My first semester in college came to a close nearly two weeks ago. Can you believe it. A year ago I had only just finished the SAT, with nothing more than a funny sense of wonder when it came to applying for college and whether this was the right path for me. Now a whole semester has flown by and I'm halfway through with freshman year. Dang.
What a carefully orchestrated semester this has been, a semester that unfolded beautifully. I've never been so intrigued, challenged and in love with learning. My head is flooding, my heart overflowing. How could there ever be the right words to describe this. Sure, of course, there was the brutal homesickness that I was so certain I wouldn't experience, the inevitable learning that caf food is sketch...socializing is sketch...and bars are sketch, too. Most of that doesn't need to be discussed further because Augustine:
“Thus does Divine Providence teach us not to be foolish in finding
fault with things but, rather, to be diligent in finding out their
usefulness or, if our mind and will should fail us in the search, then
to believe that there is some hidden use still to be discovered"
By the way, can we talk about Augustine for a minute? City of God is so beautiful. So we have the city of Rome that fell in 410 AD. The Romans blamed the tragedy on God and Augustine was all like ooooh heck no. But he said it more eloquently...in nothing less than a 892 page letter. (Augustine makes for an epic pen pal if you ask me.) No book has made me want Heaven more, partly because there were some rough sections that made my head spin + I just wanted relief, and partly for reasons like when Augustine reflects on the Celestial City itself, in which . . .
“Every fiber and organ of our imperishable body will play its part
in the praising of God. On earth these varied organs have each a
special function, but, in heaven, function will be swallowed up in
felicity, in the perfect certainty of an untroubled everlastingness of joy.”
Swooning. All the freaking swooning.
The best part is that there wasn't just Augustine to fall in love with. Though they were both boogers initially, Aristotle and Aquinas have my respect now. Aristotle on friendship made me cry on multiple occasions, and Aquinas on well, everything, was nothing short of mind-blowing. Benedict XVI's Address to Artists (paragraphs 5 + 6 is where it's at y'all), St. John's Gospel, Athanasius on the Incarnation, Tolkien, Lewis, Simone Weil, Papal Encyclical after Papal Encyclical, and we can't forget the words of the ever courageous and faithful mother in 2 Maccabees who said to her sons as they were martyred:
"I do not know how you came to be in my womb; it was not I who
gave you breath and life, nor was it I who arranged the elements
you are made of. Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe who
shaped the beginning of humankind and brought about the origin of everything,
he, in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life, because you now
disregard yourselves for the sake of his law." (2 Maccabees 7:22-23)
She was able to say that while witnessing her 7 sons be skinned and fried alive. FREAKING DANG.
|(my life minus jesus and chocolate)|
The thing is? I could go on forever. Every rich text was met with another and then another. And to think I still get 7 more semesters of this. Though often sleep-deprived, drowning in papers to write and failing at schemes to get more candy and tea, I've never been so fully immersed in Catholicism and never so fully in love with it. I mean, who needs cookies and sleep if you can have St. Cyprian and the Catechism anyways?
So all that to say: I really love learning. Reading, writing papers and sticky notes are my new found love language, and I'm okay with that on every level. College has, so far, been the best experience + even with it's initially awkward social aspects (not going to miss that) and other stresses, I would trade it for nothing less than Heaven itself. I'm ever so grateful that my life aspirations of the past were not fulfilled and instead I was asked to go where I never wished to. If nothing else, I've learned over the last several months that God truly has something beautiful in mind for you. A life of thorns and crosses, yes, but a life immersed in his goodness, truth and beauty. All that's needed is a simple fiat. Dang.