Hello everyone! This is the blog where I will (hopefully) be keeping you all updated on my year serving as a Jesuit Volunteer.
Although there are a few months before I move to Detroit and begin the next big adventure in this crazy thing called ‘the real world’, I wanted to let people know where I’m at and why I have decided to joint the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
I learned about JVC when I was a freshmen attending a Jesuit high school. Going to a private, Catholic school was of absolutely no interest to me at the time, but in retrospect I have come to a place of immense gratitude for the year I spent at that school. There I learned the basics of Ignatian Spirituality, from the founding father Iggy (St. Ignatius of Loyola) himself, to finding God in all things.
The Jesuit motto of Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, ‘for the greater glory of God’, is a motto that has really shaped my image of God and my relationship with Him. I grew up Catholic, but entering into high school my relationship with God was very unstable. In all honesty, I didn’t really care about Him. I believed in Him (most of the time) but forming a personal relationship with Him was not on the top of my to-do list. I was even angry at God for awhile because I did not want to go to a private school and being a teenager is hard; I blamed all my struggles on Him. In actuality, He was the one helping me keep my head above water when I felt like I was drowning in my own angst.
My theology class freshmen year, as well as the Catholic foundation of my school, taught me to see God in all things (especially in the hard stuff). Even though we all struggle, slowly I came to see that trusting in God and His love was the one thing I could always do.
I became fascinated by religion that year and I cultivate a specific fascination with the Catholicism of my childhood that I felt I had drifted away from. I learned that having an intense, personal relationship with God was entirely possible and wonderful. Ignatian Spirituality is very much based around finding God (the extraordinary) in our everyday, ordinary lives. I saw God in my teachers, in my family, the work I did, and in the beauty of the world that was all around me. I still try everyday to see the goodness in all these things, even when I am spending many miserable hours in the library just trying to graduate.
Throughout college, my love of God has continue to grow and has taken me many wonderful and unexpected places. I have learned about my own faith through the study of world religions and through becoming involved with campus ministry. I have meet people who have changed my life and I have made friends that will last long past graduation. My life isn’t always simple and good; I struggle with anxiety and a desire to be perfect in all I do. I put a lot of pressure on myself in that regard and college is just a stressful and insane time, especially this close to graduation. But despite all this, I recognize that I live a very privileged and blessed life.
Last semester I took a ‘Critical Perspectives of Service’ course and we talked a lot about ‘privilege’ and what it means to us. I am privileged in that I live a comfortable life with a loving family and I have had the opportunity to gain a higher education. Now, it is easy to feel guilty about our privilege and the lives we live, while so many in the world suffer and struggle just to maintain a healthy standard of life. However, I feel that feeling ‘guilty’ will not achieve anything. Instead of feeling bad that I have things that others do not or expressing sympathy for the greater world, why not do something? Obviously, one person cannot change everything that is wrong with the world or improve the lives of all those who are suffering, but we have to start somewhere. There is a time and place for guilt and sympathy, but I would rather share with the world love and empathy when and where I can.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, I have pure and simply fallen in love with God. He has given me a beautiful life filled with His love and grace, and I want nothing more in my life than to love Him in return. Serving in His name and helping those in need is one way that I feel called to ‘return’ His love and to share it with as many people as I can. So that’s why I chose JVC and thank God they chose me!
I am nowhere near perfect and I am still very uncertain where I want to go in life and what I want to do. I am not always kind and I have my moments of frustration, anger, and depression. Through it all, I know I have God and the people He has placed in my life to lean on for support. Despite my imperfections and my sometimes cynical attitude, I wake up each day hoping and praying that I will be a better person than I was the day before. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. Either way, I try to keep God at the center of my life and to see His goodness in most ordinary of places (try is the key word here!)
So, I am a month away from graduation and a few months away rom starting my service at the Detroit Cristo Rey High School. Where do I go from here? It feels like I am in an intense period of waiting: waiting for the next big step. In these moments of waiting, I believe God is preparing me for all that is to come. So, I will continue to let Him speak to my heart and be my strength through this last (and crazy) month of my undergraduate career. I will continue to live with His greater glory in mind. Each day I hope to see Him and grow closer to Him through all the papers, relationships, struggles, and emotions.
If you feel so inclined, please consider donating to my Send Me to Serve Campaign (link below!) and keep me in your prayers. I pray that you all can find God in all things and that He may be with you, where every you may be on life’s journey!
God is Good!