Why Pursue a Masters in Religion?

Photo Credit: Library of CongressSterling Memorial Quadrangle and Marquand Chapel, Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT

Photo Credit: Library of Congress. Sterling Memorial Quadrangle and Marquand Chapel, Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT

Cory Hodson, an alum of Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Massachusetts, has recently begun a masters program in Religion at Yale University. We asked him what motivated him to pursue the masters and we’re grateful for his response and contribution to Living the Charism. We hope to hear more from him as he follows this enriching path.

Cory Hodson

Cory Hodson

My original inclination to grapple with issues of religion came during my junior year moral theology class at Xaverian (Westwood, MA). We talked about the importance of working towards the common good and living in right relationship with brothers and sisters of all creeds and backgrounds. Throughout high school at Xaverian and my undergraduate tenure at Loyola University Maryland, I increasingly began to learn that Catholic ministry isn’t a siloed, theoretical activity kept apart from the divergent thoughts and messiness about our world. If God is of the world, we ought to be too…right? I decided to undertake a Master of Arts in Religion at Yale University to meet and learn from a set of individuals excited about asking similar questions, most of whom are not Catholic. I owe everything to my nearly 20 years of Catholic education, but my move to a more pluralistic community of learners allows me to “seek new understanding,” as Mr. Palmieri, my junior year moral theology teacher at Xaverian, taught me. Studying religion and ethics at the graduate school level will allow me to spend time parsing and questioning fundamental things. It will allow opportunities for me to question and be questioned. To listen and reflect. To find the quiet space to ask God for guidance as I discern His call for me. Is it teaching? Development work? Public office? Non-profit consultancy? Academia? Some form of ministry?

Years after high school, the Xaverian Charism and Fundamental Principals still guide me. Where are my brothers in sisters who need edifying on the journey? How can I help bear the weakness of another? How am I a unique expression of God’s love? Am I zealous? Where and in whom do I look for God in the common, ordinary, unspectacular flow of everyday life? I have great faith that asking these questions will lead me – slowly – into the answers to the questions I raised about my life’s vocation(s). As Thomas Merton wrote long before, I have no idea where I’m going. None at all. The Fundamental Principals, though, remind me to “surrender [myself] trustingly into the arms of your Parent God, who knows you, understands you, and loves you.” And, as hard as it is, I’ll keep trying to do that.

3 Comments

  1. Wishing you the best in life , especially in your chosen career. So proud of you. I know your parents are. Always keep an open mind & heart.
    Your distant cousin , Alicia

  2. Brother Charles, C.F.X. says:

    Cory, very impressive article, but more than that the expression of your
    life and goals. As a Baltimorean whose late nephew was married at Loyola in Baltimore (I was across town at our Xaverian school, Mt. St. Joseph), it seems we have some ‘spiritual’ connection. But then, isn’t that true of all creation?
    May you enjoy continued success and happiness in your studies and for years to come.

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