Among many of my different tasks as a postulant is to do plenty of reading. The life of Francis of Assisi alone is an omnibus broken into three different books to study. These next two weeks we are focusing on the Catechism.
It's been a while for many of us, but during this year we will make our way through the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). For some of the guys, the list of rules and doctrines is rather boring and hard to grasp. Fortunately for me, much of this book is rather fun to read for me.
The USCCC presents the CCC in a way that's much easier, practical, and smoother to read and digest. Not only does it give a concise explanation of the different doctrines, but gives history, examples, and even questions that one may have in regards to any given catechism.
A few other books that I read along with the required readings are the Holy Quran, several books on spirituality including The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser, the history of the Capuchin Franciscans, and the heavy Code of Canon Law.
Some people make fun of the fact that I'm eagerly reading about Canon Law. "Be careful reading that book," one of the friars told me. "They (the order) may want you to become a canon lawyer!" While much of canon law is related to marriage and annulments these days, I do see a ministry opportunity there as well. There are many people who are away from the Church because of marriages that didn't work out and were not able to get an annulment. While there are strict rules regarding these actions, there's a part of me that sees these people being marginalized from the Church. Sometimes I wonder if all those defections from the Catholic faith that I hear about stem from a person's inability to practice their faith because of a divorce.
I'm not a supporter of divorce or even having kids out of wedlock; hell I made it to age 33 without either of those events transpiring in my life. However as I live this life, I'm forced to look at things from a new perspective. I've stopped seeing just the "right and wrong," rather I try to look for ways to bring all people back to the faith.
These are big questions that require big discussions and a lot more reading. If there's only one absolute I can write this evening, it is that reading has got my mind going, and I'm excited to be learning once again.
Intercession: Christ our light, brighten your Church with your splendor, so that it may be for the nations the great sacrament of your love.