These two experiences impacted me the most out of all of my service hours, because they taught me how to apply the teachings of Christ in my everyday life. In regards to my service through St. Vincent De Paul, I relate most to the Catholic Social Teaching of Rights and Responsibilities. Every person has a responsibility to help those less fortunate. Each of these people has a right to live, and we have a duty to help. If we do not take care of our responsibilities, we cannot prove our faith. James 2:14-18 says, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” I know that it is not enough to pray or go to church more often, but I need to act on my faith, because only then will it really be true. I need to fully commit to being Catholic, and all that comes with it. God doesn’t want these people to suffer; he trusts us to offer help and ease their pain and need.
The other act of service that really encouraged my faith journey was participating in the Alpha Retreat. I have consistently learned about the importance of spreading the word of Christ, and helping other people find their faith. There’s a common Catholic teaching that instructs us to spread the word of God, and help others grow in faith. Peter 4:10 states, “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace.” When I read this verse, I think of the gift of faith, and sharing that faith with others, helping them find God and embark on their own religious journey. I gave my time to nudge these freshmen in the right direction: towards God and their confirmation. Although I didn’t directly participate in discussions, hearing what they learned during the large group reflections made me realize that I played a role in their learning and understanding of their faith. God wants all of us to be steered towards his eternal love, but we cannot always do so on our own. Sometimes it takes a great deal of time or effort from other people to guide them. After receiving the gift of faith, we need to be God’s hands in giving this gift to others, because they may need him more than they know.
The idea of completely and officially becoming a member of the Catholic Church really excites me. This way, I will live in God’s love if I keep working towards improving my faith, and acting on it. To maintain a strong relationship with God, I will participate in as much service as possible, and engage in Peer while continuing to volunteer during all retreats and other events. I can’t wait to be completely immersed in my faith and be able to share it with others. Although acting on my faith is a large part of living it, I know I will need to improve my mindset to be closer to God. I will pray at least twice a day, and make sure to thank God at least once a day for everything he has given me, because I take it for granted sometimes. I’ll remind myself that I am truly blessed to be living, especially such a great life surrounded by loving friends and family. Praying more will also help me to consider God’s word when making any decision. We all choose things that will not necessarily further our relationship with God, but we’re only human. Keeping God’s teachings in the back of my head will provide a more concrete way of determining right from wrong, and then choosing the right thing to do. I’m excited to make a promise to myself and to God that I will pursue and act on my faith for the rest of my life.