This past weekend, Sister Colleen gave a talk on moments when God has come down and touched our lives. She asked us to reflect on eight key moments in our lives where this has happened and to carry them with us as we took time to figure out who we are now.
1. Little Miss Christie Auditions
In the 6th grade, I didn't get cast in the school play. I was pretty bummed. So about two months prior to auditions the next year, I started praying every single day. I would say my route prayers (mainly the rosary) and then ask Jesus to let me make the play. Precious. After I was cast, I keep praying almost every night, for a long time.
Though I don't remember a specific moment, I know that this time in my life was graced. I saw the power of God and responded to it. Though it was for a silly petition, I saw that God desired my well being and began to lay foundations of prayer in my life. I really believe this response to His pursuit of me is what set me up to grow in my faith a few years down the road.
2. Destination Jesus - Out of the Jungle
I was required to go on a retreat for confirmation. This meant joining the ranks of DJ graduates. Though I could not tell you the specifics of what was talked about on this retreat, I can tell you exactly what happened that Saturday night in 2005. It was the first time I had experienced adoration and in that high school gym, Jesus came down and touched me. I was filled with His presence and His love and I was intensely overcome with joy. I knew, in that moment, that not only was Jesus truly God, but He was truly present in the Eucharist. This moment solidified my faith, and kept me Catholic when I was a sophomore in college.
3. Camp Tecumseh
Surprise, camp made the list. There are so many things I could list on how The Lord came down into my reality from campers sharing their hearts to friends to the beauty of nature to chapels. But what I want to focus on is the preparation Arielle and I put into bringing back the "10 Lepers" chapel. I think that was the first time I really sat with scripture and applied it to my life. I spent hours sitting and talking with Arielle and Tom, looking into how Jesus had worked in my life and how it had brought me to where I was today. We chose to focus on the one leper who had thanked Jesus for healing him. The humility of this leper showed me how to thank Jesus for the blessings in my own life and taught me how to listen to the voice of god in scripture. Arielle's willingness to share her heart through the experience brought us incredibly close as friends, and opened my heart to a deep friendship with Jesus.
4. Delta Gamma - TDH
This is going to be a lame explanation, because I can't explain this one. TDH are some of Delta Gamma's secret values that correspond with who we are as a fraternity. All I can say is that when I really learned what these things meant, they launched me forward to a deepened relationship with Jesus.
5. Mission Trip to the Bronx
This trip opened my heart to receive Jesus' love in a new way. Here I saw how alive Jesus is today. I was blown away by how present He was in such a huge city, and how many young people across our country are fighting for Him. Here I opened my heart to what Jesus wants for my life, not just the plan I've created. That has made all the difference these last few years.
Oh, FOCUS. As I reflect on the people Jesus has put in my life to draw me to Him through this organization, I am overcome with gratitude. FOCUS came into my life right as I started to respond to Jesus' pursuit of me. All of the missionaries and students that I have been blessed to know have challenged me to respond to Jesus' love for me, to go deeper, and to share my faith in a new and radical way. I have learned to pray, how to be present, how to love, and so many more things because of FOCUS. I am so grateful to this organization. I am who I am today because of FOCUS. I am so glad FOCUS is still a part of my life and I am excited to see how being an office missionary will continue to shape my life.
7. The Visitation
This summer, pregnant Mary started stalking me. And she hasn't left me alone. I'm pretty okay with it. Mary's journey to help her cousin Elizabeth is her response to being filled with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Mary says yes to God, is filled with the two other members of the trinity, and immediately, without hesitation, sets out to serve others. I want to be like this. I've stayed with Mary's Magnificat and this image for a few months now, and the more I reflect on it, the more I want to be like Mary. I want my yes to God to bring Jesus to other people, simply in being who I am.
8. Moving to Colorado
This might have just happened, but these past two months have just been saturated with Jesus. I told a friend last week that I feel like I'm on the cusp of something big. Never has my faith been so consistently alive. I am learning to be more self aware, to trust the desires Jesus has given me, and to live in the physical presence of God. I know that this is graced time, and the deepening of my trust in Gods love will set me up for an ever deepening relationship with Jesus.
The pieces of our lives come together, as signs of God's love for us. They may not fit where we thought they would, but they all play a critical role in shaping who we are.
Cheesey, yes. But I liked it.