“Freedom is not only a gift, but a summons to personal responsibility.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
My former teacher wife always purchases “summer work” for the kids – age-appropriate workbooks that the kids need to complete before August hits. Depending on the day, the kids either love them or loathe them. “Why doesn’t dad have summer work?” Katie asked with a moan. “Because dad works all the time,” I responded smugly. After getting over myself, I decided some type of summer self-development would not be the worst thing in the world. I set out to find a good book about the faith that would help me grow. I emailed one bishop I respect a lot and asked for a recommendation. He wrote back quickly, “The Catechism. It may seem intimidating but there’s a lot to discover.” That was not the beach-friendly, Oprah book club recommendation I was looking for, but I decided since I asked, and was answered, I should dust off my copy that had been hibernating on my office shelf. I have certainly referenced and cited The Catechism of the Catholic Church many times for work but usually via the internet and never start to finish. As I placed the large book on my desk and cracked it open, my eyes were pulled to the familiar handwriting that adorned the inside front cover. It was from my grandmother, the person who was and continues to be the single biggest influence in my faith life. “You were chosen to be a leader…may you always find the questions and answers in THIS THE BOOK of your faith and act accordingly. Happy Happy 16th Birthday.” A 30-year old gift I had all along, discovered for the first time.
My bishop friend was right, there was lots to discover and I had not even read the first page. As I dig for meaning in the day to day of life and leadership, how many times are the answers closer within my reach than I realize? While some mysteries are eternal, do I work to discover the buried treasures of my faith or am I waiting for them to find me? I don’t know about you, but I have a lot more digging to do before my summer work is complete. Godspeed with yours!