This past December, I was blessed with opportunity to speak on and attend the annual high school retreat at Camp Roger in Rockford. I had reached out to Corey Luna for some spiritual guidance the winter after I had graduated that allowed me to dive back into my faith. We had discussed my coming to help on a retreat briefly, so when Corey invited me on the retreat it was an easy “yes” for me. I knew that I wanted to dive back into my faith and this was a great starting point. Speaking on the retreat was quite intimidating since I had never shared my testimony to such a large audience. I challenged the high schoolers to quit making excuses and take ownership of their faith. As we grow and mature, there are going to be more challenges and obstacles that try to lead us astray. As this happens, we need to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord because ultimately, His plan is far better than ours.
While on the retreat, I was able to help lead a small group, give my testimony and connect with the youth of our community. It is amazing how seeing others who are filled with the Lord affects you in a contagious way. Seeing the kids full of faith sparked my own desire for the Lord to turn into a full flame. I gave my talk on taking ownership of my faith. Once I did that, it created a chain effect that dipped into all aspects of my life. My relationships strengthened, I found peace in difficult situations and joy in sad ones; overall, I was genuinely happy. While some say that a smile is contagious, I think a strong faith is. Surrounding yourself with others who will lift you up in times of struggle and hold you accountable for your shortcomings will truly make a difference. The kids on the retreat as well as myself, were able to surround ourselves with others who can help build us up. What touched me the most from this retreat was during our time of adoration. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the retreat, the kids, my family, our church, our community, and so much more. My eyes were opened to the realization that many things that we seek throughout our lives, companionship, purpose, love…it can all be found in the church.
I challenge you to do something with your faith. Make the choice to take ownership of your faith and form a relationship with God. It can all start with a small prayer. Catholic author Dr. Peter Kreeft once said, “I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of our prayers to God make, and all the people those little prayers were destined to affect…we would be so in awe that we would be unable to get up off our knees for the rest of our lives.” There are also many opportunities in our parish and local community to grow in your faith; holy hours, week day masses, confession, talks, and more. Do one extra thing to help you grow in your faith today, whether you have a strong relationship with God or not, you will be amazed in the blessings He will pour out upon you. God Bless.