Back to school: back to God!


from August 25, 2013:

A Mom and Dad drop their little one off at pre-school for his first day. It is hard to believe, because it seemed like he just came into the world….

Mom and Dad drive their 12-year old daughter, in the back seat and listening to her I-Pod, to her first day of 7th grade. It seems like she has gone through 2 sizes of clothes and shoes over the summer. Things are changing….

It’s the first day of Freshman year of high school. The students sit silently amongst each other in class because they are very nervous. A few extroverts pop out of their shells. It’s different to be in school with 18-year olds, isn’t it….

Mom and Dad drive a van full of items to the university. They unpack them in their son’s new dorm room. All try to put on a good face as the van pulls away, but everyone knows how they are really feeling inside. How did we get to this point? The first day of pre-school seemed like it was just yesterday…..

Such is the first day of school. Scary as heck, very exciting, full of possibilities, all new.

So many people are involved in the process of a successful school year: teachers, administrators, parents, staff, and students. There is so much hard work involved in a successful school year! I never worked so hard in my life as I did when I was a teacher. Right now, the machine is getting cranked up. It is ready to go to full operation once again. School has the feeling of a conveyor belt. Once you are on the line, you just keep on moving down the line.

But where is the line going? What is the point to all the back to school stuff? Is it to make Target and Old Navy a bunch of money? Is it to provide material success to school staff and future material success to students? Is it to build the future, molding it in a certain intellectual and structural direction? It is all of these things, yes. But like every great work, for education to find its true meaning, its true point, we must give it to God. What does God want for this new school year? How will all the things that will happen between this summer’s ending and next summer’s beginning fit into God’s wisdom?

There is always the danger of making a great work about oneself, and not about God. No matter how amazing what we are doing is, it pales in comparison to what God is doing. We need to put our plans into God’s plans. We need to make God’s plans our plans. And so, at the beginning of the school year, can we be wise enough to speak to God about our year ahead, and listen back for his game plan?

It is likely that most people will not bother to do this. After all, we live in a post-Christian world. God is a private matter. Besides, folks are very busy with things. Spiritual matters have been put in their place, and it is an ever-shrinking place. This is especially true of organized religion, as opposed to private spiritual exercises. However, we know that God is God, regardless of how much attention we pay Him. God still has a plan. It benefits us to participate! God is working in your school district! You can be sure of that. God has a plan for all children and young adults, and for all families.

Find out what that plan is on your knees. Be glad when it unfolds. Have a great start to the school year. Be hopeful!


About erievocations

I am a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, PA. I am an Assistant Vocations Director, tasked with the promotion of seminary recruitment. My blog deals with discernment of vocations, especially to the priesthood, as well as our universal call to be holy.
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