A wonderful event for the Catholic community happened this past week in San Antonio, Texas. The Fellowship of Catholic University Students hosted the SEEK 2017 conference with nearly 14,000 Catholic college students in attendance. As these students travel back to their respective college campuses the mission imparted by the various speakers and events will be fresh in their minds. Follow Christ. Give Him your life. Become saints. SEEK succeeds where other Catholic events do not: setting a manageable mission.
Too often at retreats, youth conferences, and world youth days, the experience is capped off by an exhortation to greatness. We leave these events feeling inspired to become the next John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Thomas More, Peter, or Paul. These are not bad aspirations, but often the end result get’s confused for the actual journey. The journey to sanctity rarely ends in worldly fame. Sanctity is not always about influence and worldly power. It’s about our daily struggles, challenges, interactions, and how we respond to them. Curtis Martin, the president of FOCUS, is blessed to be leading his large organization. More than that, he is blessed with the foresight that while some of the 14,000 attendees will experience worldly success and influence, most will not. In his final keynote, Mr. Martin calls on attendees to focus on two things: living in divine intimacy and sharing that divine intimacy with others. Every day our choices must be consciously made to lead us closer to Christ. Think Therese of Lisieux and her “little way”. Living with Christ brings one a joy that is greater than worldly fame. Like John Paul II, make every encounter an encounter with God. Mr. Martin’s main point comes to this: if we share our joyful faith with those in our lives, and encourage them to share theirs, the Church can change the world. The Body of Christ is more powerful than any one of its members, and working together nothing seems out of reach.
When we return from something like SEEK, let’s prepare for a marathon, not a sprint.
See the full keynote below.