Getting Serious

I have set myself to embrace an entirely new discipline — canon law — and in so doing I find I must challenge myself on a lifetime of academic complacency. I coasted all through college, with sufficient success, and there has been little in my life since that has pushed me to apply myself any more intently (in an academic mode, that is). But not only is it clearly insufficient for me to just soak up what I can and skate through this process, but the notion is antithetical to my purpose in being here. I intend to become a trained canonist, I am here as the result of my own volition, and to do anything less than embrace this course of studies with all the passion I can muster, coupled with my not-inconsiderable intellectual gifts, would be a grave betrayal of all that has brought me here.

Some after a bit of a slow start, I am rolling up my sleeves (figuratively and literally) and reinventing myself as a student. I am not going to allow myself to live from class to class, just keeping up with the flow of lectures and assignments. I intend, rather, to devote my energies to a systematic understanding of the law as it is presented to me by my professors, and to then make that understanding my own.

To this end, I have a growing document (in Pages, which I am increasingly embracing) with a heading for each canon number followed by a two-cell table. Working with two .pdf files of the Code — one in Latin, the other in English — I am individually pasting the text of each canon into its respective cell (Latin on the left, English on the right).

Once this massively-tedious setup phase is complete, then the fun/work can really begin. I plan to add my own commentary to each canon on an ongoing basis, as I study them, or read anything pertaining to them, or think randomly about them, or (just to cover all my options) anything is revealed to me by a thundering voice speaking from the midst of a fiery cloud that has some bearing on them. This is not a project that can ever have an end, obviously, save one (my own), but I believe it will prove (for me) the best way to organize my own learning and research, and if it someday develops into a full-fledged canonical commentary of my very own, well, then, I will go shopping for a publisher. Until then, I have a lot of work to do.

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