Friday, December 23, 2011

"Let it be printed"!

It's not the Catholic version of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, but an Imprimatur still counts for something. Taking its name from the Latin word for "Let it be printed," an Imprimatur shows that an author has submitted his book to his bishop, and that the work has been judged to be free from doctrinal and moral error. And now, I am elated to have the first Imprimatur of my career, from my own bishop, Cardinal Wuerl, for my upcoming book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints. The cardinal granted it on December 14, the feast of St. John of the Cross, after it received a Nihil obstat from his censor deputatus, Father Carter Griffin (who is himself an author).

When I wrote my first book, The Thrill of the Chaste, although I was preparing to enter the Church, I did not seek an Imprimatur for fear of unnerving my publisher, which was a Protestant-owned company. Things are different with My Peace I Give You, as I am signed to a Catholic publisher, Ave Maria Press, and they are very supportive of my desire to show obedience to my bishop.

Having this episcopal acknowledgment is very important to me because I have high hopes for the apostolate to the wounded that I am embarking upon with the book's publication. It is a new stage of my life, and, unlike the previous stages, I want it to be through, with, and in Christ and His Church from start to finish. While God is not bound by the sacraments, the grace of Christ is ordered so that it flows down to us through the successors of the apostles—and I need lots of grace if I am to help the Church in its healing mission. So the Imprimatur is reassuring in that it affirms and strengthens my spiritual connection to the "principal parts of the members of the Lord" (Mystici Corporis Christi 42).

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Another thing I am very thankful for this Christmas is my grades. (At right, you can see me hitting the books in 2009; a more recent photo is here.) Currently I am studying at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at Dominican House of Studies towards an STB, which is a prerequisite for the sacred theology doctorate that I hope to earn. My ultimate goal is to become a professor of theology at a small Catholic college (helloooo Belmont Abbey, Benedictine College, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Dominican Institute of Ibadan, are you reading this?). School is harder than it has ever been, but I am loving it more than I ever have, and getting the best grades of my life.

When I looked at my GPA for the Fall 2011 semester, I wanted to cry for joy. It was 3.8. For comparison, I seem to remember that my high school GPA was 2.89, and my undergraduate one was not much better. For me to do as well as I am doing at age 43, when my memory capacity and energy level are far from what they were in my NYU days, I cannot help but think that it is a vocational sign. Finally, after many twists and turns, I am doing what I was meant to do. Father Canavan was right; God is writing straight with crooked lines.

If you are among those Dawn Patrol readers who has prayed for me or supported me in other ways during my journey, please know that I am sending up joyful prayers of thanksgiving for you this Christmas and New Year's.