Shortly after I was born, my parents had me baptized into the Roman Catholic faith. I attended Valley Catholic Elementary and Middle School, and Jesuit Portland for high school. My senior year I decided to continue pursuing a Jesuit education at Gonzaga University.
Needless to say I have had a spiritual part of my life since birth. School masses were part of my weekly routine, and I even participated in St. Juan Diego’s children’s choir during middle school. Every high school retreat I signed up to participate in and instead of going to study hall, I chose to attend Friday liturgies.
During my sophomore year of high school, I joined St. Juan Diego’s youth group and started the Confirmation process. When I first began attending Confirmation class, I struggled. I felt distant from God and did not support several of the beliefs of the Catholic church and was unsure if I believed in God anymore.
I stopped praying every day, I rarely attended mass outside of those offered at school, and I was angry at God for my personal problems. I did not feel He was present in my life anymore.
Junior and senior year, I rediscovered my relationship with Him. I led my class on a 13 mile pilgrimage, and led juniors on a weekend of love for one’s self and God. Being a leader on these spiritual retreats opened my eyes and made me realize God had been walking with me throughout the difficult times.
God has been an integral part of my life, even during the moments I did not see Him as clearly. I came to Gonzaga excited to continue growing in my faith and relationship with God. However, yet again, I found myself drifting from Him and putting less and less effort into our relationship every day. I used the poor excuse, “I’m just too busy”.
Throughout my spiritual journey I have found two Bible verses that resonate with me:
“Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8
Lent is a time for self-reflection, repentance, and improving your relationship with God. This year for Lent I have made a promise to myself to work on my spiritual life by praying every day, attending mass/services and putting more faith and trust in God. I enter into this sacred time of year in the Catholic Church open to growth in my relationship with God and my faith.
This can be a time of personal reflection for anyone, no matter your religious affiliation, or lack thereof. If you’ve never participated in Lent before, try it out this year! It doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite food or candy, but instead try to find meaningful ways to reflect or connect with yourself or God. Plus, you can do anything for 40 days!