Article by Eddie O’Brien, class of 2017:
“For dust you are and to dust you will return.” Well, what does this mean? Much like the beloved Kellenberg Firebird, we were created from dust and given new life – rebirth. Through God, we are bestowed with renewal from sin and regret and are brought to new light and forgiveness. The ashes, put upon our foreheads in the sign of the cross, remind us that we are to rise up and soar in our faith much like the firebird in the sky. God wants us to learn to be examples of faith for others and ourselves. Lent is a time to spiritually renew ourselves by getting closer to God, and by getting closer to God, we are walking by the faith. Walking the faith is very easy to find being done at Kellenberg. By being surrounded with loving teachers, amazing faith guides, and an environment of love, faith, and rebirth, we are shown the keys to improving and deepening our faith experiences.
The Freshman Retreat Program this year is inspired by Pope Francis telling us to go out into the world and be courageous. Don’t be afraid to return to the Lord, to let go of the things that hold you back from going further with your faith, to proclaim your faith, or to open yourself to the love and forgiveness of God and others. Life is like walking on a beach. We walk by faith, and faith is as wide and deep as the ocean beside the shore that we look out upon with wonder and awe. The sand is life, our life. As you walk along the wet sand, you leave behind your footprints, a part of you. The most important thing to do in life is to leave your mark on the world. Courage is not fighting the enemy, but loving them even when they hurt you. Courage is not putting yourself in danger, but stepping out of the mainstream and doing what you know is right, even if you might be judged for doing so. Courage is telling people you love them, forgiving them when they seek forgiveness, and you asking for forgiveness when you need it. Leaving your mark on the world does not always mean drastically changing it, but rather showing random acts of love and kindness always and to those who need them most. Your footprint in the world probably will not be in books or movies, but it will remain in the hearts of those that you touched. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou. Your mark is an unselfish action. Your action will become a mark of love, and love never leaves us, even when one goes. Love is the unbreakable bond.
This Lent, walk by your faith, be courageous, and leave your mark, your footprint in the sand. Show the world and the people around you what it means to rise from the ashes and soar like a firebird, a Roman Catholic. Show the world how to take up your cross and follow Jesus. Walk with Jesus as He made His way to His death. Leave the world stunned and touched like we are by what Jesus did. Look at Jesus – He died for us, an unselfish action. He showed love and forgiveness, just like we are called and reminded to do. Jesus did all this to help the world. He left a mark, and we are still talking about it 2,000 years later. You could be like Jesus – do good deeds, and your mark might be that big…you never know how far a good action actually goes.
Lent is not always about giving something up…it’s a time to improve and become aware. The ashes on our foreheads remind us to rise up to the occasion and grow closer to God. Improve your faith, your relationship with God, the one who created us from the dust, who gave us rebirth. Make Lent your time to see who is making a mark in your life, and if you are in another’s. Notice if you are being courageous in your faith and life of renewal. See how close you are and how much further you have to walk by your faith to get there.