The Eagle Eye

Are you there God? It’s me, Lauren

I never knew what it meant to be a Catholic until now.

Lauren Kesic, Staff Writer

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"You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (John 4:4)

Emma Adams
“You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (John 4:4)

I look over to my friend Courtney, a little confused as to what’s going on. There are 110 teenagers sitting on the floor of a dimly lit room with candles spread about. Soft acoustic Gospel songs and singing from three servant leaders commence the two hours of adoration and reflection. Several prayer stations are set up for the kids who are “ready”…but what does that mean?

“Court, what are we supposed to be doing?” I ask.

She shrugs her shoulders and lowers her head, so I do the same in hopes of answering my own question — which I do.

I never understood people when they said things like, “In that moment I felt God rushing over me” or “He spoke to me.” Maybe it was just because I didn’t care about their personal experiences or perhaps it’s the fact that I took God for granted. I admit, I always thought being a devoted Catholic was a little weird for kids our age. But once I submerged myself into the singing and self-reflection, it took all of five minutes before “I felt God rushing over me.”

I bowed my head just like everyone else and had this overwhelming sensation that I was missing something greater in my life. I started to think of all the times my family had forced me to go to Sunday Mass and all the moans and groans that escaped me during the car rides to early morning Confirmation class. As I reminisced about my bad attitude, it hit me so hard that one million tissues couldn’t stop me from having my revelation: I needed God.

Being that this was my first Church retreat, I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary. Sure I had this small notion that I’d come back feeling revived, but I had no clue what God had in store for me. I was convinced that He had given up on me since I labelled myself a sinner for things like not paying attention during school prayers, cussing at the person who cut me off on Antonio and disrespecting my parents. But thankfully He didn’t, because God forgives everyone — even the teenagers who don’t believe they deserve His love.

Tears poured down my face as I sobbed about my lack of faith and my jealousy towards the servant leaders who were so passionate about theirs. I had spent 16 years waiting for God to turn my life around, stop all the bad things from happening to me and make things better, when really God was the one waiting for me. So I opened up my heart and embraced the fact that I am a weak Catholic who has finally found her Savior.

Before I knew it, I was singing along to the Gospel songs while rocking back and forth and wiping tears from my puffy eyes. Enlightenment and assurance came over me and in that time I knew I was ready to be prayed for. Two girls in a prayer pod rested their hands upon my shoulders and blessed me for having the courage to connect with God and find that relationship I had secretly been searching for. There was nothing more powerful and enlivening than their honest and zealous words.

Going to a Catholic high school never once made me think twice about my faith. I get distracted during prayer, I dread going to Mass and I find Religion to be just another class I have to sit through. But not anymore. After realizing how reluctant I was to accept God into my life, I came to the conclusion that I, along with many other “Catholic school students”, disregard the awesomeness of attending a sanctuary where God resides in everything.

I used to walk through campus without any connection to the dedicated statues or the sacred chapel that’s stationed at the heart of our school, but now I walk by and think of all the inspiring moments I had on my retreat and how I was able to accept God and find myself with the help of the servant leaders.

To me, being a Catholic is as cool as it gets right now. I’ve never been more proud to be a part of my church and I’ve never had more pride in being an SMCHS Eagle. Even though school is stressful, I fight with my parents, and life just seems too much to handle at times, it’s safe to say I now have someone I can completely rely on. God has always been there for me at times when I was too ignorant to acknowledge His love and presence, but letting Him in my life seems to be better late than never.

There was always an idea in the back of my head hinting that God’s hand was reaching out for me and that little idea soon became reality when I chose to grab it and embrace His love and affection for me. It took me 16 years to change my perspective on my faith and who I am as a person but that time I spent lost in search of a greater presence in my life will never amount to the relationship I have with God now. I used to think it was too late to get close to God when in fact that doubt is what kept me from meeting Him. It’s never too late to open your heart and mind to God. And once you do, I’ll be there with a box of Kleenex tissues eager to comfort and support you.

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