A typical Saturday night turned into one of beauty and praise as women entered the Finnegan Fieldhouse for the annual BeLoved Event at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2.
This night, titled “Dare to Love Greatly,” began with Mass, followed by a student testimony, a talk from a keynote speaker and adoration with prayer teams and confession.
During the event, the Rev. Patrick Anderson said that the faithful need to know how greatly they are loved. Anderson reflected that even with repeating patterns of shameful sin, Jesus is still there in the midst of the darkest places.
To prepare the women to open up to Jesus even in dark times, Andrea Thomas, the keynote speaker for the night, drove home the importance of vulnerability during her talk. Women are so constantly focused on others that they don’t give others enough time to be filled, said Thomas, saying that women need to be like a vase and be filled to the point of over-flowing to be able to give to others.
Thomas described four stumbling blocks that prevent women from being vulnerable: comparing themselves to others, caring what other people think, being unwilling to own their own life and not trusting God’s timing. Thomas used the example of St. Joan of Arc as a role model, explaining that the saint kept her eyes forward on the Lord instead of looking to her left and right to see what other saints were doing to reach holiness.
Quoting the beatitude “Blessed are you when they persecute you for my sake,” Thomas told the women to expect criticism and to move past caring about what other people think. “If you stand for anything … expect criticism. Expect people not to like you,” said Thomas, “However, God provides all, and at some point, we have to choose whose gaze we care about more.”
Combining the blocks of being unwilling to own one’s life and not trusting God’s timing, Thomas explained that the fear of failure is usually what causes the person to stumble. She reminded the women, with a quote from Pope Benedict XVI, that they were made for greatness and not for comfort. All that God wants is for us to do the next right thing, said Thomas.
Emphasizing vulnerability, senior Molly McManus gave her testimony of how God worked through her struggle with her chaotic home and her coping with the aftermath. Once past, she learned to heal spiritually through prayer. Although she continues to struggle, she holds on to the hope and love of God. “Nothing can touch a love like that,” said McManus.
Freshman Kaitlyn Baker expressed the importance of the night’s talks. “The concept of being vulnerable stuck out to me. It’s something that I’ve never been comfortable with,” she said. “I think that it’s definitely a feeling I need to work on.”
The BeLoved event was hosted by Women’s Ministry. The next Women’s Ministry event is a praise and worship night in Christ the King Chapel at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13.