Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Hello my brothers and sisters,
Today, upon exiting the library here at school, a woman asked me what my major was and of course I said "theology". She said "oh" and scurried along with her rolling camo backpack. At first I was a little confused but that quickly turned to a thought train about choice, which naturally lead to further affirmation of the fact that God loves us.
Why? How did this question lead to such a profound truth?
I thought about my major, how I had chosen it, and how I am experiencing such joy through my major. I had many options and I very well could have chosen to be a biology major and spend countless hours in the science building or become a computer science major and adopted carpel tunnel syndrome along with perpetual bloodshot eyes. But I didn't. I chose to be a theology major.
Now I firmly believe that each person has a vocation and that if you listen, God will call you to your vocation, but you have to choose. It takes personal commitment to the will of God in order to discover this vocation and through multiple environmental factors, I have come to realize that God wants me to be happy. He loves me. He has created me with a purpose.
So what can you do with this?
1. Take time to think about your strengths and weaknesses. How do your strengths and weaknesses reveal God's will for you?
2. Praise God for the gift of our free will! What a beauty it is to have such opportunity at our fingertips.
More to come soon. I'm learning a whole bunch of new subject material here at school and I can't wait to apply it to my search for ministry. I'm taking a class called Human Growth and Development in which I have to do 10 hours of field experience in a classroom so stay posted for some great stories.
Posted by Matt Merry at 12:34 AM
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I'm sitting here thinking about all the many wonderful things I've learned during my internship this summer and reflecting on some of the joys of summer ministry. Besides donuts, one of the blessings of having an internship at a church with a school attached is that I get to see little polo clad youngsters being introduced to the beauty of the Mass.
Today, Mass was held in the gym with the majority of the St. Mary Magdalene School. They ranged from first grade through eighth, from the front of the gym all the way to the back. There were so many youth receiving the Body and Blood of our Savior and it almost brought tears to my eyes. I was filled with oodles of joy by the little ones learning how to cross their arms to receive a blessing up to the older kids starting their day with the most awesome supernatural food you can receive. Praise God for this gift of the Eucharist!!! After the Mass I learned that bracelets are somehow related to circuses. I'm not sure how that works out but I'm sure it's important nonetheless.
A small group of volunteer teens, loaded up on donuts and coffee, went into a small storage room and created an assembly line of joy (wounded arms and all). We knocked out moving supplies from one side of the building to the other in a matter of minutes, all with a smile.
What's the point of this morning's stories you may ask?
The message Christ proclaims, "to love one another as I have loved you", comes with a side dish of abundant joy! Tasks that seems mundane and dreary become meaningful and lighthearted. Sitting on a gym floor becomes a spiritual refill for the soul. Moving individual water bottles becomes a fulcrum of laughter. The Lord has given us joy for the journey. He said it would be hard, but he also said that "[we] can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us]" (Philippians 4:13). He also said that like a Father would not deny his children, when you ask, you will receive. Ask God for that joy when you're having a tough day. God will grant you grace for the journey, for whatever task you are undertaking. Like my friend Adam Trufant likes to say (because Br. Edward gave him the idea), ask God "can I borrow your smile".
Everyone's talking bout the wars and the weather but I don't wanna be down
Can I borrow your smile?
God bless you!
Posted by Matt Merry at 2:58 PM
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Good afternoon fellow members of the Body of Christ!
As most of you know, I have felt the call to youth ministry in my life. I've been blessed with some pretty awesome opportunities recently and hopefully God will continue to bless me. Will you walk with me on my journey?
During my college career I've constantly been reminded of my vocation and God has pounded me over the head with something many times. When you're a computer analyst, you need to know computers and all the intricacies of the system you're working on or your client will figure out you don't know what you're talking about when their system breaks down. When you're an architect, you had better know what kind of trusses and supports best hold up the roof you're designing or there's gonna be a catastrophe down the road. It's about the skills you know and how you apply them to the situation.
As far as ministry goes, teens are looking for hope. They're looking for someone to show them that this Truth they've been promised through the Word of God can actually do something in the world. They want to be loved. That's why when you're in ministry, you had better be striving to live in the Truth and to "be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). You are the lighthouse that supports the beacon of Christ calling out to the distressed shipwrecks of high school drama in the distance. You are the hands and feet of Christ.
Together, we are THE BODY. Let us remember to pray for each other and strive to be saints.
Peace be with you,
Posted by Matt Merry at 3:41 PM
Sunday, August 9, 2009
This weekend I went on a Core team retreat in Tiger, Georgia at a Life Teen camp called Covecrest. I got to go down early so I could go through a brand new McDonalds that has computers for kids at their tables but doesn't take cash, get called an old lady at the House of Luck because apparently only old people order Shrimp Chow Mein, and find out that Chicken sandwiches, in fact, contain chicken. I had a great time with my boss Liz Sams while getting ready for the retreat. We swam in waterfalls, prayed for a fully functional McDonald's, and found out goats can be found on the roof waiting for abduction.
On a more serious note, God is awesome! I learned so much about myself and about the wonderful adults that are willing to give up their time to serve the youth of the nation. I learned that God uses the meek and the lowly to perform the most powerful deeds on earth and that the sun can remind us of the Son and of his overpowering grace that embraces our souls and warms our hearts. Our speaker Todd Lemieux did a magnificent job of reminding us that we are called to sainthood and that we are not of this world. We are not called to live in the world but amongst it and to strive towards a rightly ordered relationship with Christ. God, family, friends, ministry. Priorities show us where our heart is.
Moses ascended to the mountain to receive the commands of God. Our Lord ascended to the mountain to pray to our God. During this past weekend, I ascended the mountain be washed clean and picked up for God's ministry. We are all called to love God through our vocation. Praise God for the vocation He has given me and for all my loving friends that support ministry. Have a blessed week my friends. Remember, you are made in the image and likeness of God! Rejoice! Amen
Posted by Matt Merry at 9:39 PM
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
It's been quite some time since my last blog and I'm going to make it a point to be more frequent in my posts. Here's an update. I finished up summer school at the Abbey on a good note and began an internship at St. Mary Magdalene with Liz Sams as a youth ministry intern. I'm learning so much! I feel more and more called to my vocation every day and I'm so happy God has called me to this. I've worked on planning curriculum for the high school and middle school youth groups as well as developing a few retreats for middle school, high school, and for the adult volunteers. Tomorrow I'm heading to Covecrest, a Lifeteen retreat center in Georgia and I'm super pumped about it! I went on a weeklong retreat in 2006 at Covecrest and with its waterfalls, mountains, lake, and fields, Covecrest is a beautiful campus that will surely lead to contemplation with the blessings of the Holy Spirit. Please keep the group in your prayers this weekend. I attended a Theology of the Body conference last Friday and heard some great talks by Colin MacIver. He was such an enthusiastic, motivated speaker. Another great resource is Jeff Cavins' DVD set called "The Bible Timeline: The Story of Salvation" put out by Ascension Press. It's a beautiful Bible study that breaks the Bible down into 12 time periods and makes it easy to make sense of the collection of sacred texts we call the Bible. Hopefully I'll be able to blog a little bit about some of the great stuff I'm learning soon. You're in my prayers. God bless.
Posted by Matt Merry at 5:37 PM