As the end of the first half of ministry is seen on the horizon, we reflect on what the Lord has provided for us and blessed us with over the past few months. Being able to stay in retreat centers, see Mount Rushmore, hike up mountain trails, go Cajun dancing the the Deep South, and try new foods like fried alligator has been incredible. However, the greatest moments are the moments that remind us, “This is why I devoted a year to the Lord.” In the past week the Lord has unexpectedly granted us the blessing to be able to see some of the fruits of our ministry. Most of the time we arrive at a parish or school, put on a retreat, and depart about 6 hours later. The unfortunate part of our ministry is not being able to stay with the youth and help them continue to grow in their faith. Recently, during our times on retreat, we have been able to see God tangibly working in retreatants’ hearts.
On a retreat here in Texas, we were in a time of prayer ministry and things were going seemingly normal. The youth were spread out throughout the church, quietly praying, and we had prayer stations set up in the back. As we were interceding for the youth to be able to know God and experience Him in a new way, one of the youth got up and went in front of the tabernacle and started to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. We were surprised but so thrilled at the same time to see this, and in just a few minutes more and more youth got up to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Mother. Moments like this are few and far between, but being able to see God working in these youths’ lives gives us the extra push to continue with zeal for the next few weeks.
Some of the youth have expressed this on Share Your NET Experience forms at the end of their retreat:
“It helped me realize to love myself, because I would always beat myself up for the way I looked and this NET retreat showed me how God loves me no matter what I look like.”
“Before this retreat I felt distant from the Lord. Now I have a connection I never knew I had before.”
Even simple responses like the following encourage us in our ministry:
“I saw Jesus today.”
While traveling the country, we as a team have seen and experienced so many different things, but we are constantly reminded that we are only instruments that are played by God. Without the Holy Trinity’s help we are only simple people who have no purpose. We give glory to God each day and remind ourselves that every breath we take is supplied by God, who grants us that breath to continue to do this ministry. Being on the road has given us so much perspective on who God is and what He wants to do in our lives. It is a blessing to be able to learn that lesson this year on NET, but this isn’t the peak of our spiritual lives; rather He has showed us that it is just the beginning.
Going back home in a few weeks might look scary and daunting to us, as most of us have changed from the person we were when we arrived at training on August 16th, but we are excited to bring back home everything we have learned over these past few months. Yes, things might look different and we might have to make changes to the way we live our lives, but that’s a sacrifice we are willing to make in order to grow in holiness and, God willing, achieve Sainthood one day.
Lord God, thank you for the blessings that you pour out upon us each day. For the gift of life and the ability to wake up each day knowing that you will use us as vessels to reach all the people around us. May we continue to strive to become more like you and less of ourselves. Prepare our hearts to receive you. Help us to prepare for your coming at the end of this Advent season, but most importantly, for you to come into our lives in a new way. Help us and teach us to glorify you in everything that we say and do. Memento Mori. Amen.