A pair of green argyle socks changed the course of my life.
After the first Mass of my freshmen year, there was an ice cream social. A nice, female student came up to me and said, "Nice socks." Thus began a friendship that changed my life.
In our journey of faith, we can often point to big moments in our lives as the turning points. For instance, when we experience an intense moment of prayer, or a friend comes to our aid in a time of great need. It is, however, often the moments of simple kindness from a stranger that are just as important. We never know when the big moments will present themselves. We hope and pray we are ready to respond with love when they come.
On a daily basis, we are provided countless opportunities to strengthen ourselves and, even, change the lives of others with our love and kindness. It's the "Hello" to a stranger, the kind word after Mass to the person sitting next to you, the simple invitation to a Small Group that changes the course of a life. Sometimes a person comes into my life and gives me exactly what I need when I didn't even know I was looking for it.
This week, our small groups and service groups start as does regularly scheduled Eucharistic Adoration. On September 7-8, we will have the Freshmen Connection retreat. Wherever you think God might be calling you, you should go. It just might change your life.
Who is Jesus Christ? Why should I care about Him or the Catholic Church? Aren't the only ones at these events people with nothing better to do anyway?
Like many of you, I asked these questions when I went to college. When I went to the first Mass on campus, I was greeted by friendly faces who were eager to invite me to join this or that ministry, to go on retreat, to share a meal. As nice and earnest as they all were, weren't the guys and gals at the party on Friday night offering me similar opportunities with much less guilt attached? Couldn't I happily co-exist in both worlds without fully committing?
With everything that has transpired in the Church these past few weeks -- from the allegations levied against Cardinal McCarrick to the horrifying Pennsylvania grand jury report -- maybe you are questioning whether you should even stay in the Church at all. I don't blame you.
You have a decision to make: How are you going to define your life and your relationship with Christ and His Church? It's a difficult decision and I'm obviously not an objective bystander. I do know, however, each one of you is made for something more, something greater, something eternal, something world-changing. I also know, no matter the decisions you make, I and a growing number of your Hoosier Catholic brothers and sisters will be here for you, ready, willing, and able to walk with you, to listen, to love you.
In a time of chaos and crisis in our world and even in our Church, more and more Hoosier Catholics are making the choice for Christ, for His Church, for more. I pray and hope each of you will join them.
Fr. Patrick is a Dominican priest and the Campus Minister.