The title of this column is borrowed from a fine book on monastic culture and spirituality by Father Jean Leclerq, OSB. While monasticism is a blessed vocation within our Church, it is not, however, my topic this month. The love of learning and the desire for God is.
My prayer is that these words might serve as goal, inspiration and motivation for growth in faith for all of us Western New York Catholics as another September dawns. As parish lifelong faith formation, Catholic schools and colleges, campus ministries, youth and young adult ministries, RCIA and other diocesan educational/formational ministries move ahead with the mission of forming disciples, I express my profound gratitude to the thousands of generous women and men - laity, religious and clergy - who faithfully lead and carry out these essential works of our diocese.
A special word about our schools. As our parish schools open their doors again, I am hopeful that the difficult decisions that led to the closing of 10 of our schools this year will bear fruit in the stabilization of our entire system of schools. I am grateful to the priests, principals, faculties, staffs and families who have made Herculean efforts in a short time to welcome transferring students into the 35 remaining schools ... schools that will become new because of the influx of new students who will bring the unique gifts and traditions of their former schools with them.
For families who have transferred children into new parish schools, this is, I pray, a moment of hope-filled fresh beginning. I understand that many families are grieving over the loss of their schools, yet many are looking forward, with so much hope, to their being a part of a new school community, one which they have helped to create.
The STREAM initiative - science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math - is key to that revitalization, promising to enhance significantly the quality of education that our schools are already known for.
But September is about more than our schools, as precious as they are. Let me encourage all of our people, adults in particular, to take full advantage of the many opportunities available for continuing formation and education in the faith. Pope St. John Paul II told us that ongoing adult religious education is "the principal form of catechesis because it is addressed to persons who have the greatest responsibilities and the capacity to live the Christian message in its fully developed form."
The better we all know and embrace the life-giving message of Christ, the better we will appreciate His love for us ... and His call to us to transform the world into a civilization of love and a culture of life.
My blessing to all as we deepen together in the love of learning and the desire for God.
Bishop Malone is now on Twitter. Follow him @BishopRJMalone.