“Why does this matter? Why do I have to learn this? When will I use this in real life?”
These are all very real questions many of you have asked your teachers or parents at some point. This morning at mass, I was reminded of the answers. Fr. Driscoll spoke this morning about the Bread of Life discourse in John’s gospel. That’s what the readings will focus on for the next 5 weeks. Throughout his homily were words like theme and protagonist and narrative, all terms that we use to discuss Literature. Fr. Driscoll pointed out how the stories and themes of the 1st and 2nd readings are connected to the themes and ideas found in the gospel reading. (This is always the case, by the way. If you’ll notice, too, the songs are generally on the same topics discussed in the readings. All of this is intentional.)
So besides using similar words to talk about the readings, how else is English class similar to the Liturgy of the Eucharist? Whenever you read something–liturgy at mass, novels in English, blogposts, or Reddit posts, you should be looking for connections. How does what you’re reading connect with you and your experience? You’ve never had to feed a crowd of 5,000 with only a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish? Haven’t you, at least once in your life, been asked to do something that you were certain you couldn’t do? Something that just seemed impossible? There’s a connection.
You’ve never lived in Puritan times or been forced to wear a scarlet letter on your clothes? Haven’t you, at least once, felt ostracized or left out or bullied or picked on? There’s a connection.
This is called active reading. Whenever you read anything, you should be looking for connections to your life. This will help you grow and learn (and, by the way, it’ll help you remember details for those short answer Literature tests your Sophomore English teacher gives). This is how you make something meaningful and worthwhile in all of those classes and activities that we ask you to do in school. We’re trying to prepare you to go on and do the same for yourself in life.
So the next time someone asks me why he or she has to read this or that, I’ll have an answer. Connections, my friends. 🙂 Happy Sunday!