This summer I went on my third CHRISTpower retreat, a week-long service retreat for high school students in our diocese. We stay at the local high school and each day we attend a different service site, reflect on a different theme, and look for Christ in sometimes unexpected places. This year’s overall theme was Mercy in Action, in conjunction with the Year of Mercy. Each day at Mass while on the retreat one member from each group would describe where they saw Christ that day. As a tribute to everyone I have met through this amazing experience these past few years, especially those I met this year, I have written a manifesto of sorts:
Today, in reflection, I saw Christ in the very fiber of CHRISTpower.
I saw Him in the 19 men and 11 women that gave up a week of their summer for the good of their community.
I saw Him in the priest blessing a unicorn.
I saw Him in the swift flick of an ankle playing hacky sack and in the strong leap of a volleyball player.
He sat and ate lunch with us, teaching rather than learning in our midst.
He taught us that, grammatically speaking, a party is lit, people get turnt, and that as a child of the Father we mustn’t do either.
Christ guided our scrubbing hands and our paintbrush-swishing fingers.
He deboned chicken and asked for extra hush puppies.
He told us personal experiences from prison and reminded us that we are all only one bad decision away from it ourselves.
He woke up still earlier every day for morning prayer and read to us from The Little Prince at morning reflection.
Christ slid down the hill with a GoPro on His head and tried with all His might to dress Horace.
He made ice cream in a bag until His fingers were numb and then He served us at Central Dairy.
He is reminded that the Holy Spirit leads us to ask for help and give assistance in ways that we have not previously experienced.
Christ stayed up until 2:30 in the morning writing affirmations and He still has more wonderful things to say about each and every one of our hearts.
Later, He watched the World Youth Day live stream and was reminded that we created just as powerful of an experience at CHRISTpower.
And, Christ showed us by the infinite mercy of His Sacred Heart that our hearts are capable of more mercy than we ever could have imagined.
With Love and Prayers,