Congratulations to Our Graduates
May 14, 2017
Three years ago this June, I moved to Collegeville. My first day here, I was driving along the back road to Emmaus when I had to slam on the breaks.
Now I’m from a city, so when we slam on the breaks, it means a bus is pulling out or a traffic light is changing … because there’s actually traffic.
No, on that fateful first drive coming around County Road 159, I slammed on the breaks because … there was a family of turtles crossing the road.
It was the first of many times over three years where I asked the question, “Where the hell am I?”
It rained that first night—hard. Of course I ran outside, drenched. As I watched rain from above pour into the waters of Lake Sag below, I knew exactly where the hell I was.
I was home.
All you who are thirsty, come to the water.
We each came to Collegeville thirsting for something—knowledge about desert monasticism, a community to pray with, friends with whom to contemplate life’s biggest questions … or to just sit quietly with and watch the stars.
I hope after our years here we each experienced God quenching our thirst in some way—through a caring professor, a challenging class, a moving liturgy or a kooky co-worker. God gifts us in many ways.
As we leave this place, the prophet Isaiah says we can trust God will continue to provide for us in ways we may not even know or understand yet. That’s part of the mystery of it all.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the Lord.
Thank God for that, am I right?
Nevertheless, times of transition can be tough. I think this passage from Isaiah offers a few tips for us moving forward.
Listen. First, listen. God tells us Listen, that you may have life. Listen … “Listen carefully,” St. Benedict begins his Rule, “with the ear of your heart.” This call to listen reminds us there is wisdom yet untapped—and we don’t have to go far to look. The God who so lovingly “knit me together in my mother’s womb” continues to speak to me in my thoughts and feelings … and in the world around me. All I have to do is listen.
When life gets busy in your next parish, hospital or classroom, be sure to carve out time to grow still and listen.
Seek the Lord. We’re also invited to seek the Lord, to call the Lord. We can seek God in many places. Especially here, at the altar, where we humbly implore the Lord that the gifts we have brought for consecration may become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
As nourishing as the Eucharist can be, this [altar] is also hard. We – a community of Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Evangelicals, Presbyterians and more – we don’t all gather around the same altar yet.
Isaiah keeps talking about the food and the drink that give us life … I have to believe that it’s found here, wherever your “here” is. Communion is messy and even hurtful at times, but the Lord is here. In the bread and the wine, in the word and in the gathered community, Christ is here for the seeking.
Call on the Lord at your sacred table, wherever that may be. And pray that one day, we can all celebrate the call together.
Do good. We’re called to listen, to seek the Lord and we’re called to do good. Isaiah implores, God sends God’s word to do good work in the world. And you know what? We are that word! Humanity and divinity connected when the World became flesh 2,000 years ago … and our mission has never been the same since. Christ made us part of his Body.
So like the rain and snow coming from the heavens to water the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, we, too, are called to give life to the world. To give drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, welcome to the stranger and visits to the sick and imprisoned. This is our Christian vocation. Our broken world is thirsting for the good works we have been educated and formed to provide.
God’s word will achieve the end for which God sent it. May our prayers accompany each other as we listen, seek and work for the coming of God’s kingdom—a kingdom where all who are thirsty find life in the water.
Written by Jessica Bazan '17