This week's post comes from Anthony Cecil, who recently
completed a college internship with Saint Meinrad's "One Bread, One
Cup" program. Tony originally posted this on his blog, "Be Not Afraid: My Journey through
At the beginning of the summer, I planned on posting often about
what was going on at my summer job.
...Yeah, that didn't happen.
But, now I'm in the final leg of my journey here, and I figured
it was worth it to take some time and reflect on everything that I
A little over six weeks ago, 20 college students from nine
different states, representing 13 different colleges and
universities, gathered on a hill in the middle of nowhere. They had
been chosen from among many to call - of all places - a monastery
their summer home.
Although they were all different, and didn't really know that
much about one another, they all had two things in common. First
and foremost, they shared a passion. This passion was for many
things - for Christ, for His Church, and in a very special way, for
the worship of God through the liturgy.
The other thing they shared was a love. This love was for a
particular group of people who are so often forgotten. The
youth of the Church. They all believed that the youth weren't just
the future of the Church, but the Church now - a key part of the
Body of Christ. They all had a burning desire to share the passion
they all had with these young people, in hopes that they, too, may
come to a deeper love of Christ and His Church.
As far as the community bonding - well, that didn't take long.
They clicked. They understood one another, and they understood what
their mission was. Then it came time for formation.
When they weren't praying, playing outside, or making an
occasional run to the Wal-Mart or the Dairy Barn, they were in the
classroom, learning the skills they would need to share their
passion for the Church with the youth that would climb this hill.
They learned Theological Reflection, Liturgy, Pastoral Care,
Boundaries, Benedictine Values, among other things.
Then, the time finally came. The youth arrived for the first
conference, and the work began at full force. They arrived the
first day, and it was awkward. They nailed singing for the first
Mass, but they still weren't a community, that is until Steve
Angrisano worked his magic.
Over the course of five days, amazing things happened. They
learned how they encountered the Word of God in their lives. They
learned how an ancient form of monastic prayer is still relevant to
them today. They learned why the Church has sacraments - what
they are, what they do, and why they're important.
They not only learned about, but experienced the forgiveness of
God in the Sacrament of Penance. They learned that the Church is
not only about Word and Sacrament, but by virtue of our Baptism, by
our identity as a follower of Christ, they share in the Mission of
Then, day five came, and they learned that it's up to them to
live the promise. Amongst all of that, they learned how to take
active roles in the different liturgies of the Church. They were
formed into lectors, servers, preachers for the Liturgy of the
Hours, artists, extraordinary ministers, instrumentalists, cantors
- the list goes on and on.
And finally, at the end of every day, they had the opportunity
to form a smaller community, one in which they could reflect on
where they saw God working in their lives, what they were learning,
and how they can take what they've learned and put it into
Sounds beautiful, right? It really was. And the best part was
this - we got to do it two more times!
Over the course of these six weeks, we have formed a close-knit
community of faith. Thanks to that community, the almost 300 people
who climbed this hill this summer to take part in this program
experienced something amazing. When they left, they were different
from when they came. We don't know if the seeds we planted will
bear fruit, but I personally believe that they will, because I've
both heard about it and have seen it myself.
Now, however, the time has come for this community. Six weeks
have gone by quickly, and soon, we will leave this holy place that
we've called home. We will go our separate ways. Yes, it is sad,
but it needs to happen.
Someone pointed this out to me - in Scripture, it says that
unless a grain of wheat falls and dies, it remains only a grain of
wheat. No fruit can come from it. If we stay on this hill in this
community forever, we can't share the gifts that we've learned we
have, and the talents that we've developed.
We, too, have learned so much about the Word and Sacraments of
the Church, and we, too, have a Mission. Our mission is to let the
light we have received shine so brightly in our lives that all
around us may see. Our mission is to be Christ to everyone we meet,
and seek out Christ in them, and our mission is to keep the passion
we have alive and well, so that others may come to know Christ
Although soon we will go back to our nine different states and
13 different colleges, we don't have to say goodbye. We believe
that we will always be together. We know that
each and every time we gather around the table of the Lord - each
and every time we receive His Body and Blood in the Eucharist -we
are one body and one spirit in Him.
And the best part is that nothing - no state lines, no career
paths - absolutely nothing can change that. That's the beauty of
our faith, and that's the beauty of this community.
Living at Saint Meinrad and being an intern for the "One Bread,
One Cup" program has truly been one of the highest honors of my
life. I feel blessed to have even been chosen for my first
internship, and even more blessed to have been asked to come
I believe that this program truly is a gift to not only the
Church, but to the world - because it changes people. It helps
people realize that although it may be difficult, seeking God in a
world full of so many distractions is, in fact, possible.
It teaches people that no matter what we've done, no matter how
unforgiveable we think we are, God is always there, waiting to
forgive, and waiting to love. It teaches people that our worship of
God in the context of the liturgy isn't just some ancient practice,
but it's something that's living, and it's something that we must
do our best to be active in, and spread our love of it to
And at least in my opinion, most especially, it teaches the
youth that they matter. It teaches them that they are worth more
than a dumbed-down version of their faith. It teaches them how
important they are and what a difference they can make in their
community, in the Church, and in the world - all flowing from their
love of Christ.
I'm sad to leave, but I feel like I've made my mark, and it's
time for someone else to come along and make theirs. I am confident
that the youth I have worked with are going to do remarkable
things, but it's up to us to stop doubting them and let them do it.
It's up to us to let go of our own wants, our own desires, our own
plans, and most especially our own opinions, and step back and let
God do His work, that in all things, He may be glorified.