Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

August 29, 2011

"Dear friends..."

"Dear friends, may no adversity paralyze you. Be neither afraid of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness." -- The Holy Father on Saturday, August 20, 2011.

As I wrote before, I had the privilege and blessing of attending World Youth Day, or Jornada Mundial de la Juventud, in Madrid, Spain. When I was there I was aware that it was a privilege and blessing, although the fruits for my own life seemed far from evident. Along with three colleagues and friends, I was responsible for the safety of 26 of our school's best, brightest, and most beautiful girls. I knew it was going to be a window into parenthood in the first few hours: flying passports, scattered medications, queasiness, uneasiness, and forgetfulness were abounding. This is all of course not to mention the spiritual questions that were directed to us: Why should I believe in this Jesus Christ? What if I doubt God's love? How do you know your vocation? Why is there so much suffering? And of course, there were constant fears on my behalf: Are we safe? Is anyone being pickpocketed? Is this girl going to pass out? Is another Italian teenage boy going to try to kiss my dear student?

At one point I turned to our school's priest and my dear friend and said, "Are you praying for me? I'm praying for you." And he said, "Dear, this whole trip is the prayer. The getting up early, the walking, the exhaustion." And that was enough for me to table any plan to have a spiritual experience of my own.

And yet, in His goodness, the Lord gave me a beautiful experience on Saturday night. The Vigil with the Holy Father was ushered in by a massive wind storm that kicked up dust in our eyes. Lightning threatened us every 30 seconds. Rain came in torrents. And yet, the Holy Father continued on, and gave us 20 minutes or so of adoration. In the chaos of the storm, in the sea of 2 million people, the airfield went quiet. And though I only had about 60 seconds to adore Our Lord until someone needed something, I was able to be present to the Lord and He to me, as if we were the only two people there. As the Holy Father urged us to not be afraid of those three things mentioned above -- the world, my fears, and my weaknesses -- I felt that God was speaking directly to my heart. In a moment when all was stormy outside and even inside, all went calm. I have never experienced such a communion before. And I don't know if I will again. But that 60 seconds was more than enough. And its graces are producing bushels of fruit in my life right now, and I'm sure that will continue to in the months to come.

I hope that you, readers, are experiencing graces, as I offered the chaos up for you!

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