SEEK began with the celebration of the Mass like I had never experienced before. Here’s a description of not only the first, but every single Mass at the weeklong FOCUS (fellowship of catholic university students) conference in San Antonio.
Music begins to play as the priests (yes, I said priests, 216 to be exact!) begin to walk down the isle. The opening procession takes at least 15 min because that’s the amount of time needed to process in every priest, deacon and at least six archbishops. There were easily more priests concelebrating that one mass than I have met in my entire lifetime! Mass is easily an hour and a half long but no one seems to care because of the beauty of the Eucharist. I don’t know all of the theology behind the liturgy but I do know that when the priest held up Jesus and said, “Behold, behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” at that moment myself and over 13,000 other Catholics confirmed our belief that Jesus was and is truly present in that piece of bread. This was only the first hour of SEEK and I was already so excited to experience the rest of it.
It’s hard to really sum up my entire experience in one blog post so I’ll just give you a few highlights. Although the speakers were incredible and I could go on and on about how I was in the same room as Father Mike Schmitz, something draws at my heart to focus on how even in the midst of 13,000 of my brothers and sisters in Christ, the experience was such a personal one with Jesus. It absolutely blows my mind to think even though we attended the same talks and we participated in the same activities, we walked away with 13,000 different and unique experiences. The love God has for us, the deep knowledge of our hearts combined with His great desire to bring us JOY is the reason for these unique experiences. God delights in giving us the desires of our hearts because He is the one who places these desires in the first place.
The week before SEEK I was unsure of what to expect or what I was hoping to get out of it. For me, I can only describe it as time of sitting and resting with the One who knows me better than anyone else. It was a week of allowing Jesus to love me through the beauty of the Catholic Church.
“Be not afraid to tell Jesus that you love Him.” –St. Theres of Lisieux
Knowing my experience was completely different than any other person impacted me the most. How blessed are we to have someone who loves us so perfectly? How blessed am I to be Catholic and be able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist every day? Jesus wants to give us these personal experiences by growing in a relationship with him. All we have to do is SEEK Him.