Today was a rough day for me.
I have those once in a while, and I know all of you do as well. Let me give you a little background. One part of my amazing job is to coordinate student excursions to different parts of Europe. Right now the excursion I am coordinating is a Pilgrimage to Poland. It is a very intense and beautiful trip, however the prep work for it is extremely detailed. You have to keep in mind the transportation, meals, Mass times, tour times, hotel check-in and check-out, and countless other things. On top of all that, the size of the group is around 200. That's right - 200 students. Anyways, I am finalizing the final details of this trip, but yet there are so many things left to do, and on top of that the other aspects of my job (such as disciplining and monitoring the student body) also has been taking a lot of my time. What all this means is that I have had no time for anything else :-P I am now finished complaining, and I will not do so for the rest of this blog. I say this, because I am greatful to the Lord that I can have a job like this. The Lord has blessed me so much this past year so I really should take these things with more grace.
Lord help me to do so.
But this is life, and this is the life of ministry. It is a life dedicated to service. I remember watching this movie. It was called, A Peaceful Warrior. In this movie a young, cocky, Olympian hopeful is taking an evening job and he runs across this guy working at the local gas station. The guy at the gas station begins to ask this young athlete a lot of questions that make him feel very insecure. "Why are you doing what you are doing?" "What good is it to make it to the Olympics?" "Isn't there more to life than just sports?" The young man asks, "Why do you work at a gas station if you are so wise?" The gas station worker responds, "I provide a service for people. There is no greater calling than that."
I always want to live my life in service. Most of all, I want to serve the Lord, and secondly, I want to serve mankind. There can be no greater calling in my life. Whenever I sit down to pray, I always ask the Lord the same question: "What do you want of me Lord?"
And His response is always the same: Serve me.
Just because I know the answer to what I am supposed to do with my life, in no way makes my life easier. It just means I have a goal. And with anything with a goal worth pursuing comes the struggle towards that goal. Furthermore, it is in the struggle that two things happen. The struggle becomes beautiful, in a way. For it is in the struggle of daily living in pursuit towards something greater that character is built. What is character you ask? It is that thing that you are when no one else is watching you. I love the definition of character in this way: You are what you are in the worst of situations and nothing more. The other thing that struggle does is that it helps you to appreciate the goal more. Struggle without a goal is unnecessary suffering. Struggle with a goal produces saints. I want that. Thank you Lord for today. Thank you Lord for the struggle. I praise you in this pain, for I know that You are my goal and my prize.
I want to leave you with a quote from Padre Pio:
"The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain."