How often have we complained lately about campus life? I don’t know about you, but I know that I myself, as well as the people I hang out with, have said something along these lines quite frequently: “This event is scheduled for next week –– if we’re even here next week.” “I don’t want to do finals.” “Gosh, I hope we get sent home. I don’t want to be here anymore.”
But what a gift it is to be here! In just this past week, we have seen Exc!te’s Footloose Country Night, LOJ’s belly-shaking “Top Gun” performance and a conference on evolution and Catholic thought. We live a life of abundance here –– academic, spiritual and recreational –– and not one of scarcity or draught.
But I also get it. Senioritis is hitting me hard, and I’m only a junior.
I keep going back to my household verse, Romans 12:10-15 — a passage that can teach anyone how to be a faithful Christian. The lines, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in trial, persevere in prayer,” remind me of the podcast recently started by the Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, and Bob Rice: “They That Hope.”
When explaining the title of the podcast during the first episode, Pivonka defines hope: “Our hope has to be in the Lord. … We encounter him, which brings us a sense of peace. … But if it’s not in the Lord, it will bring us to a place of disappointment, ultimately. … Hope is not merely wishful thinking.”
According to Pivonka’s definition, hope is not just wishing we won’t be sent home early so I can spend more time with my friends before they graduate, and it’s not wishing I could go home early and take a break from stressing out about finals. My hope is that the Lord will continue to pull me and all of us through this semester.
And, as Pivonka points out, “hope does not disappoint,” for the Holy Spirit is the one who guarantees Christ’s love for us. He has proven himself faithful, and we won’t be left bereft or paddling in a flood without a board to cling to.
I recently prayed a surrender novena, which holds so many beautiful lessons about what surrender to the Lord should look like in our lives. It’s not just asking God to take care of what we want to happen or turning our worrying into a prayer, although it is good to bring all of our emotion to the Lord, including fear.
But here is a quote from the novena that I’ve been reflecting on lately:
“In pain you pray for me to act, but that I act in the way you want. You do not turn to me, instead, you want me to adapt to your ideas.”
Instead of praying for the Lord to take care of “it” — whether “it” is for the semester to end early, or to last until May 13, or for us to get that summer internship or for that guy to finally notice us in class — what if we actually surrendered our lives and all the circumstances to the Lord so he could take care of us as we truly need?
The King of Love our Shepherd truly is, and he will not leave us wandering the rocky mountains on our own if only we do what seems best in every moment and let him take care of the rest.