Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Orientation Through Elizabeth's Eyes
It's Elizabeth. Yep, was convinced I was traveling to D.C. on Monday to go to a baseball game...and here I am, two days later with a blue Missionaries sweatshirt on, gearing up for a summer of bringing the Theology of the Body to the streets.
Let me back this bus up a second...Know that all this past year I declared that I'd needed to spend the summer finding a job and the like. When I came here to D.C. for the baseball game (Astros v. Nationals, Astros kicked you-know-what), I met everyone who's part of the Missionaries and was just so immediately impressed with the whole crew. It's like God's dream team of young adults. I found myself thinking, "It would be so much fun to travel with these people this summer..."
I'm not sure how it's all going to work out though. I do need to find a job for September (pray for me!) Since I'm from New England, I have in mind to just bop around to interviews and then bop back to the Missionaries. This would be a great time to be able to bi-locate! I am at so much peace with this group of people though. I know that if it weren't right to do this at this time in my life, God wouldn't allow me to have such peace.
* * * Today we covered so much ground. After having a great training session amongst ourselves, we headed out to downtown D.C. to evangelize on the street as well as allow for some professional pictures to be taken. There were several people who affirmed our message while waiting in their cars at red lights (we held signs that has slogans such as "Self control NOT Birth Control".) As well, I met three guys from Boston who were really intriqued by what we were doing. Basically, these guys walked by us all and gave us this super strange look. I noticed though that one was wearing a Boston Red Socks cap and another a Boston t-shirt with a green shamrock on the front. I called out to them, "Hey are you from Massachusetts?!" The rest was history. A few of us Missionaries and the three guys chatted for quite some time. Turns out they are pro-life, practicing Catholics. They've promised to pray for us!
After such a positive interaction, it was startling to meet a man who was quite angry with us. He screamed at us about how we were personally very horrible for staging our opinions in public. I pointed out that we have the right to peacefully assemble as well as the right to free speech. He acknowledged this, but also, without hesitating, screamed that we were pushing our morality on him. Calmly, we pointed out that he too, was pushing his morality on us. This confrontation escalated quite quickly from this point. He looked at a sign and mocked, "Lust kills, love fulfills?! Lust doesn't kill! AIDS kills!" We pointed out that the act that spreads AIDS must be addressed for AIDS to even begin to receed. Quite emotionally, he confessed some personal information about himself. As he stuck the earpieces to his IPOD back into his ears, he yelled to us that he'd pray for us. We reciprocated in earnest that we would pray for him as well.
I LOVE BEING CATHOLIC! Ahhh! I feel at home with these people. It's like vacation. Except that people tell you off on the street. It's just such an authentic life experience to be 100% engaged, day in an day out, in doing your best spiritually, intellectually, and physically, to change the cultural and moral make-up of the country. I find myself realizing, "I have the best life ever."
On that note, I am in absolute disbelief over tomorrow's agenda. We are going to be trained by Christopher West! This is a man who has broken down the Wednesday audiences of Pope John Paul II's, that occured between 1979-1984. The talks have culminated in what is now known as the "Theology of the Body." In West's words, "The Theology of the Body is the antidote to the Culture of Death, and the theological foundation for the new evangelization." Now, I know that sounds like craziness. In future blogs, hopefully I'll be able to exolain more about this. All I know now is that West's ability to break down these teachings has greatly influenced so many people who are very close to me. As well, it has really be integral to my own understanding of God and sexuality.
There were several points this past year that I would sit back and think, "Ya know, it would just be so great to be trained by Christopher West. That would be the life." I would even wake up early and grab one of his books, take it out to the porch of my apartment with a cup of tea, and read it, despite other academic obligations. So today when I realized that TOMORROW I'M GOING TO CHRISTOPHER WEST'S HOUSE, it became so clear that God really does know me. I never even prayed, "God, I want to meet West." It was more of just wishful thinking.
Well, my eyes are shutting and it's not even 11pm. Who know's what tomorrow may bring. I am so excited!
Who we are?
Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.
We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.