Good morning!

It’s raining here in London and perhaps God is preparing me for Ireland tomorrow!

My youngest sister who is now a doctor will be off the weekend and has agreed to drive us about a bit! It is indeed funny how things change, I left Ireland when she was about 12, now she’s a doctor!

And speaking of going the full circle, this morning I was pondering on faith and education!

In my experience from meeting people I’ve often noticed a big gap between education in matters of faith and spirituality and worldly education.

A man once described it as like having 2 eyes. One with super vision and educated to live in this world so to speak while the other lazy and slow and all but blind.

Pre-conversion this was me! On one hand educated as an actuary, speaking French, competent with technology etc. and yet on the other hand no real faith, no prayer life, no understanding of God or his ways or of the church!

Of course this wasn’t exactly my fault. My parents weren’t educated people through no fault of their own and even educated people seemed to have even less faith anyway!

It seemed that education destroyed faith as our little minds which were trained in critical thinking turned their focus to the church and soon after left!

Many parents weren’t equipped to answer the questions and eventually unanswered questions led to cynicism and unbelief!

Pre-conversion this was me! In fact I almost thought that it was a sin to ask questions and that faith was somehow far easier for simpletons who didn’t have the intellectual ability to think, never mind doubt!

The years have taught me that stupidity is not humility and intelligence is not pride!

God wants us to ask questions so our faith can grow and mature and He wants us to be educated in spiritual matters!

Of course the danger is that education takes over and eclipses prayer and somehow leads to heresy!

Some religious orders such as the Jesuits are know for their brains and their mistakes but we must not paint all with the same brush and forget about all the good they have done too!

Of course another area where faith and education seem to clash is in mental health! Most highly trained professionals have no training in the working of the spirit and how prayer can heal mental health conditions. But many people of prayer have a very limited understanding of counselling and psychology and they too can get things out of balance!

So then, what’s the answer!

The answer is obvious really! Education that moves with the times we live in and answers the pastoral questions of the day together with an education on how to pray effectively!

And so today as I prepare for Ireland I remember my grand-auntie Mary who was my friend growing up!

“Mind your books” she’d say to my child mind and “you’ll get on’!

And while at the time I know she wasn’t talking about books on prayer and religion I can see now that she was was at least half right!

The world needs educated and intelligent Christians full of love, faith and brains!

So today I’ll ask that mystical smarty-panse from Spain to help us!

St Ignatius, fill our hearts with love, our minds with light and our intelligences with understanding and help us to restore the catholic church to her true beauty!

Thanks for reading!

Michael