Indianapolis was cold, am I right? I mean, this California girl had to wear a scarf for a legit reason…I was freezing! But what kept me warm was not the layers and down coat. It was the over 16,000 college Catholics who worshipped the Lord so powerfully—my chattering teeth stilled—and praised God in unison.
Keeping the Fire Alive after the SEEK Conference
If you are like me and returning from the FOCUS SEEK Conference and returning to your college campus for Spring semester, you are probably a bit exhausted from the early mornings (not the late nights, because you’re used the those). You might be questioning how you can keep the fire burning from SEEK. Well, let me offer a few suggestions, dear sisters, for making your college campus reminiscent of the fellowship and encounter you experienced with Christ and your peers in Indiana.
If you used to pray 10 minute a day, double that. Do you attend Mass on Sundays? Add a weekday Mass once or twice a week. If you would read Scripture on occasion, sign up for the Blessed is She daily devotionals and read the Word on a daily basis.
The point is to pray and invite the Lord into your daily life. Prayer is simply a conversation with God. So put down your phone and start a conversation with Him instead. Find time to be still and listen to God’s voice in return. Prayer is not a one-sided conversation. It requires that we talk and listen. So make time to eliminate all distractions and listen to the Lord’s voice in your life.
Enter into the Sacraments
I know what you are thinking: the Masses are just not the same at home and we don’t have Matt Maher and Need to Breathe at the church I attend. Duh! No one does. That is why we paid money to attend SEEK!
But do you know what we do have that is the same? You guessed it. The Sacraments. We have Reconciliation available to us daily. The Mass is available to us daily. We have the Word of God available to us daily. We have the Eucharist available to us daily in every tabernacle in every Catholic church. All we have to do is seek the Sacraments continually, so do just that. Seek out the Word made flesh regularly and remain in deep relationship with Him.
Share Your Experience
Everyone will be asking you how your winter break was when you return to campus. It would be easy to just talk about your time at home. But what if instead you shared beyond the Christmas gifts you received and people you reconnected with. What if you shared your experience of SEEK?
This is a great opportunity to evangelize your roommates, sorority sisters, friends, or classmates. Use your stories as an opportunity to invite them to attend Mass with you. Or start by asking them how you can pray for them. Do not be afraid to share you experience over coffee, lunch, or in your dorm. You might be the person to bring your brother or sister in Christ into relationship with Him.
Find Answers to Your Questions
You will have a lot of questions arise about the Catholic Church, or even God, when you start to open yourself to His will in your life. Be sure to seek out a spiritual mentor or director to help find answers to those questions.
Seek out your Campus Minister, FOCUS missionaries, religious sisters, brothers, or priests to be able to go beyond just what the Church teaches and find out why the Church teaches what she does. Do not be afraid to ask the questions that are preventing you from fully trusting in the Lord. Fear is not of the Lord. Seek out someone you trust who you know has the answers or who can get them for you.
There is one thing I can guarantee: every person who attends SEEK will need to make some sort of change once they return home or on campus. It might be a small change like waking up 30 minutes earlier to do morning prayer. Or it might be a major change like entering a 30-day rehab program. Regardless, changes will need to be made.
I think the hardest part of going to a conference like SEEK is making actual changes in your life when you return home. You might need to end a relationship or two, find a new roommate, select a new major because you feel a moral conflict, have a serious conversation with family and friends, or overcome an addiction you have been pretending is not as serious as it actually is. Seek someone who can help you make the changes necessary to center your life on Christ. Pray for the strength to overcome the obstacles change will bring to your life.
Whether your college campus has FOCUS or a Newman Club, finding community is essential on our faith journey. You just left 16,000 Catholic young adults and now you feel like you are walking around all alone. Well, you are not alone! There are hundreds to thousands of Catholic college students on your campus. The question is: how do you develop the community you need to hold you accountable on your walk with Christ? Consider:
- Hosting or attending a local Blessed Brunch
- Joining a FOCUS or campus ministry small group or Bible study
- Attending daily/Sunday Mass
- Connecting with a local young adult ministry and getting involved
- Attending diocesan young adult ministry events or worship nights
- Serving at your local parish as a catechist or in another ministry of your giftedness
Listen to Great Podcasts and Download the Talks from SEEK
Following SEEK, the talks will be available for download. Listen to them again to remind yourself what you heard and to hear new things that God wants to speak to your heart today. In addition, after conferences like SEEK, I keep the fire burning by listening to podcasts or books on tape. Here are a few of my favorites:
- UMD Newman Catholic
- Blessed is She
- Abiding Together
- Ask Father Josh
- Catholic Answers FOCUS
- Do Something Beautiful
- and more!
Unpack Your Notes/Journal
Don’t make this one more thing you did and never took time to really take root. Find time weekly to look over your journal from the SEEK Conference to recount what God did in your life during the week. Give yourself space to process what God did and is doing in you.
Too often we go from one thing to the next and never process what God wants us to receive. We just go through the emotions and motions. Do not let that happen to you with SEEK. If you truly want this week to have an impact on your adult life, sit still long enough for God to seek you out and really speak into what you long for most as you prepare for your future. He wants to help you unpack the talks, the conversations, the time in Reconciliation, Mass, and Adoration. He wants to speak to your soul in the worship song you hear on the radio, the one that brings you to tears. Allow the Lord to move you well after you depart Indianapolis.
Watch Out for Spiritual Attack
When you have chosen to completely center your life on Christ, get ready for spiritual attack to come your way. You just had a Transfiguration moment and even though you were not on Mount Tabor, you can bet that Satan is going to try and stop you in your track and prevent you from following Christ.
So, if you find your life more challenging since your mountaintop moment at SEEK, you are in good company with apostles like Peter, James, and John. Spiritual attack means one thing: you are following Christ closely. Remain close to Mama Mary and Christ in the Sacraments. God will pour out the grace needed to accomplish His will on earth through you.
Now, let us know, what was your favorite part about the SEEK Conference? What’s your biggest takeaway?Continue SEEKing the Lord after the SEEK Conference #BISblog #SEEK2019 // Click To Tweet
Tricia Tembreull is a regular contributor to the BIS blog and a devotion writer. She is a California girl with a boundless passion for life. After two decades of ministering to teens and youth ministers as a trainer, ministry mentor, and speaker in Catholic youth ministry, Tricia now serves as Campus Minister at USC Caruso Catholic Center. She loves adventure and seeks it everywhere she goes. As an avid foodie, she enjoys testing new recipes out on friends and family, gathering them around the table to encounter Christ in one another and be drawn to the satisfying unity we crave in the Eucharist.