of us: our relationships, our spirituality, our intellect and our apostolic ministry.

His talk was so deep and multi-layered. I'm sure that I'll be posting about different parts for the next few weeks.

Sitting in the lecture I had two overpowering thoughts. The first one, is that I'm clearly being called to join the lay Carmelite order. My husband and I have both discerned this call for awhile now. For months, I've started to see signs every where. Father mentioned the lay Carmelite order, just in passing during his speech, and I felt this tap on my head. It was a purely physical reaction my body had to those three words. It's becoming more and more obvious that this is where Jon and I are supposed to go.

The second over-powering thought is that I finally have a verbal words to all this vague feelings I had about my reasons for home-schooling.

In my life, I grew up with the intellect entirely separated from the rest of my soul. My parents are both strong Protestants, they are both college professors and they both actually teach at a Methodist college. Yet they raised me to have this strict wall between the "reason" part of my brain and the "faith" part. I went to public school and learned stuff there. Then I went to Sunday School and learned other stuff in that classroom. The stuff in the two classrooms never mixed.

The most extreme example of this division came in law school. We were trained by our professors NEVER to make value judgments. We couldn't argue one outcome was "better" or more "fair." We couldn't say "justice demands this." I had to check my heart at the door and make decisions on abstract legal concepts, which were more "fair" for being cold, reasonable and above feelings or emotions.

I know now, that the law does not operate in a vacuum. Real flesh and blood judges made decisions on gut feelings or sympathy all of the time. This artificial division of a law based on "pure reason" isn't accurate.

My hope for Hannah, is that she pursues her life as a Catholic. Being Catholic means someone who has faith, reason, passion all integrated in her life. The intellect is a means to "know God." It's important for her to learn how to read and write. Yet those are not goals in and of themselves. Her intellect has value only in so far as she uses her mind in harmony with her faith. That harmony is something I hope to model as Hannah's mom and as her kindergarten teacher.

There are so many wonderful, wonderful saints in the Arts and in the Sciences. My hope is that every thing we study, from addition to astronomy to the ABC, keep pointing us back to a deeper understanding of our faith.

I'm teaching because I want to be there to help heal this false division between reason and religion. I'm teaching because I'm excited about standing in that gap.

1 comment:

Maria said...

You've probably read some of him already, but I've found the writings of our new pope embody the perfect harmony of faith and reason. I (finally) just read his encyclical On Hope, and it was AMAZING.