As students are progressing in the school year, we should remember that our education in the faith should never end. The faith is like an ever-expanding frontier through which we can delve more and more into the mysteries of the greater realm. For example, as the great sixteenth century Carmelite mystic St. Theresa of Avila once wrote about the Gospels, “I am always finding fresh lights there, hidden and enthralling meanings.”
One should not think that theological insights and developments are reserved only for the great theologians. By declaring the fairly simple nineteenth Carmelite nun St. Therese of Liseaux a doctor of the Church (one of only 36 people to receive that honor) St. Pope John Paul II emphasized that even seemingly ordinary people can have great wisdom to be shared with others.
To make adult education more available at this parish we have had several series of classes over the last two and a half year, and I will be offering more sessions starting this Advent. In particular, I will offer three sets of classes from Advent through the Easter season.
- The first series of classes, which will take place over the four weeks of Advent, will be on prayer life. They will cover: (1) overall ways of prayer and insights into prayer; (2) the wisdom of specific Catholic devotions, including the rosary, the Divine Mercy chaplet, and the stations of the Cross; (3) praying with Scripture; and (4) the importance of art, music, literature and architecture in prayer.
- The second series, which will take place over six weeks in January and February, will cover American church history.
- The third series of classes, which will take place mostly during the Lenten and Easter seasons, will cover the wisdom contained in the fourteen encyclical letters of St. Pope John Paul II.
An encyclical letter is a letter from the Pope to the whole Church, and generally develops a theological theme, as well as often reiterating or developing Church doctrine. St. John Paul II was not only a powerful and charismatic Church leader, but also a first rate theologian; and his insights can bring light to a very confused world.
Because weekday nights seem to be occupied with many other things, the initial plan is to have these classes on Saturday mornings from 10:30 – noon. We will change that plan if needed.
And, as with previous classes, outlines of the class are available to anyone. I encourage all parishioners, and anyone interested in developing their faith, to take advantage of these or other opportunities to become, in the words of Moses the prophet, “a wise and intelligent people.” Duet. 4:6.