MCMULLIN: Don’t miss out on God’s grace

April 10, 2018

Right in the middle of our Lenten season is Spring Break for students at the University of Houston and across Texas.
As a population that suffers from FOMO (the fear of missing out) and strives to live out YOLO (you only live once), many young people use these times to get all the fun or trouble they can out of one week.

Having Spring Break fall in the middle of Lent offers an opportunity for college students to choose freely who they will serve: themselves or others.

Alternative Spring Breaks have become another option for students who are looking to get away from it all while also giving back. The idea is to use the week of Spring Break and the resources that would be used to go to Las Vegas or even just home towards ways to help others in need.

This year we took a group of students for Spring Break week to Beaumont to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery through Operation Blessing. The days started early; we were slept in cramped quarters, showered in trailers and the work was hard. However, it was worth it. As with any time that we give more of ourselves to the Lord, we are met with his abundance of grace and mercy.

One of the main graces from this week was to be part of the Body of Christ through witness and service each day. Being a member of the Body of Christ involves service. Each student came to serve or because he or she felt that there was an invitation from God to come.

Though we planned on reaching out to others and making things better for them in some way, we don’t always plan on being served. This took place in the way the Operation Blessing staff truly saw to welcome and include everyone and in how CDR, a Mennonite community outreach, served all homemade meals with graciousness and joy. For college students, food equals love and comfort.

In addition, being a member of the Body of Christ means that we each have a job to do, and we need to work together. What is important is that what needs to get done, gets done. Some of us cleaned, others painted, a few groups just spent time with homeowners while some groups gutted out homes.

Being a member of the Body of Christ also looks different for different people. We are not the same, and in this way, we can come together as the hands and feet of Christ. This week, we spent time with fellow college student groups from all over the country representing all different beliefs.

When a member of the Body of Christ is hurt and needs help, it is important for the other members to come together to make the Body whole again. We have the opportunity to choose what to do with our time. This week lives were changed; both those serving and those being served. It is unpredictable, but it happens.

It is true that we only live once. To waste our time and miss out on these opportunities and this kind of transformation would, indeed, be something of that should cause us fear.

Claire McMullin is the campus minister of the Catholic Newman Center at the University of Houston.