Well, it's three weeks into the winter term and this is my first blog post; so much for staying on top of things …
I had a very nice, and all too short, Christmas break. I got to spend precious time with my family and some very dear friends. I flew back to school the night before classes started and I've been at a dead run ever since. I guess I should have clued in when I had to buy 13 books for 4 classes!
I've been in a very reflective mood since I've been back (for those few moments when I've had the freedom to let my thoughts go where they may). I've been thinking about how I see myself and the various roles that I have in my life. I'm learning a new role but all of my other roles are a part of this new one, too. I was sitting with my advisor going over my annual review (I know I've only been here 4 months, but we do these "annual" reviews every January) and I had written something about how I might possibly be able to using my "skills as a trainer" and in another section of the review I discussed my newly discovered passion for catechism and he said, (I think I've mentioned his sarcasm before) "do you think those two things might go together?" And to be honest, I hadn't really put them together until then … another one of my "I'm a little slow on the uptake" moments.
When we got back for this term, we were all anxiously awaiting our marks (Canadian for "grades") from last term; they weren't posted until the end of the first week. I've been a little perplexed with the grading scale and it took some getting used to. It goes like this: anything below 70 is failing; 70-79 is a B, 80-84 an A-, 85-90 an A, and 90-100 an A+. A's of any flavor are tough and no one I've talked to has gotten over an 87 on anything. The average among my "gang" is 78-79 I think. I'm happy with my marks and I did manage (barely) to make my personal goal of marks high enough to qualify for the honors program. I know that some of you reading this have told me that grades don't really matter and I believe you. So I've done some serious soul searching as to why this grade thing is so important to me – is it pride, do I feel like I have something to prove, what? Here's what I've come up with: I simply want to use my God-given skills and talents the best I possibly can in my new role, currently as a seminarian and later as a priest. After all, he entrusted these skills and talents to me and I need to be a good steward of them.
In one of my classes this term, we've been talking about the decline of the church and what are all of the many possible causes and what, as priests going into this shaky future, can we do? There is much unknown ahead of us. But, I will press forward with the understanding that I can draw on the experience all of the roles I've had in my life, past and present, and use all of my skills and talents to do the little part God has given me to do in furthering his mission amidst his creation.