This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Monday of the First Week of Lent
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Jesus said to his disciples: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”
I just got off the phone with a brilliant young lady who is months away from graduating from college. She just can’t wait to graduate. “Seven more weeks!!!” she said. I wondered why she was so anxious to graduate? I was surprised by her answer: she is sick and tired of her college “friends.” She can’t deal with them anymore.
At first she didn’t want to talk about it. But eventually she did. And it was a real eye opener for me.
As a junior, she was nominated President of a very prestigious sorority on campus. What an honor, right? Well, not exactly. The school had recently threatened to close the sorority down due to gross behavior and negligence. Solely for legal reasons, the school was no longer going to turn a blind eye towards them. So they asked this junior, this Lone Ranger, to come to the rescue and take care of the problem. The girls made her President. Six months later, she did what she had to do and got the sorority back in good standing. She fixed them and the school’s mess.
You would think they (the girls and school) had learned their lesson. Think again.
The students on campus pretty much come from some of the wealthiest families in America. Nearly all of them are physically beautiful. Everything about them appears to be perfect: perfect teeth – white teeth; perfect nails – long nails; perfect bodies – starving bodies. Unfortunately, they all appear happy because most of them are on some sort of prescription medication for depression.
It’s amazing what poor decisions can do to someone’s psychology.
Many are addicted to hardcore illegal drugs (forget about marijuana). Nearly all of her friends have hooked up with multiple guys over the years. All of them drink and get drunk. You would think they were all a mess. Most are. They often throw up at parties, roll up in a ball or somehow manage to crawl across campus to her room and then cry themselves to sleep or talk all night about their ”problems” – not real problems, mind you – but more like social problems, such as why they can never please their boyfriend or why they just can’t ever be happy with themselves.
Almost all of them think their lives stink. Hard to believe, right?
When she first arrived at the school of her dreams, she considered herself to be the unluckiest person in the world. She grew up in a very modest home. Her family constantly struggled financially. There were no horses to attend to, except the stuffed ones, and no vacation homes to fly to. She thought of herself as the ugliest duckling on campus, even though she has received more marriage proposals then all her friends combined!
Growing up was no bed of roses, but somehow she always worked her way to the top, beating the odds and surprising everyone around her. This past summer, she received a job offer for a major company.
At the end of our conversation I told her I wished I was the campus chaplain at her school. I would get all her friends on the next flight to Haiti or the Philippines and get them to do some serious missionary work. I know they would love it. She told me the campus minister over there is not very helpful. He’s always sitting at his desk, waiting for students to drop by.
“That will be the day,” I said.
Mission work frees enslaved people from their self-absorbing and far too often self-destructive existence. Pope Francis is constantly calling on all Catholics to get out of their comfort zones and start sharing their lives and the Good News with others. When you give, you actually receive! The two go hand-in-hand. It is a mutually benefiting relationship.
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you… For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”
Lent is just like going on a mission trip, except it is missionary work on yourself. It is an exceptionally cheap way to get great results. (136)
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