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Life-Long Learning

September 17, 2010

I just love this time of year.  I think that the 20 years of schooling I have experienced has a huge influence on me (hey, I started when I was 2!) and I have this love for learning that has not quite left me.  I recently completed my Diocesan Institute courses towards my certificate in Youth Ministry and all I have left are 2 courses for the national level certificate.  The national courses are more relevant to the realm of Youth Ministry while the Diocesan Institute courses were more of an in depth look at core tenets of the Catholic faith.  I did enjoy taking those courses for it helped me to appreciate just how awesome our Church is.

Thank God for the JP2 group (http://jp2group.wordpress.com/) which got its start about 5 years ago with some amazing young adults at St. John the Evangelist in San Diego, CA.  The main focus of the gatherings is a study on the upcoming Gospel for Sunday’s Liturgy as well as a deeper look into the encyclicals written by various popes.  An encyclical is a letter addressed by the pope to all the bishops of the church and also available to the lay faithful.

I had my first experience with encyclicals when I spent time with an amazing family, the Faulks,  on Friday nights at their house.  That gathering was simply known as “Friday Night Fellowship” and it was very much the same sort of format as the JP2 gathering of young adults, but the venue was more homey and they had a wonderful collection of musical instruments to play with.  Ahhh…those were some amazing nights of formation for me.  The first encyclical I remember reading was “Casti Connubi”, on Christian Marriage.  Brilliant work by Pope Pius XI.   At FNF, I encountered some really cool people, teachings of the Church and grew in my knowledge of the faith in profound ways.  I’m so glad that I’m still growing.
I’ve been picking up more teachings on the gift of prophecy, particularly through Graham Cooke and it’s been definitely an eye-opening experience.  The Holy Spirit is the part of the Trinity that is not easy to understand or comprehend from time to time, but I know one thing is certain: He’s the part of the Trinity you DON’T want to ignore!  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about Him later.  Tonight’s JP2 gathering was a brief but incredibly rich encounter with St. Ignatius of Antioch.  DB has a brilliant way of presenting topics he’s extremely passionate about, but it’s not hard with such a passionate man of God in St. Ignatius.  His letter to the Romans is such an astounding work that has the Holy Spirit BLAZING through it!  At one point in time I did say, “I’m swooning…”  (you had to be there…)  You want more info, definitely check out the JP2 blog on this wonderful site.
My point in sharing my thoughts as the clock turns over to a new day is that I am so blessed to be able to keep growing in my faith through this particular sphere of my world.  My inner nerd is having a ball learning as much as possible and taking in new ways to see the journey I am on, especially through the lens of those who have traveled this journey long before my own existence.    By knowing that others have traveled this road and have CONQUERED their roadblocks, I receive the strength to pick myself back up, pick up my cross and move forward.  That would be the work of the Holy Spirit in me, giving me the grace to keep going.  In the words of Blessed Junipero Serra, founder of 7 of the 21 California missions: “Siempre adelante” or “Always go forward, never look back”.
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