Monday, January 2, 2023

SEEK23 Day 1

 The SEEK23 Conference started with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm!  The opening Mass was held on Monday evening, beginning at 6pm.  Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski was the presider.  In his homily, he reminded all of us we are called to participate in salvation history.  We have an obligation and a responsibility to share the Gospel with those we encounter because the Gospel leads us to the fullness of Christ, which is something we should want for every person we meet.

Christ was born in order to suffer, die and rise for us. This is what we are called to share by the witness of our lives.  The saints of today, St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nazianzen, were companions who shared in facing the challenges of society in order to share by the witness of their lives.  They are exceptional role models we can look to as we move forward in faith.  

The talented musicians got more than 17000 people to their feet!  They were certainly able to get everyone prepared to hear the messages from the two keynote speakers:   Paul J. Kim and Chika Anyanwu

Paul J. Kim encouraged everyone to understand that to believe there is no objective truth, to only live your truth ultimately means you are living a lie.  You will become more oppressed than empowered.  He shared the great story of St. Augustine of Hippo, when he knew he was called to chasity, he just didn't want to embrace it yet.  Over time, though, he made sure that the people he surrounded himself with were Godly people who helped him embrace what he was called to.  He was able to seek beyond his own desire for pleasure, his own sins, to reach the Lord.

Next, he challenged everyone to understand what they were seeking.  People attending college are not just there, typically, because they enjoy taking classes.  There is a deeper and greater "why".  We need to look for that "why" in everything we do.

Finally, he reminded everyone in the arena that Saint Pope John Paul II, who had presided over Mass in that same arena some 20 years before, said "man cannot live without love.  He remains an incomprehensible being."  As he concluded, what we are seeking has a name, and it is Jesus, and he was seeking you before you sought him.

This was a great dovetail into the conversation led by Chika Anyanwau.  Her strong message was the Lord is wildly, passionately, jealousy in love with *you*.  The God of the universe, the Creator, knew the world need a *you* and *you* were created.  

She also reminded us that we say things we would never, ever say to a baby.  The reality is, though, we are each a beloved child of God, and no child, regardless of age, should be spoken to by anyone in a way that will hurt their spirit, and that anyone includes ourselves.

She encouraged us to "listen for the Master's voice" because the Lord is calling us.  He desires a relationship with each of us.  Our dignity and worth is not our grades or our job.  We are each enough right where we are.  As we sit with the Lord and build our relationship with he, he wants us to mature, grow and do better, but we need to recognize we are loved where we are now.

As she concluded, she quoted from Isaiah 43 "I have called you by name and you are mine."  She encouraged us to remember we are each precious, God sees us, knows us, loves us, holds us and wants to be in a relationship with us.

It was a great start to the Conference!  Please pray for our students who are attending, that they are able to ponder all of these things in their hearts as they grow their relationship with the Lord.

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