One of the most notable memories I have experienced this volunteer year is the priestly ordination of a young Augustinian friar. The ordination was performed by a local auxiliary bishop named Bishop Robert Barron. Bishop Barron, famous for his work with Word on Fire Ministries on YouTube, shared a profound insight in his homily that I continue to reflect on. He mentioned that all people, not just priests and religious, must hold their spiritual well-being as a vital portion of one’s daily life. His recommendation was to take a holy hour everyday and discern where the Lord may be calling you.
Having previously lived in a seminary house of formation, I was aware of the importance of prayer, but these words resonated with me for one particular reason: my year of service must be guided by my life of prayer. One of the questions I’ve often heard is, “What distinguishes your work from the work of other volunteers or a secular organization?” After discerning and considering the question a bit deeper, I have come to realize that my work is centered on bringing others into a fuller relationship with God.
In St. Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians, he shares, “…always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (5:15-18). As I work remotely with Merrimack College, I am continuing to discover new ways of bringing God’s goodness to those I serve. Whether I am trying to bring some light-hearted joy to the students of the Hands to Help program or promote a holiday gift card drive for the troubled youth of the Key Program, I am constantly finding new ways of bringing goodness in the world during a pandemic plagued year.
As I prepare to enter into the second half of my service year, I am continuing to find ways to grow in my prayer life and allow God to work through me in every project I take on. By allowing His influence to guide me, I believe I am doing God’s work through my year of service with the Augustinian Volunteers.
Ventura, CA 2020-2021