I feel like I’m back in high school. I’m cramming, doing homework that I should have done days ago. I’m taking two classes—a French class and a 10-week church class on the topic of discernment. For the French class I have to write something, anything really, but it has to be written in a combination of tenses. Incidentally, it’s supposed to be written in French—the teacher is picky that way. I can’t just write: Bonjour, je m’appelle la reine de France. (Translation: Hello, my name is the queen of France.) The French writing assignment is due on Monday evening and I haven’t done anything yet. Oh, well.
Then there’s the homework for the discernment class that's due on Wednesday. The weekly discernment assignments were designed to get us to read both the textbook and Scripture throughout the week and to take time to consider carefully the readings and write our thoughts in a journal. I’m over halfway through the week and I have barely started. I’m going to have to do all the readings and make notes in my journal over the period of a couple of hours instead of a week. So much for careful consideration. Oh, well.
You might ask why I’m writing (in English!) on my blog when I should be doing the class assignments. It’s because I have a short attention span and I got distracted by the paraclete. I was reading the discernment class book, a discussion of the Gospel of John that recounts how Jesus promises to send his followers the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). John uses the word paraclete in reference to the Holy Spirit. Paraclete is a Greek word (παράκλητος—I love writing in Greek) meaning advocate or helper. But here’s the thing—I hadn’t thought about the word for decades but as soon as I read it I had a flashback. I remembered being in St. Camillus and one of the nuns was telling us that the paraclete was represented by a dove and I thought she was talking about a parakeet. I was in second grade, I didn’t speak Greek, and I had a yellowish-green parakeet named Chiffon. Paraclete, parakeet—hence the confusion that endured for half a century. Oh, well.
Stop distracting me—I need to do my homework.