I have a really good friend who, in my opinion, understands what it means to be bold.
My dear friend, Nicole, is a truly remarkable young Catholic. She was raised in a Catholic household and had public schooling through college. While she was at the university, she developed a close group of Protestant friends and found great community, spiritual growth, and accountability with them. She attended church with them and remained connected to Christ throughout college. (This is not an uncommon scenario for many Southern Catholics, as they are generally in the minority in their faith throughout their life.)
Though Nicole never stopped attending Mass, she came to a realization that though her Protestant friends were great and had helped her in her faith journey, what she really needed and was desiring was close CATHOLIC friends who understood her ever deepening love for the Mass and the Sacraments.
However, she found, like many young Catholics, that our parish didn’t provide a young adult community and what was available in the diocese wasn’t exactly a fit for her. And, so she prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit on where to find community.
The first time Nicole and I ever met was after Mass one evening. I had seen her around, but had never spoken with her. She unabashedly walked right up to me, introduced herself, and proceeded to tell me that she had seen me and Josh for awhile at Mass and that she felt like the Holy Spirit had been pushing her to come speak to us and meet her new Catholic friends.
Obviously, I was taken a little by surprise! It’s pretty random for someone to tell you that they think you’re supposed to be friends. But, Nicole is such a joyful, sincere, beautiful person that I didn’t see how she could possibly be wrong! And, guess what? She was right. We were meant to be friends. We have since become close and our relationship literally sprung from our shared experience at the Eucharistic table.
As a result of meeting us, Nicole met lots of other young Catholics who were friends of ours. She also became even bolder in reaching out to people in our parish and has gotten very involved and made lots of Catholic friends of various ages!
Have you ever heard the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? I don’t know if Nicole had ever heard that before, but she certainly implemented it in her life!
We can’t just sit around and hope that God “magically” makes the desires of our hearts become a reality. If the desires we have are God-centered, like Nicole’s desire for young Catholic community, He is not going to deny us. But, if all we do is sit around and wait, without putting forth any effort, we’ll probably be just that – sitting and waiting, assuming that God is ignoring us.
The truth is the Lord never ignores us and will give us the help and guidance we need to do things that will build up His kingdom if we would just trust Him and pay attention to the ways that He is nudging us forward.
So, to young adults looking for Catholic community or anyone looking for a specific ministry or group that you aren’t finding in your parish or city, instead of looking around for someone to “get things done”, maybe you need to look in the mirror. Perhaps God is calling you to be like Nicole – bold and brave.
Maybe that desire burning in your heart is God’s call to you, to fill a gap in His Church.
Maybe God is pointing out to you someone who needs your friendship as much as you need theirs.
Maybe the desire for a support group or ministry is the same as someone else’s and God is trying to connect the two of you.
As Christ tells us, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Lk. 10:2) The laborers aren’t someone else – they are me and you.
In what ways is God calling us to be bold? What “field” does God need us to harvest for Him? Perhaps this Lent is a good time to meditate on this and we’ll find an answer in the glory of the Resurrection!