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Back to school: 7 required courses

September 10, 2012
Students have gone back to school this week. We have bought new clothes, spent money on books, paper and pens, maybe moved to new places, encountered new people, made new resolutions and have anticipated the coming months with either excitement or dread. Not least of all, we have also received new and probably very full course schedules.
Well, if you are a student, I am adding 7 extra courses to your plate this semester.
You see, Pope John Paul II was a wise man, and he ushered in a much bigger new “semester” than the one that is currently upon us, most commonly known as the “Third Millenium.” He was a great teacher, and he wanted all the students of the world (including himself) to focus on 7 things, 7 “courses” that are key to living and spreading the Catholic faith today. You can read “Novo Millenio Ineute” here, but here is a quick look at what he wanted you to learn:
  1. Holiness is found in Christ, and is reflected in the Saints. It’s also something we strive for in everything we do. “The time has come to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living,” says the Pope John Paul.
  2. Prayer is where you get your heart-to-heart time with Christ. We all need to have that deep encounter with Christ, and grow in our relationship with him.
  3. The Sunday Eucharist is a special and necessary place to encounter Christ and his Bride, the Church. The Liturgy is the love for Christ expressed by the whole Church.
  4. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a place of extraordinary grace and healing for us.
  5. Speaking of which, we can never forget the primacy of grace. In other words, don’t think you can earn salvation. We all need Christ and all the help (grace) he gives to us.
  6. Listening to the Word in Scripture shows us who Jesus really is. St. Jerome wasn’t kidding when he said that “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
  7. Proclaiming the Word follows naturally from hearing it. How could we keep such a treasure to ourselves?
These 7 priorities are 7 ways to encounter, share and witness to the beauty Christ. This new semester gives us the chance to take a look back on where we have come from and where we are going. With Pope John Paul II, let us look ahead on this new academic semester with our focus set towards the One who makes “all things new.”
Photo by Daniel Jodoin
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