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:
Called By Name
The Mark of a Mountain
“The mountains are calling and I must go,” a quote from John Muir, has always held a special place in my heart. This summer my family was fortunate to be able to visit my cousin and her family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There I began to learn what it is about mountains that captivates my heart the way it does-a connection to God. Mont Sainte-Victoire, an impressionistic painting by Paul Cézanne captures this feeling in the most beautiful way.
This Too Shall Pass
A wise woman named Corrie ten Boom once said: “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.” As the German Blitzkrieg spread through the Netherlands, her room held a secret closet that could conceal up to six Jews. Her actions have been estimated to have saved over 800 lives. I bet that she told the men, women, and children she harbored something similar to “this too shall pass”. Later, when she would be imprisoned by the Gestapo, I’m sure she told herself the same thing. Though the terrors of the Holocaust are far beyond that which most of us can relate to, we all face times of great turmoil in our lives. Continue reading
The Cotton Ball of Sin
If you’re looking for a sign, this is it. Growing up at a Catholic grade school and then attending a Catholic high school, I have seen many, many signs for vocations awareness. I have heard talks from priests and religious sisters alike, and have been encouraged by many to pursue a future in vocations. What was never really explained to me, or any of us really, was that matrimony is a holy vocation as well. We heard a couple of talks later on in our education from beautiful people who were following the vocation to marriage, but is always seemed emphasized that to live a truly holy life, you must give everything to God, and that didn’t seem to be possible in marriage.
With all of the emphasis that the Church must put on vocations to the religious life, I found myself lost in what God actually wanted me to be. Continue reading