I started RCIA last week. Although I feel a bit out of place (as I have no real reason to be there), I’m already glad I decided to go. It’s great to see so many people interested in the Catholic Church. Some people have been going to Mass for many years while most people there hardly know anything at all. To my surprise, my mechanics of materials professor is also going through the class, although she converted over 20 years ago. I think she wants her non-Catholic husband to come to RCIA with her. Please pray for those flirting with becoming Catholic.
My classes are going well. I’m finally taking an actual aerospace class (my very first) and am very excited about it. I’ve already learned how sound works. Pretty cool stuff. I’m also taking more math (differential equations) and a class (mechanics of materials) that is basically a continuation of my favorite class from last semester (statics). I’m looking forward to this semester, now all I have to do is my homework… I hope I can manage…
I’m also taking a world literature class. I never know what to think about these sorts of classes. I’m not the best at writing and analyzing, but I am very interested in the material. My only problem with classes like this is that it requires me to think too much, too quickly. Much like my ethics class, we go through a lot of material and ideas in one class discussion. I try to keep up with what is being said, taking in the main ideas, forming my own opinions, thinking of whether this new idea fits in with my belief system, and then trying to formulate a comment to share with the class, all before the next person starts talking. It requires a lot of my brain. I’m also not sure what I think of the professor yet. Right now we are reading creation stories, and while talking about the main ideas, he sneaks in some comparison with the bible or some comment on Christianity as a whole, even though we haven’t started talking about any part of the bible yet. It’s a bit frustrating, especially with the way he explains “Christianity’s basic beliefs“.
I found this new background and decided to change the look of the place. How do you like it?
I went on a retreat this weekend and had the opportunity to meet a great youth minister (check out his podcast). One of the things that I believe made him such a powerful speaker and an easy person to identify with is that he was so open with us. He talked to us about some of his struggles as a kid with his dwarfism and how it affected his life and faith. In discussions, he would share extremely personal stories with ease (even though that's his job, I'm sure it can't come completely natural). Later on, long after he left to drive back to northern Alabama, we were asked to be open with each other about our struggles and needs. In theory, being open doesn’t sound so hard, but in spontaneous real life, it’s a very hard thing to do, especially when you don’t get to pick the place or time, and you aren’t necessarily close to those whom you are sharing with. It would have been very easy to close off, give short and simple explanations to my trivial struggles and just leave it at that. I’m sure some chose to do that, as I almost did, but being honest with myself in front of others was a liberating experience, and I felt real prayer and concern. I guess it becomes what you make out of it. Being open is hard but is very worth it.
The readings this week were powerful. In the second reading, we are told to “keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27) I like this image. We must be careful what we expose ourselves to, and more so, what we let into our hearts. God “planted” in us the word that can save us, but we must not smother it with the pollutions of this world. The Gospel was deafening. “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile”. We can’t make excuses for how we are because of things that may have happened to us. We allow sin to come from us, we allow ourselves to be stained.