Take It All As Blessing
Consider the prodigal son. At the end of his time away from home he finds himself hollow, sad, and hungry. He recognizes the depth of his sin and his unworthiness of a place in his father’s house. This itself is grace.
– Tagged "evangelization"
We often think of Mary in the domestic sense, caring for us as she cared for and raised our Lord, or we think of her as a regal Queen of Heaven, an image which gives us comfort and strength as we consider our powerful intercessor before the throne of God. We don’t, however, think of Mary as a missionary.
I often think about how strange it must have been to be St. John the Baptist. On the one hand, he had a very clear calling and goal toward which his life was ordered; he knew from an early age that he was called to radical sacrifice, calling people to repentance, and “making straight the way of the Lord”. On the other, the God to whom he was calling the people back, and the Lord whose path he was making straight, was his younger cousin, someone he’d presumably seen over the years at family gatherings and celebrations. In all, quite a bizarre life to live, but I find this dichotomy helpful in meditating on Jesus’ humanity and the “Hidden Years” before his ministry. Jesus was, at one point, a teenaged boy, with teenage friends and cousins, most likely playing some first-century equivalent of pickup basketball and going to birthday parties, and there’s a real chance St. John was there for some of that.
“During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” Luke 1: 39-40
During those days. During those days of waiting, growing, suffering, wondering, and preparing, Mary did something I probably would never have dared to do. In the midst of a great mystery unfolding and in a state of vulnerability, she set out. She did not wait until Jesus was grown and neatly groomed to share Him with those around her. Rather, she began revealing His goodness to the world even while He was still hidden in her womb. What was the result? Joy set free in the human heart.
There is not much I love doing more than getting up at 5 am and driving to a city two hours away.
Getting up at 5 a.m. allowed me to meet a young man who moved from New York City to Kansas on his own at the age of 14 to have a more wholesome high school life. Getting up at 5 a.m. led me to a community I had never encountered before and could learn from. Getting up at 5 a.m. taught me that you should always ask a 14 year old boy with a microphone what his dad joke is BEFORE he shares it with the group.
A group of friends, including my older brother and our campus minister, put on a retreat for students approaching confirmation. This experience was one that definitely demanded a lot from us. For each of us differently, we had to step out of our comfort zones through praying over individual students or answering the difficult Q&A questions.
Once I hit my pillow that night, I was out for nearly 12 hours, and I can’t remember the last time I fell asleep so fast.
It is not hard to see that there is darkness present in the lives of college students today. Social media, the party scene, and hookup culture shows me so many people searching for something. Something more, something truly authentic. In one of my favorite Bible studies, we dove into Corinthians and saw the way Paul called the people of Corinth out of their sin, and into something more. He calls them to the idea of living in the world, but not of it.
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