There is usually precious little time for me to do any spiritual reading except during my vacation. I have made some adjustments now that allow me time every week to engage in some much needed theological discipline. Priests by canon law are supposed to further their education. If this happens at all, this often takes the form of priests going to workshops, hearing talks or even taking sabbaticals. None of these appeals to me because I long to ‘get serious’ about the study of the faith while, as I indicated, I have not found the time to do so–until now. Getting back to the books, in his case some serious theological studies, is a great refreshment to the mind and a real boost to the spiritual life. I hope that some of my new-found zeal may finds its way into my preaching and classroom teaching. Although there are many religion light courses that are falsely identified as ‘theology’ classes, I want the real, good ol’ tough stuff that requires deep concentration accompanied by prayer. Theology, you see, is unlike other academic disciplines in that it requires prayer to attain to its goal, which is wisdom (as opposed to acquiring a mere increase in factual knowledge). Much, as I say, passes for “theology” today that is fluff. Nor is theological study a mere reading of religious books, such as lives of the saints, liturgical books, etc. There is often a certain dryness to genuine theological writing, and this is simply because the matter at hand–God–is very heady stuff – pardon the phrase. I, on the other hand, find theological reading a great source for meditation and an incentive for prayer. By expanding the mind, so to speak, the heart becomes expanded with divine love. And so, I am now spending time every week in spiritual study and am thus less involved in that deflating humdrum busywork, limiting my involvement in the latter only as is necessary. In a practical sense this means that I will be doing less of this-‘n-that stuff, while trying to keep up with phone messages and make arrangements for needed appointments.
In closing, I wonder what your thoughts and concerns are about the way the world is going. The Church is not on the winning side of things at this time and from the looks of it there may be some grim days for Catholic Christians ahead. I say this not to worry you further but to express the great hope I have for the triumph of Christ and His truth. This will inevitably prevail. Yet it appears that the crazed lust for wickedness must play itself out in the great drama of events we are living through. Whether there will be a more flagrant form of persecution for the Church in the time to come remains to be seen but should be anticipated by a deeper personal commitment to the truths of the Church and a deeper spiritual life. In these I hope all of you will excel for–as last week’s (Tridentine) Epistle reading said it–“The days are evil.” Keep always a joyful spirit. That’s a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your souls. Fr. Perrone
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Fr. Eduard Perrone: a priest's duty to study theology and the privilege of doing so
Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, October 18, 2015):