Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Friends in the Upper Room

My favorite hour of the week happens every Monday night from 7:30-8:30.  Our small chapel at the Newman House is filled with thirty or so university students.  They remove all of the chairs and kneel or sit on the floor.  It is an hour when they adore Jesus in the the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  It is awesome.

They sing and then they spend time in silence.  Some pray their beads.  Some read their bibles.  Some kneel the entire time.  Some spend the whole time looking intensely at the Host.  Some stay for the full hour and some can only stay for a little while.

I stay in the back and as I look around, I am moved by the beautiful thing that is happening between these young people and Jesus.  These young men and women are really something.  Imagine how much is being shared in this moment between them and Christ!  Firstly, Christ is sharing with them His tenderness.  In the midst of all that is happening in their lives, Christ is there and is present to them.  

And what about their lives?  Imagine how much these young men and women must be sharing with Christ in these moments together.  Some are conversing with Christ about their vocation in life.  Some are certainly struggling with family issues, moral issues, the stress of academic life, relationships, and concerns about future debt and employment.  But, these struggles and questions are not the entirety of their lives.  They are also in a friendship with God.  They are there to draw closer to Him.  They are there to pour out their hearts to him.  It really is beautiful.

These young people are intelligent and capable.  They're funny and clever.  (They crack me up). They're busy and committed.  They're enjoyable and normal.  (I will deny all of this when they use these words against me).  

I am also moved by the fact that they are interested in everything else as well.  The Newman House is not some place to escape from the rest of the culture.  They are interested in everything.  They talk (perhaps "debate" is a better word) about everything: food, music, art, movies, technology, sports.  They are people who are interested in reality.  And, they are interested in the heart of all reality: God.  They're easy to love.  

The New Evangelization is always about closeness.  It began when the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  It continues in the life of the Church where its members live a friendship together.  Every Monday night, I spend an hour gathered in an upper room with some young people whom Jesus has gathered around Himself.  The New Evangelization began with closeness.  It continues that way.  Every Monday night, Jesus continues to evangelize me by returning to the upper room and gathering with his friends.

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