Sunday, December 10, 2023

Admissions essay for Sacred Heart

Aaron S. Robertson

Author's note: What follows is my admissions essay for entry into the Master's in Theology program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, written and submitted in June, 2023.

In this essay, I will begin by briefly introducing myself with several personal, professional, and academic details. Next, I will discuss my return to the Church at the end of 2021 after approximately two decades and how this has inspired me to apply for the Master of Arts program. I will then close with a short conversation centered around what I would specifically like to explore in the program as it pertains to my role in healing a fractured world.

Currently, I work as a full-time substitute teacher and special education paraprofessional. The upcoming 2023-24 school year marks my sixth in the profession, after holding various roles in business to 2018. I hold a BA (2007) and MS (2013) from Cardinal Stritch University and was enrolled in its doctoral program when the university closed in 2023.

In December 2021, I experienced a radical conversion that inspired me to return to Holy Mother Church after wandering in the proverbial wilderness for nearly 20 years, lost in the spirit of the world. Since then, I became active in my parish’s men’s group; became a catechist for children; have occasionally led small group sessions for adults; and have passionately returned to the Sacraments. I attend confession weekly and have found it to be a wonderful source of healing, joy, peace, and beauty.

At 40 years old, this MA will open a plethora of new work and service opportunities for me, albeit it later in life and career. I am not sure of the full extent of the breadth and depth of these at the immediate moment, as I cannot see the big picture fully laid out. They may range anywhere from parish-level catechism and faith formation roles educating children and/or adults; to working in campus ministry and/or as an occasional adjunct instructor at the collegiate level; to serving the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in some capacity; and/or to collaborating with a Catholic business or organization that produces faith-based content. These opportunities may involve travel and service trips. I am receptive to all these wonderful possibilities, wherever the Holy Spirit wishes to lead me. All I know for certain is that I am an educator at heart, having worked with K-12 students for five years now. Additionally, I held stints training and educating working adults in various subjects during my time in business and industry. In short, I absolutely love teaching and learning, and I am excited by all the potential that the attainment of this degree can bring in enhancing these God-given talents and gifts I have.

In reflecting on my role in healing a fractured world, I have always been fascinated by macro-level economic, political, and social systems, and their abilities – or lack thereof – to provide for the holistic needs of people, families, and workers adequately and meaningfully. After searching for more than 20 years, I have concluded with absolute conviction, in front of my very eyes the entire time but overlooked and even blatantly ignored by me due to the blindness of sin in combination with arrogance and pride, that only the Holy Roman Church and Her teachings hold the full and complete truth regarding these complex economic and material concerns. It is through traveling down this avenue that I arrive in the splendor of the Church’s vast, rich, lifegiving, and life affirming deposit of social teaching.

Briefly, I boldly hold that it is through the Sacraments that we as individuals are given the graces to align ourselves to God’s will while simultaneously becoming truly reliant on Him, all so that, in turn, we not only have eternal life, but we create, while still in this world, a just society where an abundance of charity and goodwill overflow, allowing all to truly flourish. There is no other way. All other proposed solutions, systems, and ideologies are manmade, leave God out of the picture or relegate Him to mere pleasantries while replacing Him with material wealth and goods to be greedily desired, and are doomed to failure. This is why they have not succeeded in adequately providing for the holistic needs of people, families, and workers. Under both liberal democracies and totalitarian regimes of every stripe; and in free market and command economies alike; people live in poverty, go hungry, are actors or victims of heinous crimes, and suffer at the hands of greed they have little to no control over. True resolution lies in the teachings of the Church, which in turn come from Christ and the regular reception of His Sacraments.

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