I am naturally and nearly insatiably curious. In this world of identity politics, if I were to identify as anything it would be as a student of life, or to use other words that mean the same thing, a disciple of Christ. Because of my restoration through Christ, I am really—intrinsically, substantially, eternally—a child of God, that is my originally intended and eternally willed identity given to me by my Creator. Christ is teaching me how to live the full reality of who I always have been and always will be, and I am eager to learn.
(And by the way, this is who you are too, whether you know it or not, whether you choose the truth of your Creator-given identity or not. Here’s hoping you do.)
All of those words written just to let you know that I am an official STEP student again, taking another online enrichment course. It’s subject is ecclesiology, the study of the Church. For the next six weeks, I’ll be posting my required reflection or assignment for each unit here as well as on the class message boards. Doing this will save me some time so that I can finish up the revision of my book and proposal! Hopefully, it will also entertain, enrich, or inspire you. No promises! Just like in the class, I hope that you will share any thoughts that you have on the pieces so that we can be students together—students of life, disciples of Christ.
Here’s my introduction to the class to start (yes, of course, the longest one posted so far):
Hi, my name is Christina, I’m 44, and I live in Pembroke, New Hampshire. Warning: this intro is a little long, so skip to the last paragraph if you want the short version!
For some background (and because I love sharing this journey) I was raised as a Catholic, but poorly educated in the Faith, like many people my age. I had serious doubts about the Catholic Church and, in my passionate pursuit of the truth, spent a brief and what I thought was happy time with atheism. Then, in a moment of deep stillness and silence… Well, I became unshakably aware that “the ultimate reality that everyone calls God” truly exists. No longer able to be an atheist, my quest for truth continued for about seven years, and included brief explorations of Buddhism, Taoism, and mystic Islam (Sufism). None of them fit with what I knew: life is good and God is personal. To make a long story short—well, okay, shorter—I had considered Christianity a dead question, but after reading the very beginning of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I was filled with shock and awe. I found the fullness of wisdom in the Church and chose Christ. Ever since, my passionate pursuit of truth is the quest to be in deep and true relationship with Him.
I believe that I should also add here that I was born with a neurodegenerative disease, called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (type II) which has rendered me extremely weak and completely physically dependent on others for daily survival. (I write with a dictation system, so you might see some strange “typing” errors.) I have no formal education beyond high school and I’ve always lived with my amazing, self-giving parents, who, along with a home health aide a few hours a week, take wonderful care of me.
I have no specific ministry in the Church, but I am the co-webmaster and Facebook page administrator (volunteer) for my small parish. I am a writer (I blog weekly at DivineIncarnate.com) and have written a book, It Is Good to Be Here, which I hope to get published this year. Naturally curious and in love with life, I want to learn everything that I can and STEP has been a blessing in this, a way for someone who is disabled and limited like me to become better educated as part of a community. This is my 14th course, the last required course that I need to receive a Certificate of Catholic Theology in Doctrine, although I may have to retake some because I began so long ago! To those of you who are new to STEP: don’t be surprised if you come back for more and more! I’m looking forward to learning from and with all of you.
© 2019 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I am fully alive in love. I write about the profound wonder and terrible beauty of life while living with physical disability and severe dependency. Unafraid to ask life's big questions, I was briefly an atheist and considered other religions before finding, in God's choice to intimately share our humanity, what it truly means to be fully human. A revert to the Catholic Faith, I blog weekly and have written a book called It's Good to Be Here.