Since last I left you, so much has changed! Phone calls have been made, prayers have been answered, bags have been packed, babies have been born! (Please note: The babies are not of my own doing… but it’s something to celebrate nonetheless.)
If you recall in my last post, I was a bundle of uncertainty. But God placed the book of James in my hands and pulled me back to the present moment.
“Come now, all you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town spend a year there doing business, and make a profit’- You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow.“
And boy, was he right.
That very next day, I received the famous FOCUS phone call. (God’s timing, man. Tis perfect!) I had been praying about this call for months. It’s interesting. In that time, God only made one thing clear to me. That I was walking down the right path. He did not tell me where I was going, or whom I’d be with, or what I would learn or how I would be challenged. He just made it clear that because I was following Him, my next stop on this mission would be exactly where I was supposed to be. No questions asked.
So, when Matthew Cyriac told me that next year I would be a missionary at New York University, I was overcome with peace. Pure peace.
But, you know what’s funny about peace? We somehow always find a way to lose track of it. We’re only human, and I will be the first to tell you that I can fail like nobody’s business. But the beauty of failing, the beauty of falling short, is that it gives us the opportunity to turn to God at our weakest and ask for His strength. Failing reminds us that we can never succeed alone.
While in San Francisco this past week, I wandered into Saint Patrick’s Church to 1.) Check it out. Churches are full of beauty. And 2.) To pray. Churches are also full of places to pray. Wait, what? Yes. Crazy, I know.
My mind seemed fixed on the unknown. And the questions started to flood back. “What if I’m not ready for a big city? What if my kind of crazy isn’t their kind of crazy? (Valid questions, people.) What if I let them down?”
And then, the Holy Spirit proceeded to rock. my prayerful. world! All of the questions in my head went silent. And He placed a moment of past prayer on my heart. The prayer that lead me to another year with FOCUS.
Ignatian meditation. The Epiphany. Mary.
Okay, let me explain. Ignatian meditation (in one sentence) is a form of prayer where you place yourself into a story from scripture. The Epiphany (in one sentence) was when the three wise men came to visit Joseph, Mary, and the newborn baby Jesus.
The person leading the meditation told us to walk into the scene, and to enter into conversation with anyone in the room (Wise men, Joseph, or Mary).
- I was feeling quite frazzled, so I didn’t feel like talking to annnnyone, let alone anyone in my prayers.
- Good thing Catholicism is much more than feelings. Perseverance, people. Pray anyway.
I went right to Mary holding the baby Jesus. She looked around my age (Correct, 15 years old is about right for me). She looked like she would understand.
I had so many things flying through my head (much like I did at the present moment in San Fran). I wanted to tell her everything, all my worries, all my questions, all of my confusion. But instead, I looked her in the eye, and only two words left my mouth.
There was a pause. The kind of pause where anything could happen.
She looked at me and said in all honesty,
“Me too. But look at Him.”
And in an instant, I was no longer alone. I just needed to look at Him. And trust. I needed to trust. I was reminded that it’s human to have fears; we just can’t let those fears cloud our view of Him.
Back in San Francisco, grateful for the reminder, I packed up my things to head out. As I knelt down for one last thank you, my eyes fell upon the statue that had been directly in front of me the whole time. A model of “La Pieta”. The famous statue of Jesus, once again in the arms of Mary, but this time, He was far from a newborn.
“But look at Him.”
What a powerful realization.
“At the judgment, in response to our questions, the Lord will show us his wounds, and we will understand. In the meantime, however, he simply expects us to stand by him and to believe what these wounds tell us, even though we cannot work right through the logic of this world.”
– Pope Benedict XVI
It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to not know. But don’t lose sight of Him. And don’t lose sight of what he’s done for us. He fought more than we will ever understand. Now it’s our turn to fight.
NYU, let’s do this!