2 weeks ago I took a trip with some Catholic Student Ministries friends down to Indianapolis, where the SEEK 2019 conference was held by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students).
Here are some things I learned along the way.
Try New Things
This conference was very new to me. When my friend invited me to go, I told her I would think about it. Although the thought of seeing Fr. Mike Schmitz and NEEDTOBREATHE live intrigued me, I was nervous I wouldn’t enjoy it. But God had other plans. From playing Heads Up while in an hour long line at Panera to watching dozens of priests crowd the aisle to celebrate mass, it exceeded my expectations. Everyday was packed with encouraging talks about our lives as Catholics, our church, and ourselves. I was also able to spend time with almost everyone in the group, whether it was attending a talk together or chatting at dinner. Step out of your comfort zone. You might be surprised where God leads you.
How to Pray the Mass Like Never Before by Fr. Mike Schmitz
Growing up and going to church was always routine for me. I related when Fr. Mike said attending mass usually turns into us watching the mass. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Fr. Mike said the heart of religion is worship, and the heart of worship is sacrifice. So, every time we attend mass, we should be sacrificing. He said when we are baptized, we become kingdom priests. Whenever we watch the mass, we are wasting our priesthood. I learned most of the participation takes place before Communion. When the priest says “this is my sacrifice and yours” remember you are a kingdom priest. When he holds up the Eucharist and presents the body and blood of Christ, know the sacrifice is completed. When the priest says “through Him and with Him and in Him” and the congregation says the “great amen”, it is the moment of sacrifice. Jesus loves us more than we can ever imagine. We need to show Him we love Him back. Fr. Mike said you can’t love someone if you’re not willing to sacrifice for them.
Fearless – The Power of Praying Over Others by Fr. Mathias Thelen
Among the unbelievable stories Fr. Mathias told us about his experience praying for people, he gave us concrete steps on how to pray for others. First, find the prayer need. Ask, what do you want Jesus to do for you? Second, pray with them. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into their need and ask the Lord what he wants to say. Wait. Third, interview and pray more. Ask them what is going on that they would like to bring to Jesus? Fourth, close in thanksgiving. He said we need to be bold, step out (of our comfort zone) and keep on loving people.
I heard so much good news that week, I couldn’t possibly put all of it into words. Here are a few quotes I captured that I’m trying to implement into my own life.
“Christ is calling you out of your tomb – ignore the lies, do not listen to fear and rise with Christ. Christ calls you to be fully alive.” – Leah Darrow
“God has given you everything you need to become the saint He calls you to be.” – Lisa Cotter
“There is nothing Christ can’t redeem because He died for us and was vulnerable.” – Sr. Mariam James
“Trust in God and He will take everything. Go to Mary if you get lost and she will show you charity, prayer, obedience, faith, wisdom, (and) purity.” – Sarah Swafford
“God answers prayers in 3 distinct ways – yes, no, (and) not now.” – Paul J. Kim
“Heaven is joy and part (of that) is found in confession.” – Sr. Bethany Madonna
“Make time for prayer, make a place for prayer, (and) have courage to listen.” – Jason Evert
“Mature, resilient Catholic women (have) to embrace the reality that life is hard and realize there is meaning in the moment even when you don’t understand it. God needs (you) to be able to go through hardships (to) make (you) the person (you) are. Resilient faith can go through anything.” – Fr. Mike Schmitz
“Joy is an unstoppable force. The happiness you are looking for and have a right to enjoy has a name and a face, it is Jesus of Nazareth.” – Chris Stefanick
For more talks, visit FOCUS Catholic on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CF7GpW8rNQ&list=PLRv8sNa7ZzCkbsvN-2f29RzbNrJKxQSML