Theology on Demand

Working as the LittleStore manager has been a great opportunity for me. Not only have I been able to get practical experience (and sharpen my skills working on the website and newsletter), but I have also had daily contact with a great pool of volunteers and employees here at 242 Canterbury Street. 

It has also worked wonders for my prayer life. We are blessed to have a chapel upstairs, and every week we all have the opportunity to get together for a prayer meeting. This weekly prayer meeting (Tuesdays at noon, and open to all)  is an excellent way for us all to take a break from the work week, and remind ourselves what we are working and volunteering for. I often wind up leaving the prayer meeting feeling invigorated and ready to tackle the week’s remaining challenges.

Having noticed how much I enjoyed the weekly prayer meetings, I have begun to spend as much time as possible in environments that remind me of them. There is, of course, Sunday Mass, but there are also many other opportunities that present themselves if you’re willing to keep an eye out for them. For instance, I have started attending a monthly catholic young adults group here in Worcester. 

This monthly group is always an enjoyable occasion, and they offer several different events making it very easy to fit one or multiple in your schedule. The events I have attended recently took place at a small bar near St. John’s church in downtown Worcester. There is often an excellent talk on theology, and every once in a while, trivia night! As much as I enjoy trivia (and I do), it is the talks that keep me coming back every month for more.

Last month, I had the great privilege of hearing a talk on the catholic theology surrounding the Virgin Mary, the very inspiration of our ministry at 242 Canterbury Street. I really wish I could share that talk with all of you, it has been with me every day since. The speaker was moving, engaging, and best of all quoted from the bible next to him the entire evening. He spoke forcefully, with clarity, on the role that the Virgin Mary plays in our lives as catholics. 

For me, time seemed to slip away as I was immersed in the theology and faith on display. The talk wound its way through the Bible, from Genesis to the New Testament, and it seems every book in the Bible had something to say on the special relationship between Our Lady and the Lord. For me, one of the most touching examples was when the angel Gabriel appeared before the Virgin Mary with the greeting, “Hail, full of grace.” It is a greeting distinct from almost every other time an angel speaks with a person in the Bible, and I am glad the speaker touched on it.

From the fall in the garden of Eden all the way to Calvary, the speaker had something profound to tell us about the Virgin Mary. It strengthened a particularly difficult part of my faith, the reverence with which we hold the Virgin Mary and saints. Anyone who has discussed theology with non-catholic friends (as I have many times!) can tell you that this is a thorny issue. However, after a night of direct bible readings and inspiring speech, I feel well-equipped and firm in my beliefs. 

The talk left me not only feeling energized about my faith, but wanting for more. After combing the internet, I discovered a series of talks by the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Many of these centered on the Virgin Mary, and if you are unfamiliar with the late archbishop’s work, I heavily encourage you to gather together some favorite snacks and settle in to hear him speak for a while. If you are looking for an easy way to access his material, I was able to find a great amount of it on youtube.

Listening to a variety of talented speakers, for me at least, is an unmatched way to feel more invigorated and active in my faith. However you interact with your faith, by volunteering, engagement in weekly Mass, or solitary prayer, I hope you find some time this week for yourself and your faith!