A message from the Director of the Institute:
Before Lent, my morning workout on the elliptical usually included watching shows like How I Met Your Mother or The Goldbergs on Hulu. For Lent I decided to complement my physical workout with a spiritual one. Thank goodness for the Fr. Mike Schmitz videos courtesy of Ascension Presents on YouTube. Fr. Mike offers great insight and guidance on pretty much anything having to do with faith and the Catholic Church. The first few days of Lent I watched his videos that covered topics such as Ash Wednesday and Lent. Last Friday, I put Fr. Mike’s name in the YouTube search bar and lo and behold, this title from four months ago popped up: God is going to interrupt you.
The title tugged at my heart. The morning that I discovered the video was just days after the announcement that all NCAA sports were being suspended indefinitely and NCAA winter and spring championships were cancelled. My heart broke (and continues to break) for each student-athlete robbed of their season. I gave it a watch and boy am I sure glad I did.
Later that afternoon, I was scheduled to facilitate two leadership reflection workshops with some Neumann student-athletes. I decided to scrap the planned case study for the day and take a chance to see what reflection and discussion Fr. Mike’s video might inspire. Fr. Mike’s message encouraged viewers to view the interruptions in our lives, not as challenges to overcome, but instead as occasions for holiness.
I challenged my students to consider other words in addition to holiness. What is this “interruption” an occasion for in your life? Perhaps it is an occasion for leadership? Service? Good citizenry? Self-reflection? Self-improvement? The list goes on and on. I was inspired by my students and their responses. Understandably, they were struggling to even consider the “interruption” as an occasion for anything but being incredibly annoying and unfair, but after some gentle nudging, they did allow other perspectives to enter their heads and hearts.
So much has changed in one week. All college spring sports are now cancelled, and the remainder of the semester will be taught online. Each day since those workshops with students, I find myself going back to their insights as I struggle to manage my perspective on this “interruption.” Thankfully yesterday morning’s Lenten reflection from Dynamic Catholic offered a helpful perspective on St. Thomas (the infamous doubting apostle who would not believe the resurrected Jesus was real until his hands touched Jesus’ wounds): If we didn’t have doubts, there would be certainty and we would not need faith. If life is uncertain and doubts arise, then faith is needed. Doubts, therefore, are invitations to know God in a new way.
Lord, help us to see how this unprecedented “interruption” filled with challenges and uncertainty provides occasions to grow in faith and know ourselves, our loved ones and God in new and meaningful ways.