All posts tagged: young adult formation

Notre Dame Vision: Reality Imagined

Reality ignites our imaginations more than possibility does. We can imagine amazing things but only when we first look at what is real and in front of us. Reality reveals possibility, and that is what Notre Dame Vision did to me. My mom is indefatigably resourceful. She looked up opportunities I never would have bothered to find. My junior year of high school, she found a retreat at Notre Dame and sent me the website’s promotional video. Being a high school boy, I watched it while inhaling dinner. I was sold. I was less sold on Notre Dame the institution. My college search had been unexciting. Though I was going to Vision, one thing was certain: Notre Dame was not Catholic enough. Two days at Vision ended that illusion and Vision turned out to be pivotal for my faith. That summer poured gasoline all over the flame I’d received at Confirmation that year. It introduced me to the prayer attributed to St. Teresa of Ávila, “Christ has no body now but yours,” a prayer that …

Notre Dame Vision and the Miraculous Unlikely

Our God is an unlikely one. I mean this not as an ontological argument (which would be above my pay grade) but as a small observation. To us, the small and the lost, the workings of our God can only rarely seem miraculous, and even when we can perceive them, these miracles of the everyday, it is frequently only possible to do so through that most powerful of lenses, hindsight. In the moment, as they are lived, they instead seem to be merely unlikely. As a twenty-year-old sophomore at Notre Dame, I thought myself to be an unlikely fit for a program like Notre Dame Vision. I knew only a few people who had worked for the program, and while they were wonderful people, this was, perhaps counterintuitively, at the root of my concerns. These people were wonderful, and I was not. My interests and my future lay outside what I perceived to be the confines of a vocational summer retreat for high school students. But I, the unlikely counselor, applied and was perhaps unexpectedly …

Speaking to the Heart

“I want a mess. I want to see the Church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools, or structures. We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel. It is not enough simply to open the door in welcome, but we must go out through that door to seek and meet the people! Let us courageously look to pastoral needs, beginning on the outskirts, with those who are farthest away. Go and look for them in the nooks and crannies of the streets.” —Pope Francis, World Youth Day Address (2013) Pope Francis wants a mess. He urges us to get out of our parishes and take the Gospel to the streets. While this call to evangelization has rung out from the Church throughout the centuries, it cuts especially to the heart now. This is because “more Americans today than in the past are not remaining in the …

Autobiography of a Small Haven

I was born on Day 3 of the universe. (I don’t have a birth certificate but you can check Genesis 1:1-2:3 to verify). I watched as God lovingly drew all of my parts together: a crystalline lake, a cluster of trees, some lovely assorted pebbles, and my favorite part, a soft patch of cushy soil right in the center. That was my favorite part because I knew that if a human one day happened upon me, they could sit on my soil patch, be enclosed by my trees, and look out onto the lake. I was so excited when God whispered to me that one day, one of his loves would love him right in me. He told me that I would be a haven for someone, and his beauty made me beautiful. (I would tell you that I am the best, most perfectly picturesque spot on the whole lake, too, but his humility made me humble). 4.54 billion years into my existence (not that I was counting or anything), humans were a-bustling about my …