You know to be honest I feel like I’ve been on vacation for the past three weeks. Between Spring Break, Orlando, Holy Week, Easter and various other days off coinciding with he feeling of the semester winding down, it’s hard to motivate myself to do anything! I guess it also has to do with the fact that we haven’t been planning any events lately because of all the various goings-on. As lazy of a three weeks it’s been, it’s also been very refreshing and of course Easter brings with it a renewed feeling of beauty and love for Christ.
Easter is actually the first thing I would like to talk about. Lately I’ve been meditating a lot on the Church’s two biggest seasons: Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter. I guess it started when I was driving to Orlando and I saw a sign outside a Christian church that read “Remember! Lent is Spring Training for Christmas!” That got me think about the feelings and ideals we associate with the holidays. When you think Christmas, what comes to mind? Warmth, love, giving, peace on earth and good will towards men? When it comes down to it, Christmas is about Joy. The pure joy that our Savior, Jesus Christ, is born. The Joy that he has finally come to save us. The thought of that little family away in a manger on that faithful night fills us up with love and joy. So if Christmas is about joy, then what is Easter about? One word: Hope.
Lent is a long period of fasting and deep prayer. At the end comes Easter. When the Lord suffered and died on a cross for us. With that comes the hope that he has died for our sins. With his resurrection he gives us the hope of our redemption. Dying Jesus destroyed our spiritual death and rising from the grave he restored our life and makes all things new. To me everything about Easter just screams Hope. Hope for the mercy of God and his everlasting, enduring love. Hope that through Jesus Christ we can one day be with God the way He intended us to be. I could go on for pages and pages talking about Easter and Hope but I just wanted to give some food for thought.
This was the first Easter away from home and while it was a little sad without my family, I did spend it with some beautiful people. I went to the Easter Vigil Mass Saturday evening. Nothing brings people together like a three hour mass! In all seriousness though it is truly one of the most beautiful masses of the year. It’s during the Easter Vigil that those seeking to become Catholic are baptized into the Church. It’s an amazing thing to witness and be a part of. It’s also one of the most crowded masses of the year and I was lucky to get a seat! After the mass the university put on the first annual “Resurrection Party” They brought in a ton of food, inflatables and live music for students to let loose and have some fun.
The party was fun but to be honest I had a better time afterward just having a beer with a few friends and talking about Jesus and life. Like I said before, Easter brings with it the feeling that Spring is really here and starts off a new chapter in the year all about hope and renewal. Oh! I forgot to mention that during Holy Week we had a very special visitor here at Ave Maria. It was my good friend and fellow missionary Mr. Chris Goulet. I met Chris over Summer Training and he was here to visit and spend Easter with his girlfriend who is a student at Ave.
Let me tell you, being here at Ave in the middle of nowhere it’s really easy to feel cut off from the rest of the world. It might sound weird but we definitely lose touch with the other missionaries and at some points totally forget about them. It’s SO nice when fellow missionaries come to visit because it reminds us that there’s others on other campuses trying to do the same work that we are. That’s how I felt about Chris coming! It was really really amazing to get to chat about how things are going on his campus and get a fresh perspective on how things are going here. It made me very excited for Summer Training! Only a month and a half to go!
On a more somber note, my car has officially made it’s way to the grave yard. May he rest in peace…or pieces. I made one final trip up to Orlando this past Thursday to fill out paperwork and collect my whopping $240. That was all I could get for scrapping it. But hey it’s something right? Without my car cabin fever is already settling in. I miss being able to get off campus whenever I wanted but once again I’m at the mercy of people with actual working cars.
But oh well. Life goes on I suppose. I am excited at the prospect of shopping for a new car. However I am going to wait to start shopping until I get home in the summer. Buying a new car is a pretty foreign concept to me and I want as much help and input as I can get from my family. It’s crazy to think that I’ll probably be heading home in a little less than a month! Better start looking for plane tickets!
This weekend has been a pretty relaxing one. Friday there was a showing of the movie “Interstellar” followed by Q & A with some Physics and Philosophy Professors. Talk about mind blowing. It was a great movie but I definitely think I’ll have to watch it a few more times to actually understand all of it. The whole event was put on by one of my Resident Assistants. Got to give him props because it was probably one of the better RA projects and everyone seemed to have a great time. I do take credit for kind of helping shop for snacks.
Yesterday was a fun filled experience. During the day there was a pool party at the Ave Maria Water Park. It was great to have a day in the water and I got my first sun burn of the year! Ouch. Finally last night was Ave’s annual Battle of the Bands! I have to say that it was really really fun. The four bands that competed were really talented and played some great music. Lots of people showed up and there was good food and a great atmosphere. With that Ave continues to impress me with the events it puts on.
And with that, I believe we are caught up to this very moment. The semester is slowly but also rapidly coming to a close. I still have not officially heard if I’ll being staying here next year but I have my fingers crossed and my hopes are high. I’m excited to head home over the summer and see all my friends and family. I’m even a tiny bit excited to do some fundraising. (never thought I’d ever say that) but I feel like this year has taught me a lot about trusting in God and knowing that he’s got my back puts a lot of my fears to rest. Must be all that Hope I was talking about. Prayers for me and the team and the students as we go into the rest of the semester are greatly appreciated! And don’t forget about all the Hope and Renewal that Easter has brought us 🙂