St. John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord, as we are all reminded to do during this Advent season. John was the voice crying out in the desert. A man who lived and breathed the mission he was given by God. In the Gospel of Mark, he is described as “…clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey (Mark 1:6).” John may appear as one to avoid by his physical appearance, smelling of camel and desert living…and yet he drew crowds who desired to listen to him preach and to be baptized. What did John have that would draw a crowd from their comfortable living and working quarters to go out to a desert? No enticing doughnuts, coffee, comfy chairs, or trendy music would welcome them when they arrived. John had no bulletin board to advertise himself or social media account to reach people. I doubt he was wearing the latest fashion or portrayed anything of the typical image of a successful man of his time. So what about John and his message were so riveting? Especially a message like telling them to repent for their sins. Wow…to discuss sin is just begging for conflict, isn’t it? St. John did not let the people of Judea be content in their current sinful state, but urged them to desire more and invited them to a deeper relationship with the Lord and Savior to come. And the people, hungry for this deeper relationship with God, came. “People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins (Mark 1:5).”
In honor of Julie Murray whose quoted words inspired the work below.
Spoken in no greatness of oration,
The words moved with such gravity
That I am pressed between the sublime
And the awe inspiring.
A happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading this! As I write this post, the Youth Ministry staff has just completed our busiest two-week stretch of the fall semester. Over the last fortnight we have led five different retreats for five different schools. Three of those required students to stay at JSC overnight. When students stay overnight, then we as youth ministers have to be with them for 14 hours straight.
As I reflect on all the ways I have grown during the past two months, I can see how God is using both the challenges and joys of youth ministry to shape me into the person I am becoming. In this new season of my life, I want to learn as much as possible about the daily responsibilities of retreat ministry, while also making time to reflect on my experiences and care for my relationship with God.
Before I began the Ignite internship, I knew I wanted a way to remember both the small and grand ways I would encounter God through my daily life and ministry at the Jesuit Spiritual Center. In September, I began recording one second videos of my daily life. Many of the videos capture the high energy moments of retreats, such as ice breakers or team building activities. But, I have also found God in the quieter moments of the past two months in Milford.
As I was walking around the Jesuit Spiritual Center the other day, I took notice of the trees on the property in a more profound way. I always loved the trees the Good Lord fastened here. We have wide, tall trees with deep, healthy roots. It is truly a marvel that such a small seed grows into something so magnificent and expansive.
Let me start off by saying, “this ain’t my first rodeo.”
However, if it were an actual rodeo, then it would be my first.
This isn’t to say my time here hasn’t been like a rodeo. Between Roping (materials), wrestling (tough questions), riding (to near and far campuses), and corralling (large and small group activities), I shouldn’t be surprised to find myself tired at the end of each day. There is a comfort to all this, you don’t go to a rodeo, let alone participate in one, if it ain’t something you love. Recall, “this ain’t my first rodeo,” so there’s gotta be something to it that keeps bringing me back.