I got my most recent report cards from the Institut de droit canonique in Strasbourg, where I have been a distance student for the past 7 years. They confirmed the good news that I passed my final paper, which means the only thing left to do is the thesis. Good thing I have a clear topic, and the general outline is already done. Really, all I have to do is 60 pages of fill in the blanks, i.e. yikes!
I started this journey a year before I was made a bishop, and when that new reality came along I figured it was a sign from God to drop out and focus on other things. When I would pray about it, though, I kept getting a very clear signal that the Lord wanted me to keep going, even if it would take longer. The Institut de droit canonique was really good with me too, offering me lots of extensions along the way. It has been a fantastic learning experience, and one which has already been of service to the Church in ways I did not expect.
Of course, it has also been a lot of work too. I'm sure every student has, at some point, felt the temptation to procrastinate, or needed a push to break through writers block. I'm all set up to use July as a month of writing -- in addition to the new laptop and reference materials, I've got my brain food (i.e. snacks) and study music (you wouldn't believe it if I told you) ready to go. But your prayers would be appreciated as well!