Those students who use this blog as a procrastination technique had a disappointing week this week, as I didn’t post during finals when procrastination is needed the most. The reason I didn’t write much is simple busy-ness. I was in a great production at Boston College featuring alumni who work in the arts and current students. We had an open dress for students who wanted to come on Friday night, and then last night was the ticketed benefit. As I was standing back stage waiting to make my entrance while the students sang and the band played, I got goosebumps as I realized that I was doing exactly what I wanted to do and that I was exactly where I wanted to be. I have worked so hard to improve as a performer, and I am so lucky not only to have opportunities to perform, but to have the perspective to appreciate my opportunities.
On a slightly different note, tonight was the last mass out at BC with my darling choir. I remember when I was growing up it was very cool to say “I don’t believe I need to go to Church, I just like to go out to the woods to pray”. I was pretty skeptical that those people ever actually went out in the woods, but I think I also was starting to have an inkling that faith is not just about us and God, but about us and us. I knew that I found God my family, but that was so normal that it almost seemed like cheating, and I didn’t feel like I could make the argument that you need others to encounter God without some stronger evidence.
I no longer have much of an interest in making any arguments, but I have a little more evidence toward my initial thesis. Worshipping with the community at Boston College brings me closer to God. I have people there who know me, and I see the students there live their faith every day in a way that educates me. They walk the walk when we leave liturgy, and in my limited time that I am on campus I am able to see that. We come together in love every week, and I believe more strongly in God’s grace because I hear their testimony to it.
It’s hard to find that these days, especially for Catholics. Parishes are not always the neighborhood centers they used to be, and it is easy for us to gather for worship not as a new Body but as collection of isolated islands, still bearing our burdens alone. On the occasions that I imagine what it was like for the early church (I probably do that more than most people, but still not so often that it’s too weird), I visualize personalities coming together. It’s not that these people decided to start a Church because they were all best friends, but because the power of their experience of Christ bound them to each other. Their shared experience made the challenges of being together and loving each other worth bearing. Their community was not about being happy or liking each other, not about power or eloquence (or even music) but about fellowship in the Risen Christ.
The point of this rambling? I experience God’s grace through the community to whom I purportedly minister. I am fortunate and I am grateful.