Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Undeniable Attraction of Pure Catholic Life

Newly Baptized and Received into the Church This Past Easter
Everyone is fighting. Citizens, athletes, members of the Church. If you frequent social media, everybody is arguing about . . . everything    . . . and accusing their opponents of the same things for which they themselves are guilty. 

Here's what I'd like to offer:

Whenever we have a visitor at daily Mass at the BU Catholic Center, I like to watch their surprised reaction when, after I impart the final blessing, all of the students kneel down and spend time in thanksgiving. Nobody has ever cajoled them into doing that.  It's something that's just become natural to them. Some stay for a few minutes and some stay for twenty. It's beautiful to witness. The quiet, stillness, and devotion of those moments is like an oasis.

Today before Mass, I sat on a stone bench outside of the University Chapel because someone asked me to hear his confession. (For Sunday Mass we use the interdenominational chapel, so there is no confessional). As soon as one person noticed that I was hearing a confession, a line of students formed.  It's kind of beautiful to sit there as people pass by. Whether they believe in the power of the sacraments or not, whether they believe in God or not, these passers by cannot but help be struck by the scene.

After every Sunday Mass, I am always impressed by how the students wait in a long line to shake hands with me and to say hello. How did they become so polite, friendly, and mature?  Beautiful.

There is a small group of students who come to the Catholic Center every Sunday evening and make sandwiches for the homeless. Then they go out to the streets and deliver them. It's not a soup kitchen. They don't feed thousands.  They feed a few. 

When you're a preacher, you know whether or not people are paying attention! I'm always amazed and grateful that the students are so attentive during Mass. Actually, in this present culture, I'm amazed that they are at Mass at all. I'm even impressed that a lot of them dress up each week for Mass. 

The students at the BU Catholic Center love each other. And, they reach out to others--not to make their numbers bigger, but to welcome others into the joy of the Catholic life. 

Today after Mass, a student asked me to bless a crucifix that he bought for his room for when he prays. Let that sink in. In today's day and age, there is a graduate student at a very secular university who went out to buy a crucifix and had a priest bless it because he wants to pray in his room.

They are simple things, but there is a purity about them. They do not solve all of the fighting and anger that surrounds us, but they remind me of what is true, and good, and beautiful. These encounters and moments, in their simplicity and purity are REAL.

What saves me are these moments. So, I thought by sharing them, that they might awaken within you a deeper gratitude and hope and a desire to live like this, and not be swept into the constant current of anger and noise.

Amid all of the noise of the world, on a bench on a college campus, students bless themselves and say, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned." This quiet, humble, and pure prayer is far greater than everything that has been or ever will be posted on Facebook or Twitter.

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