This weekend, I am away from my family, on a retreat of sorts. I am currently enrolled in a master’s program of theological studies through the Institute for Pastoral Theology based out of Ave Maria University (IPT). This is my second of three years that I will be attending classes once a month, eighteen hours at a time. “Why are you doing this to yourself,” many have asked. I couldn’t always answer that question, but this weekend it became clear.
I love to learn. I love to discuss. It is not satisfying to engage myself in a hobby that simply occupies time. Dr. Herrman, my professor for Christian Anthropology, gave me this thought that I had needed to express my reasons for wanting to return to the academic life...“knowledge augments the soul.” I had experienced that last year in my first two semesters of theological studies, though I could not have proclaimed it in such a concise statement. As I learned more about God and who we are in relation to Him, my prayers became more vivid, less nebulous. I suddenly was aware of beauty that I had recently taken for granted. I made connections that had eluded me up to then. It is again as it was on my first day of class. I am realizing that the more I learn, the more I am blown away by the unfathomable, audacious love of God.
Thank God for good and faithful professors who love Christ and His Church! It is a joy to study at the feet of great scholars who are dedicated to Truth. Instead of spending all of my time sifting through mounds of dirt in order to find one gem, I am privileged to open a chest of treasure and study each jewel for as long as my time will allow. It is the eighteen hours in a weekend that some have told me would be too much for them to sit through. I cannot imagine there being any fewer hours. There is no wasted time in IPT. We are beholding precious gems that our loving God has been itching for us to uncover.