We who seek to grow spiritually are like children ushered off to school for their education and personal growth. God is the principal or headmaster, and the saints and mystics are the various teachers and coaches who will interact with us on a day-to-day basis. Our goal, therefore, is to learn: to learn the curriculum of a truly spiritual life . . . grounded in love, mercy, tenderness, compassion, forgiveness, hope, trust, simplicity, silence, peace, and joy. To embody union with God is to discover these beautiful characteristics emerging from within and slowly transfiguring us to remake us in the very image and likeness of God. —Carl McColman, Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints, and Sages (Hampton Roads: 2016), xix.
I love learning. Building up knowledge has always been a large part of who I am. Yet somehow, getting me to like school was like pulling teeth. They weren’t teaching in a way that I neither enjoyed or understood. Needless to say, I didn’t excel in school. This school from the above quote is more of my style, yet it isn’t teaching knowledge. It builds up wisdom, which is far greater than any amount of knowledge I hold. This curriculum isn’t pulled out of a textbook or chalkboard. This is life all around teaching those who are marked as present in the spiritual classroom. This quote above shows us the subjects taught in this school. As usual, I have a favorite I excel at and one that I could use some extra credit work on. I excel at mercy, it is my spiritual gift actually. As a person that has been surrounded by chaos my whole life, silence is definitely the subject I’m failing at. The good news is that in spiritual learning there is no grades. In spiritual learning, there is only growth or, if you are absent for too long, stalling. I do not believe you can fail, but I do believe you can pause your growth into your true self.
Who are your favorite teachers? What seems to be an easy subject for you? What seems to be where you struggle most? Why do you think this is?