A sage once said, “When you’re through learning, you’re through. Period.” I challenge the sage.
Life is a process of discovery and we are never completely fulfilled.
Allow me to depart for a moment from my usual practice of commenting only on the Gospel of the day. Today’s first reading from Samuel is one of my favorite Scripture stories. God called three times to Samuel. It took a while for him to hear and to discover who was calling and he needed help. For Samuel, it was Eli. Thus it was with me in my calling to the Diaconate. God sent messengers, then angels, and finally a scribe before I began to hear.
Another very proximate and real example for me is my 40+ years’ marriage. Courtship and the first year were very swift periods of learning about my spouse, and she about me. I have never had any regrets. (I hope she would say the same.) We remain in a process of learning about each other and the discovery is glorious!
John’s Gospel, which we proclaim this morning, speaks to my point. How did His disciples come to know who Jesus is? Their journey of discovery, like ours, is a lifetime of experience and learning. We pass through many stages of knowing and not knowing, of believing and of questioning. Out of love and trust and experience we come to know the Lord. And yet in our lifetimes we never come to know Him fully. There is always more. The Lord reveals Himself in countless ways and in countless circumstances. We need only remain open to learning, to discovery.
Like in our most important earthly relationships, the more we learn, the more our love grows. When we are through learning, we are through, and we meet in Heaven, where our knowledge is complete and the full knowledge is even more glorious than the discovery.