Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Going Forth from the Upper Room

Hello Readers,

I'm not sure if anyone is still checking this but just in case I thought I'd write a blog from the States. Pat and all the students arrived safely home last Friday. Since then, I have been fighting off the jet lag and trying to keep myself in good spirits. At times both tasks have been difficult but I feel myself growing each day as I think back to what I experienced over those three weeks in Australia.

Today, I reread the Holy Father's messages to us over the World Youth Day week. Much like the Holy Father said, I grew up knowing much about the Father and the Son but not much about the Holy Spirit. Coming off WYD I can say that has changed. Never before in my life have I felt so on fire with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and so aware of where I am being called. I have had trouble articulating exactly what I experienced in Australia and the changes it has brought about in me. That is where much of my frustration with others has come from lately. However, upon rereading the Holy Father's final message of World Youth Day at the final Mass, I have found a way to sum it up: "Through the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, may this Twenty-third World Youth Day be experienced as a new Upper Room, from which all of us, burning with the fire and love of the Holy Spirit, go forth to proclaim the Risen Christ and to draw every heart to him! Amen." I doubt I speak just for myself in saying that I truly left the racecourse that day and have returned home desiring nothing more than to witness to others the glory of God's love for the world. That coming together of so many Catholic youth from around the world truly was a living example of the gathering of the Apostles and Mary in the Upper Room.

And now, the Holy Father has sent us forth to the ends of the earth to speak of the Good News in all the tongues of the nations. That is ultimately what we are all being commonly called to do. In this, we are truly serving one another through the love of Christ. We must encourage others to take advantage of the graces that can be received through the Sacraments. I have come to realize just how important taking time to just sit with the Body of Our Lord can be in refocusing myself to serve him and others. While talking about Adoration on the trip, someone said, "It is such a gift to be able to sit in front of the Body of Christ. Just as you can find joy in sitting in front of him, he also finds joy in seeing you there." The Father wants us to come to Him. So He sends forth the Holy Spirit to guide us. It is up to us to listen to the call.

As I approach my senior year at Fordham and all the busyness and stress that comes with it I cannot help but be grateful that I had this time in Australia. I pray that I am able to use the graces I received to really go deeper in all that I do in the upcoming school year. I also pray for the wisdom to discern what I am being called to do and what is not the best for me.

Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment on our blogs. Thank you also to Rox and Dave for being the biggest writers. I have read their blogs and I could not have put our experiences in better words myself. The Spirit is truly ablaze within them.

I leave you with a quote from Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, to whom I now have a great devotion. He inspired me so much over the course of the pilgrimage and I know he was helping to guide me to push myself to go "to the top" in all that I did:

“To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing.”

Peace be with you and God Bless!

-Michael-