You’re such an overachiever

A.M.D.G.
J.M.J.
A.T.C.

Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in aeternum! Amen.

Saint Monica

Saint Monica is patroness of mothers, alcoholics, difficult marriages, disappointing children, widows, and victims of infidelity (adultery) and verbal abuse.

Memorial of Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustine (his feast is tomorrow)

Before I begin, I want to direct you to the homily of a dear priest-friend of mine who did a much better job (he’s awesome like that) presenting the meaning of yesterday’s readings (especially the second reading though all of his stuff is good … very good).

Being the yutz that I am, I completely forgot to talk about how the second reading juxtaposes the relationship between a husband and wife to the relationship between Christ and His Church.  He makes a good point reminding us that a major part of being a Christian/Catholic is being “subordinate” to someone … God.  The world sees subordination as something bad because it infringes on the almighty “I”/”ego.”  Never mind the fact that putting ourselves completely in the hands of God can be immensely liberating in the best possible way because in this liberation we are best able to do the will of God in which we find freedom in its truest and purest form and thus the most genuine source of happiness.

So yeah, go and read it.  Maybe he will get one or two hits!  Oh yes.  This girl is dreaming of reader traffic.  lol  Yes I know I have at least three or four readers.  Some have been with me since I started after I gradumatated in May 2010 from college.  Others find me from Google searches or click on me from Facebook or Twitter.

Moving on …

I was recently told by someone that I am an overachiever.

Yes.  I admit it.  I am an overachiever.  If it pertains to something I particularly love, I will throw myself into it “lock, stock, and barrel.”  When I was in college, I threw myself into my Theology studies.  I had a hierarchy of classes, that is, what classes were “worthy” of more effort and time.  My Theology and Philosophy classes got the mass of my attention.  I would spent weeks preparing for major papers and reading.  My Mickey Mouse classes (including the “self awareness class”) would be ones that I would just attend, do the work, and get a good grade.

Seriously.  For my “self-awareness class” (self esteem and “how to make yourself think that you’re going to make six figures with a BA in English while the ink is still wet on your diploma.”), we had to decorate a brown paper bag with our gifts and talents.  I had a mess of Theology reading to do that same night so I didn’t do it.  When it popped into my head as I walked to the building in which the class was held, I pulled the bag out of my backpack with a Sharpie and began to decorate it with what could be described as modern cave paintings because of their simplicity.

I handed it in thinking, “Crap, she’s gonna flunk me because my work compared to others (some have to get their priorities in line … I saw collage work … on a paper bag … must have been art majors or something).”

I got it back the next class.  A+.  Srsly.  And she said that she liked it.  And she wasn’t one to be sarcastic.  She was actually a really nice instructor (not “professor” … some don’t like that term).  Though I did read The Hunchback of Notre Dame during her class.  I would be “taking notes” with one hand and holding the book on my lap with another.  My mind can multitask.

Getting back on topic.

This person was not referring to my tendency to be an academic overachiever and perfectionist.  That’s no secret.  It’s never been a secret.

They were referring to my spiritual life.

Apparently, I am a spiritual overachiever.

I asked them why they thought that.  And I wasn’t asking to fluff my ego or to be fishing for compliments.  I seriously wanted to know what they meant and what they considered to be “overachiever” territory when it comes to spirituality and/or religious devotion.

“Well, you go to Mass everyday pretty much and you pray all the time.  You always have your Breviary on you and if it’s not the hard copy, you have it on your iPod.  You have a sack of Rosaries in your purse and you pray it all the time.  You follow the rules of the Church to a T.  You don’t eat meat on Fridays.  You go to Confession all the time. You know your stuff like nothing else.”

This person and I see each other a lot, they are not stalking me.

I smiled and said, “I do all of that ‘stuff’ because it sustains me.  I need it.  If I fail to remain faithful to any part of my spiritual practices  even for a day, I feel ‘off.’ It orients me.  It keeps me rooted.  I don’t do it for show or to demonstrate how much better I am than anyone else [because I have my own crosses that I bear, some of which only the Lord and I know of.].  I do it because I need it.”

That made me think about something, “Since when is being truly ‘practicing’ Catholic such a big deal?”  I don’t think people who are devout are necessarily sanctimonious prigs.  I also don’t understand the polarizing language.  It’s like an “us” and “them” schtick.  I mean, persons who purport to be Catholic and yet believe in and promote things contrary to Catholic teaching (life ethics such as abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia, and moral issues like marriage and religious liberty) annoy me like nothing else because of the grave damage they do to the Church.  But just because you see someone at Mass all the time or with their beads always running through their fingers does not mean that they are some how holier than everyone else.

Ha.  I listen to Eminem (there are certain songs I will not listen to) and I watch “South Park” (there is at least one episode I refuse to watch).  I have been known to have a salty tongue.  It’s a bad habit that I am trying to purge but, as with most habits, it can be hard to break.  Hence why I go to Confession often.  You know, besides all the grace that one gets from frequent worthy reception of the sacraments.  Confession is one of the sadly under-utilized gifts from God to His people.  So much grace that is just waiting for us to be open to receiving it.

And about the Theology nerd-ness.  That’s just me.  I wouldn’t be going for my MA in Theology if I didn’t LOVE the Lord and His Church.  I wouldn’t be reading books like The Organic Development of the Liturgy or New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law if I didn’t love it.  My mother wants to make sure that I will be marketable so I can support myself (barring the Lord calling back to a convent).  She says I need to think about that when picking out my concentration and the topic of my thesis.  I tell her we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.  God will provide.

Some think that my all encompassing passion for Theology is a fixation.  Nah.  Clearly they don’t know me very well.  It’s just that I have found my God-given niche.  If this is how the Lord wants me to dedicate my life, who am I or anyone else to question or spit on it figuratively?  I have other interests but Theology is my great love.

Sanctity is for everyone.  We are all called to holiness of life.  But being human and thus suffering from that affliction called concupiscence, we fall short and need to be healed and made stronger by the grace of God.  I have my own personal preferences for devotional practices.  Everyone has their own favorites.  Kinda like how everyone has their favorite saints.  I may be devoted to the Infant of Prague, Our Lady, Saint Michael, Saint Aloysius, et al.. but another person may love Saint Maria Goretti, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.  Those are different patron saints but they point to the same end and encourage us to practice our Faith authentically.

All right.  I have some stuff I have to take care of before the afternoon is out.  Have a nice evening!

-Allie

About Ms. Allie

I am a Catholic young woman who works as a Theology teacher at a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of the Detroit. In Spring of 2015, I graduated with an MA in Theology with a concentration in Systematic Theology. My MA thesis was titled: "Mary as Woman of the Eucharist in the Theology of Pope Saint John Paul II." I also hold a BA in Theology (with a dabbling in Philosophy) and is a member of Theta Alpha Kappa (θΑΚ), the National Theology/Religious Studies Honor Society. Prayers are appreciated.
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