If you’ve been following my blog you might think I am down on volunteerism. I think if you have the calling, and you have enough time and energy AFTER fulfilling your duties to your family, it is a natural fulfillment of the “works” part of our faith. What I am down on is exhausting oneself in too many avenues so that there is not enough left for the family at home, as well as one’s own spiritual development.
Sometimes it is necessary to pull back in some of these areas. Maybe a child needs some extra attention, or you or a family member are ill. In the past, I have had the tendency to accept too many commitments, and I had to go cold turkey when my fourth child was born. It’s kind of like my obsession with books. I have way too many, and know I am incapable of walking into a book store without buying more – so I try to stay away from book sales of any kind, unless I have a real need for a specific book. For three years I have avoided any kind of sign-up sheet, knowing just one more thing could put me over the edge. (Read about the bake sale that almost broke this camel’s back.)
After the birth of each child, it takes me a bit longer to get used to all the extra responsibilities, before I feel like I’ve gotten into the swing of things and can take on more. Almost three years later, I am finally ready to take on the commitment of catechist once again. I really feel great about this, mostly because I get to be my own child’s teacher in preparation for her Confirmation.
When I taught the sixth grade religious education class, I found that I learned as much from the experience as my students did. I loved to hear what questions they had, even if I didn’t know the answer yet. I would write them down and eagerly research a response. In the preparation of my classes I would dig deep into scripture, the Church documents, and the lives of the saints, and found myself developing spiritually as well as in my knowledge of the Church.
The religious education director at my parish sees me quite often in a variety of capacities, especially now that I have a son ready to make his First Communion. She answered the bell today, asking how she could help me. Usually I have some kind of request for the pro-life group or a question about the Communion. I was here to help her, I replied. Relief washed over her face. I had thought I might have trouble with my request to teach my daughter’s eighth grade class, but she happily gave it to me.
It was with great excitement that I walked out of the religious education office with my hefty teacher’s manual, food for thought over the summer. I’m ready to order myself an official copy of The Catechism of the Catholic Church and give myself a good education. And I will be tuning in to EWTN as often as possible to see what those great teachers have to offer my soul.
Painting above: The Calling of St. Peter, Hans Suss von Kulmbach, 1514-16