Alas, Summer is Fading...

It’s that time of year – time for summer to wind down before our very eyes, and for the joys of learning to reemerge as school comes to session… OK, so the essence of learning might not be truly captured by the word “joy,” but nevertheless…

Next to praying, studying is one of the most beneficial things we can do to grow closer to the Lord. In fact, prayer without some degree of study (for anyone in the modern world, at least) could most likely be considered as lacking in love. The past few weeks of Italian language study have provided a good chance for me to consider this reality; watching my summer dissipate into 6-hour days of verb conjugations and grammar paradigms has been a (metaphysically) positive experience. Learning isn’t always fun – and sometimes it’s just absolutely tedious and painful – but we don’t do it because it’s fun, we do it for the glory of God.

It seems common that college students today believe in learning as a means to success in the work-world and a reliable way of ensuring a higher-than-average income. Why wouldn’t they think that; our culture screams it left and right. But again, the reality is not what appears on the surface – we are called by God to learn so that we might give greater glory to Him through our temporal (i.e. earthly) endeavors. When we feel overburdened by our studies, the only justifiable response is to offer the struggle to the Lord, since our studies are His anyway.

As I alluded to before, modern times present us with the most severe need for learning amongst the Catholic faithful that the world has ever known. With increasingly complex moral issues coming to the forefront (e.g. abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research, contraception, AIDS, etc.), the only way justice can be done is if faithful Christians learn both the tenets of their faith and the principles of science. The same applies to the business world; holiness must spill over from churches into the office place and saturate the way business is carried out. This is precisely why God calls some men and women to be married or single, and to function in the world as secular, non-ordained/professed disciples of Jesus Christ. The call of the lay faithful is great indeed!

So next time you get stressed out about your studies (I know summer is still here, but let’s face it, it will happen soon enough…), don’t lament in vain, but offer your sufferings with the Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross. By continuing to learn, we can edify the Holy Church and Her mission of conversion more than we ever thought possible. Pray especially to St. Thomas Aquinas, patron saint of students, for help when the times get tough... but I'm warning you, he won't give you the answers to essay exams if you haven't already studied for them!

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    # by Andrea - August 9, 2007 at 3:24 PM

    Nice post- I was actually just thinking today about how I was dreading going back to the work side of school and you gave me a new perspective- thanks

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    # by Anonymous - August 9, 2007 at 10:21 PM

    Very true Andy. Study is truly a labor but as you say, it is for the Lord and how sweet our sacrifices to the Lord are when we offer them in union with His Mother and His Cross. Perhaps you could write on some ways to strengthen virtue and our ability to act as we should even when we do not want to. Thanks for the great post!

    In Christ,