Yesterday was my graduation at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. It is the culmination of a 3 year journey in which moved by my faith, I was seeking greater understanding of God (rephrasing Anselm of Canterbury's definition of Theology). I felt the call from Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to join him in caring for souls, to join him in feeding the sheep, and be also a shepherd with Him (in Latin, a pastor). Although I was hearing Jesus calling me by name, I hesitated. It was so different from my professional career. My wife Angie helped me see how aligned this path was with my talents and passions, and helped me gain the confidence to take the first step.
In the past years I have learned about Theology, Scripture, Ethics, Cannon Law, Ministry, Christology, Liturgy, Church history, and spirituality. I have learned to appreciate the beauty and elegance of our faith, the mystery and and complexity of some of our beliefs, and I have been able to see God with a renewed sense of awe. The more I studied, the more I realized how little I could comprehend about God and His works. The studies helped me immensely, yet, only love, and service, and community and grace, have truly helped me to better know and experience our wonderful God.
If anyone reading this is wondering about pursuing a similar program, I highly recommend the graduate program at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. The convenience of distant learning and the quality and competency of the faculty are great, but the best traits is how much Virginia the program Director and her faculty care about the students and their growth. They really invest themselves completely and at the end you finish with not only increased knowledge, but also with deep friendships. The sense of community among the students is one of the best gifts of this program. Mixed with the joy of not having to write more papers was the sadness of not been an active member of this wonderful community of shepherds. Well, there's e-mail and the annual Summer get-togethers...
And the journey continues. I love my career in Information Technology, helping companies increase their business value through technology and helping grow IT leaders. Yet, I love to compliment that with a vocation as a Pastoral Coach, helping people grow in their careers, in their personal development, and in their relationships by integrating Christian spirituality with the rest of their lives. With God's grace, I will continue to answer the call to act with justice, love tenderly, to serve one another, and to humbly walk with God (David Hass and Micah 6:8)