An entire senior class of local high school students recently had the opportunity to participate in a Life in the Spirit seminar, thanks to the inspiration and action of one of their fellow students.
The student, from Father Gabriel Richard in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was inspired by her own participation in a local celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. She went back to her school and proposed that the whole senior class be given an opportunity, during school time, to go through a Life in the Spirit Seminar, where they would be offered the opportunity to commit their lives more fully to Jesus and pray for a release of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
To her and everyone’s amazement, the administration and faculty agreed, even to the point of giving up class time so this could happen. I was privileged to give the final session of the seminar, and about ninety-five seniors were there for the conclusion. Many graces were poured out.
What lesson can we draw from this? Step out, launch out into the deep, and follow the inspirations the Holy Spirit give us!
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a mission trip to Mexico City. Both of my parents and my two older siblings had gone and I expected it to be a life-changing experience. But I couldn’t anticipate the way that my heart would be broken out of love for each person I encountered and how these encounters would change my outlook on my life.
We spent three days in the garbage dump, where thousands of people live and work every day, and from the first moment when I gave Giovanni a “caballito” (a piggy back ride), I experienced total freedom to love and be loved. These people have none of the things we often value as most important—money, homes, possessions, important careers, or status. Yet I have never experienced such rich and radical love as they welcomed each of us into their lives with loving, open arms. I never once worried about what I looked like or if I was saying the right thing, which I often worry about at home. These people just loved me, and despite their horrific conditions, they exuded pure joy and thoughtfulness. The way that these people love broke my heart, because although they have nothing, they love with a generosity and lavishness, while I who have much more, often love less.