by Lesle Knop
Kids are back in school. How do I know? The school supply displays at the stores are bare. A yellow school bus rumbles down my street twice a day. School zone warning lights flash. The neighborhood is strangely quiet until about four o’clock.
It’s been decades since I was a youngster sharpening pencils and pounding erasers at the little Catholic schools I attended in western Kansas, but I still get excited when autumn rolls around. A clean, fresh spiral notebook, a new pen — don’t you want to get back into a classroom?
Last winter, my husband and I took part in a Bible study class at our parish. The small group study provided opportunities to discuss Scripture and Catholic teaching with other curious Catholics. We liked it so much we signed up to join a group again this fall.
Studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church at our age? We loved it.
The opportunity to explore our faith with other adults, with the perceptions and sensibilities we have acquired with maturity, was like unfolding another layer of understanding that blankets our lives and insulates us from our larger world.
What I learned in my pre-Vatican II Catholic school days, I quickly discovered in our class, is not all there is to know about our church. As the wife of a convert, it was beneficial for me to hear my husband’s questions and explore answers right along with him.
Those “aha!” epiphanies were thrilling. I learned that our life experiences are blessings that allow us to comprehend the mysteries of our faith much better than when we were youngsters.
In the pursuit of knowledge that you can pass along to others as stewards and disciples of Christ, I would urge you to attend at least one of the programs your parish offers this year, or turn to one of the many Catholic organizations within the archdiocese for a retreat or workshop.
Catholic resources, such as the International Catholic Stewardship Council and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, provide articles, encyclicals, and books to fill our minds, our lips and our hearts with a greater understanding. I have found that the holy Bible online at the USCCB site is one of the greatest conveniences of my busy days.
To be a Christian steward requires perseverance and determination to live a life of joyful sacrifice, always aware that Christ sacrificed himself to save us from our sins. According to the U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter on stewardship, stewardship is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit, inspiring us each day to accept our gifts gratefully and to share them generously. What better way to grow in the Spirit than to go “back to school.”
Have a great year studying. Hope you get an “A.”