This morning, the street where the BU Catholic Center is located was filled with students moving out for the summer. Another academic year has come to its conclusion. I arrived at BU this morning and met the young man who is our intern, and he and I had Mass together. After that, I had lunch with a recent graduate from BU who is now in the seminary.
Later in the day, after I left the Catholic Center, I allowed myself to get dragged into a nonsensical conversation about politics. While I know that politics are an important part of life, the conversation made me--once again--realize why I am happy at the BU Catholic Center. It's because I get to spend my whole day being real and talking about things that actually matter. We spend our lives together engaging in meaningful conversations about what is good, true, and beautiful. We talk about God, about vocations, about the Church, about virtue, about holiness, about what it means to be fully human. We talk about the struggle to overcome sin and the desire to grow in virtue. I get to spend life with young people who are not cynical, who are not interested in rehashing tired old political slogans. They don't think politics are the answer to every problem.
Instead, these young people want to talk about prayer, grace, holiness, and charity. When we converse with each other, the desire is to help each other to come to a deeper love for the Truth; a deeper love for the Lord. Conversations at the BU Catholic Center are real. They are often filled with the humor of people who love one another. The conversations arise from a communion of life. We pray together, worship together, hang out together, and love together. Our life is about serious things. It's joyful. It's a life that revolves around the sacraments. Together, we talk to God and we talk about God.
One of the great graces of being a priest at the BU Catholic Center is that there is no ideology. It's all about loving God together and announcing to others that same love. It's joyful. It's real. It's something that makes your soul expand and your humanity deepen. What strikes me about the young people at the BU Catholic Center is that their starting point is the love of God. They don't use the Gospel or theology simply as arrows in their political quiver. They love God and that is where they begin.
Today, I engaged in a few conversations. Two were about God, the sacraments, friendship, the priesthood, vocations, and prayer. The other was about politics. From the first two I walked away recognizing that I was more human and closer to God as a result. From the the latter, I walked away feeling smaller, more petty, bored, and more distant from the Lord.
In the months ahead, political conversations will dominate the airwaves. Allowing them to dominate our lives would be a mistake. Yes, political discussions are important, but they are rarely edifying or sanctifying.
This year at the BU Catholic Center:
A young woman who is graduating will give a couple of year's service as a FOCUS Missionary.
Another young woman who is graduation will be going to NET Ministries as a missionary.
Our intern who graduated last year and who has given a year of service to our community will be entering the seminary.
A young man who graduates this year will be giving a year of service to our community next year.
A couple of our members emailed students who are moving out for the summer and asked them to donate extra clothes to the poor (offering to come and pick the clothes up from their dorms).
Scores of students attended Bible Studies during the course of this year.
Scores of students attended retreats and formation evenings throughout the year.
Scores of students went to confession frequently, attended daily Mass, did Holy Hours before the Blessed Sacrament, and came to spiritual direction throughout the year.
Many other amazing things happened during the year. Young people loving God, drawing closer to Jesus Christ, and sharing the Gospel with others. So beautiful. My point? I'd rather talk about those things, be engaged in those things, and be lifted up by those things than to waste my life talking about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Talking about God and helping one another love God is infinitely more interesting, humanizing, and divinizing than regurgitating tired, old, ideological, political slogans.
Political banter--like talk shows--is mostly nonsense and boring. I am grateful--very grateful--that I spend the vast majority of my life surrounded by men and women who engage me in conversations that are truly edifying and truly uplifting. Today, I was engaged in various conversations. Some had to do with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Republicans, Democrats, liberals, and conservatives. The other conversations had to do with Jesus Christ, prayer, vocations, the Church, and holiness. The former left me feeling less human, less alive, and discouraged. The latter left me feeling holier, built up, and encouraged. When given the opportunity to talk about Jesus Christ or Hillary and Donald: Choose Jesus Christ. That's my advice and I'm sticking with it.