I’ll never forget my first Lent as a Director of Youth Ministry.
Forty days came and went- Ash Wednesday liturgies and paraliturgies started at 10 AM and kept going every hour, on the hour, in three locations on the parish grounds. The Confirmation candidates were starting their ministry internships with twelve parish ministries that I had worked with to pilot this program alternative to service hours. The Young Adults were gathering on Wednesdays for a Bible Study that I was leading. The younger kids were all over the place, getting ready for First Reconciliation services. Some of the older teens and young adults were helping out with the Friday Soup, Stations, and Cinema sessions. Somewhere in the middle of all of this I took my first group of teens to the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Youth Day in Anaheim and then went back for the Religious Education Congress.
The next thing I knew it was Easter Sunday and I was at the parish wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, and semi-comatose for the Salubong procession at 4:00 AM.
By the time I got home that evening I’m pretty sure I left my cell phone in the freezer and got frustrated when my popsicle wasn’t sending the texts I was trying to send. I crawled into bed still in my work clothes, and the last thing I remember thinking before I went into hibernation was:
I want my Lent back.
How many of us go full speed ahead during Lent and don’t take the time to deepen our own relationship with Christ?
I know that we like to joke around about the insane hours that we keep- but remember, we cannot give what we don’t have, and burnout isn’t cute.
So here’s a possible solution- each day I’ll post a passage to read from the Bible and a short reflection. I invite you to take a few minutes each day to pause and spend some intentional time with Jesus.
For this first week, the theme is Vocation. Each of the readings this week tells the story of God inviting someone to mission and how each of them responded in their own unique way. As you read and reflect each day, think of your own call to mission and ministry. How were you called? How did you respond at first?
DAY ONE: SAMUEL
1 Samuel 3:1-18
Samuel appears to be a little slow on the uptake when God calls. He’s sleepy, then confused, then frustrated! It isn’t until Samuel’s mentor Eli steps in that Samuel is ready and able to answer with confidence: “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.”
Has anyone been an Eli figure for you? What did they do to help you make sense of your vocation to ministry?
Think back to your initial call to ministry. Did it take a few attempts before you were ready and able to answer like Samuel? What helped you during this time? What obstacles did you have to overcome?
That’s all for tonight- come back tomorrow, we’re going to spend some time with Elijah.