So all my homework and finals are done, and tomorrow is the last day of formation classes for the semester. I have mixed feelings.
Part of me is so glad that I’ll finally have a break. Two weekends a month plus homework has been a pretty large commitment, and I’m rather exhausted. Every week it has been the same question, “Honey, do you have deacon classes this weekend?” followed by either excitement or a groan depending on my answer. It has simply been a lot of work, and a huge time drain for my family.
On the other hand, I have grown really attached to my classes, and my brother candidates and their wives. Spending that much time together, discussing things of such deep meaning has been an incredible treat, and a holy grace. To suddenly go from meeting extremely regularly, sharing deeply the things that matter to us most, to saying goodbye for the summer is rather sad. I’m sure we will get together individually over the summer, but it isn’t the same.
The highlight of the summer for us will be in August, when the class before us gets ordained. We are all excited for them, we know how long and hard they have worked, and many of them are friends as well. This will also be the first ordination I will have ever seen, and that gets me pretty excited too. It will be fun to see what, God willing, I will be going through in three years. I expect it to be a really exciting night, and I continue to send those men and their wives my prayers.
So I thought it might be nice to recap what we have been studying this semester as a wrap up, both for me, and so that you can get a feeling for what we actually do. This year we have had five main classes: Theology of Vatican II, Fundamental Psychology, Spiritual and Moral Development, New Testament Scripture, and Old Testament Scripture.
Both Scripture classes have really been overview classes, with neither one really delving into details. We learned a lot about how scripture was formed and got a good big picture view. This has been an extremely interesting class, especially over the debates that naturally arise. Some people are comfortable with the idea of scriptures being developed over time, some people are comfortable with the idea of mythology being a part of scripture, some people are more comfortable with a literal translation of scripture. The debates in this class have been really hot.
My Psychology class bored me to tears to be honest. It’s not that the teaching was not good, or that I don’t feel the subject matter is relevant. I just studied a bit too much psychology in college, and didn’t really learn anything new. I am sure I wasn’t as bored as our psychologist candidate though, he looked like he was going to fall asleep in every class.
Our spiritual development class was really interesting. While much of what it had to say was shared in the context of the psychology class, it took the next step, giving us real, concrete ways to assess volunteers in a way to truly determine their potential weaknesses and strengths in ministry. Altogether, a very practical course. (I was also pleased with the low amount of homework!)
The Theology of Vatican II was definitely the class with the most discussion by far. It seemed that every topic that was brought up brought dissension, and that makes for an interesting class. When everyone automatically agrees, or you are just being handed information, it gets rather boring. But get everyone brawling, and it really sparks the brain cells. I just loved this class. Half the time I totally agreed, half the time I was fuming at the mouth. Seriously great fun. Vatican II really stepped into new waters, and it was fun exploring the documents. I will say this though. In reading the documents themselves, I must say they are a harder read than I expected. It really taxes the grey muscle!
And now you know what we do every weekend. We sit around and get fuming mad at each other for differing views, applaud each other when we agree, and pat each other on the back and pray with each other, excited for the next time we get together. Serious fun if you ask me.
I already can’t wait for next semester.