Friday, November 17, 2006

When Do I Have to Believe All This Stuff?

We are filled when we are young with all manner of information; people and places, dates, and diagrams, maps and mathematical formulas, theories and theorems. We are filled to overflowing with information.

Then, in the middle of this cacophany of cognitive activity (we hope, we hope, we hope), something happens. Something wonderful. It's the something every teacher dreams of and looks for in his or her students, like a gold digger looks for sparkles in the glassy-eyed riverbed. It's the moment when the mind opens and the channel from the brain to the heart is cleared of obstructions. Information turns into formation. The heart hears, recognizes and responds. The pupil dilates, expanding to let in the light.

I love teaching. LOVE it. I love to dive into a classroom of 15 year olds who have been drinking in the foul air of our culture and offer them the sweet fragrance that is Christ. The scent of eternity that the human heart, at every age, secretly and deeply longs for, though we may know it not.

God zapped me when I was 15 years old. Suddenly, right there in the middle of my freshmen year. Somewhere between my crush on Sharon H. and my eager anticipation of Return of the Jedi, I came to the realization that God was REAL. God was a Person, not just a parable or a story in a book. He was inviting me into a relationship with Him. Yikes! This awakening stirred me up. It called me to respond. This Divine invitation had an RSVP.

Now if you're like me, sometimes you let those invites sit on the kitchen table for awhile next to the bills. Maybe it feels like a burden at first. Another obligation, and you have to check the calendar. Or maybe you feel really happy that someone was thinking of you. But now you need to get back to them. You have to let them know if you are available... or not.

Sometime last year, as I was teaching my freshmen boys, one student asked a question that I thought was a glimmer of an awakening. I think he heard an invitation. I teach Scripture, so the Divine Whisper just murmurs all class long. The Word is right in front of us! In the middle of a lesson, perhaps on Abraham, Moses or David, and their radical journey of trust, a student asked "When do we have to believe all this stuff?"

I love teenagers.

"Well," I paused, looking at their faces, so full of questions, "you are invited to believe right now. Right here... You're on the same walk."

Silence.

Yikes...

"Any other questions?" God of Mystery, empty our hearts of all distractions and turn our hearts into vessels, open and ready to receive the love You are pouring into us from all directions! Turn knowledge into wisdom, facts into faith, and information into transformation!

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