This is November, and a month from now, in December, 2017, I will celebrate sixty-five years of a priesthood that stated started in 1952.
I have been thinking about ways I could review those years. I could go back over the churches where i have served. I could recall the great people who have befriended me. But, what might surprise you, is that I am busy recounting the theological insights that have come to me through these years.
Now, you might see theology as only the main subject that would-be priests study in their seminaries, but a thousand years ago St. Anselm had a much better way of explaining theology. He said. "Theology is Faith seeking understanding."
That definition could be a fine fit for any of us who are striving to understand God, or our souls, or the blessed in heaven. By such striving you or I are practicing theology, striving for a better understanding of our Faith.
Now in the first ten years of my priesthood I didn't do much theological pondering, because back then the Church supplied me with answers to all questions about the Faith. We didn't dare come up with our own answers. Whatever the question our answer was always "Well that's what our church teaches."
But Vatican II came along when I was ten years a priest. At Vatican II twenty-five hundred bishops met in St. Peter's from October through December in 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1965. And, tto my amazement I read where they often had disputes over their understandings of our Faith. In their individual ways they were practicing theology.
So, for recalling my sixty-fifth anniversary I am planning to write about how my understanding of our Faith has grown through these years. I am going to speak about how I kept searching for better understandings of the Mass, the Bible, and Sanctifying Grace.
Couldn't you do the same? Couldn't you keep striving for a deeper understanding of your Faith?
Father Karl Rahner, our leading theologian at Vatican II, said that the most valuable activity any Catholic might engage in is for him or her to strive for a deeper understanding of the mysteries of our Faith.