The last four years have taught me many things. They were a difficult time of rigorous study, joyful service projects and lasting friendships.
The education I received prepared me for the future by exposing me to the great ideas of the ancients, fostering virtue and a love of excellence, and, most importantly, teaching the Catholic Faith.
What has best prepared me, however, was taught somewhat indirectly — how to take on the responsibility of the faith and make it my own. This ability was possible because of the emphasis put on my theology classes.
My classmates and I took robust theology courses all four years of high school. We learned both the details and beauty of the Catholic Church.
Theology was so strongly highlighted that it helped produce something no teacher can teach — a love of the faith. We not only learned about it, but also saw it in action. For example, we learned about the works of mercy in class, and then went to Franciscan Kitchen and fed the hungry ourselves. This strong education in theology helped to build the foundation for something just as important.
As many students can confirm, high school can be very challenging. My weeks were filled with late night essay writing, frustrated sighing over calculus homework, and long readings from Anna Karenina. It is difficult to juggle all the homework with a job, sports, family and social activities, and various other occasional events. In the midst of all these obligations religion may very easily be overlooked. It may become merely a one hour “appointment with God” every Sunday, if that.
Students will certainly struggle to find time every day to pray or even think about their faith. This is a real difficulty that can often be forgotten. Thankfully, many students are blessed to have parents, families and environments that encourage and foster a love of God and religion. However, there comes a point in a person’s life when he must realize that the responsibility of practicing these beliefs is his own.
After graduation, students go on to other things and gradually become independent. If they have not received a proper formation in the teachings of the Church, it will be very difficult to live it out.
The most important thing I have learned in high school is that it is my responsibility to ensure that I practice and love the faith. When my classmates and I move on to the next stages of our lives, most of us will no longer be in such a rich Catholic environment every day. We will lose some of the structure and religious discipline that comes along with a Catholic school. This is natural and good, but we must be prepared.
If we have not developed our faith on a personal level, we will be like the man who built his house upon the sand, and when the winds came it was washed away.
I feel blessed and grateful to say that I will be ready and that high school has helped me to build my “house” upon the rock so that when the storms of life come it will not wash away.