Most of my time this semester was spent in one of two places, in my apartment or in a church. The semester may have looked different, but my experiences were still life-giving and memorable. The Lord works in mysterious and good ways. A FOCUS Fervorino over the summer taught me about the transcendentals of truth, beauty, and goodness, which are qualities of God that we perceive in His creation. I believe I experienced parts of these during the semester. I learned more about the truth of who Jesus is, the beauty of the sacraments and the Church, and goodness of life with those we love.
Starting the day with daily mass or prayer reminded me of the truth, beauty, and goodness we have been created for. A FOCUS missionary and a friend have taught me a lot about the importance and power of prayer this semester. The way I have learned to be honest and consistent in prayer has established a daily habit that invites me into a deeper relationship with the Lord. This time of thanksgiving, reflection, praise, questions, and silence has brought peace and hope. Just set aside 10-15 minutes a day. It will change your life.
The extrovert in me loved Zoom and masked gatherings. As much as people may dislike Zoom calls, when it’s one of the only ways to see people I’m all for it. My semi-synchronous class schedule and internship shifts on Zoom put the structure into my day that I was lacking at the end of last semester. I appreciated my professor’s and supervisor’s dedication to bringing these virtual learning experiences to the comfort of my apartment. Through these interactions, I learned a positive attitude and allowing time to see how everyone is truly feeling goes a long way.
One of my favorite classes this semester was my journalism class! It was so much fun to create podcasts and write feature articles. I got to write about Catholics on Instagram, with interviews from one of my friends, a priest, and two FOCUS missionaries. I learned so much about the Church’s beauty and how it cannot be fully replicated online, only introduced. Jesus came to us in the flesh and we’re made to encounter Him personally (in prayer, at Church, in others, etc.) as well!
Another adventure I began this semester was leading a Bible study for some Catholic women on my campus. Months ago, I did not consider myself ready to lead others in the Catholic faith. But my friend gave me back the quote I had said to her before.
“God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” – Christine Caine
This semester I grew in friendship with these women and taught them about salvation history. We learned about the covenants God made with people in the Old Testament and the ways Jesus fulfilled them through His death and resurrection. This was the study I learned about when FOCUS missionaries first came to our campus. Back then, seeing the connection between the Old and New Testament blew my mind. Teaching it to others was just as impactful, as Jesus shared with me the ways He provides for each of us and is intentional in all things.
Getting to connect with others safely in person or virtually provided great joy in friendship. I got to know the new FOCUS missionaries better this semester through intentional conversations whether it was (socially distanced) at a bonfire, on hikes, after mass, or virtually. They have reminded me of my identity as a daughter of Christ, taught me how to pray, and shared how Christ has worked in their own lives. Weekly meetings with my friend has also helped me lead a Bible study, taught me more about God, and given us the opportunity to grow in virtuous friendship.
The introvert in me loved cozy nights in. Ending the day by chatting with my roommates over tea or watching Gilmore Girls was relaxing. Prioritizing the 10 minutes before bed to read a book that wasn’t considered homework has provided time to read books I enjoy!
Overall, this semester has given me joy. We were made for relationship with Him and others. Jesus answered my prayers in some amazing ways this semester and I am thankful for the patience and perseverance He provided me. I am grateful for all the ways my friends and family have poured into me this semester and showed me community. Praise God that He gives us a glimpse of the true, the good, and the beautiful.