“Learning without piety produces a proud device; piety without learning produces a useless one.” St. John Baptiste de La Salle
Recently, I have been teaching a family member how to drive. I am not the best driver, but I learned a lot living in a big city over the years. It is not easy teaching someone how to drive – especially during post-Covid. Drivers are more aggressive since they have started to work in the office. I see the trepidation when a new driver takes the wheel. I see the wide right turns and instead of getting angry I laugh to myself because it brings me back to how I remember learning. Patience really is a virtue.
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Antoine de Saint Exupery
I am finishing my Master’s. It has been an up and down experience. Graduate schools are full of ideas and contradictory ones at that. Sometimes the courses can be dry but there is so much to learn. I think about what Antoine de Saint Exupery wrote. How often do we want everyone to follow us and what we do. We can be so arrogant and self-centred. I know I can. August 1st was the feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori. He lived in community with men of good will but many of them deserted him after a while except for one. His life was not an easy one and anyone who believes in Christ might want to prepare for challenges. Christ promised to be with us but did not say it would be easy.
“He who trusts himself is lost. He who trust God can do all things.” St. Alphonsus Liguori
When I needed to teach someone to drive, or when I embarked on my own teaching career, I realized the hard way the challenges that I would face. It was no picnic for sure. But, more than that, it was a growing experience – spiritually, emotionally, mentally and any other way God wanted. Once we lose our arrogance and expectations, it becomes more humbling to help others. Otherwise, we would have a project on others and that wouldn’t be fair. When I finally listened to the help that my colleagues gave me, my day had become much easier to bear. I really did get a lot of help.
“Some seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge: that is curiosity. Others seek knowledge that they themselves be known: that is vanity. But there are still others who seek knowledge in order to serve and edify others, and that is charity.” St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Knowledge and being a know-it-all are very different things. I think that we want to know many things but understanding comes after. We go to school for many years, but do we really understand what we have learned? Sometimes that comes much later. We want others to know and understand us, but have we taken the time to know others? It is a great challenge for me. Understanding never ends and we must continue to ask Our Lord to help us.
“God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God. You shine so finely, it surpasses understanding.” St Hildegard of Bingen