If you had told me as a senior in college that my post-college adventures would take me to Malaysia and the Philippines, I would have asked you where the heck Malaysia was—and then smiled politely and asked why the heck you thought I would ever have a reason to go somewhere halfway across the world.
Mission trips. Maybe they sound cliché. Maybe you’ve been there, done that. Maybe you’re thinking, Why travel half-way around the world when there’s plenty enough to worry about in my own backyard? Maybe you’re right—but before you decide for sure, take a minute to read why you should go on a FOCUS mission…
I found myself sitting in the middle of my room, violin in hand, staring at my Manhasset music stand. The stand had become a dear friend over the years, but as I looked at the page that lay on its matte surface, the notes stared mockingly back at me. Rows of the black, daunting dots sat silent on the page. My “creative being” no longer responded to the sweet notation of my favorite composer, Saint-Saëns.
There’s been an awful lot of publicity and debate this past week about the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer. The story has a polarizing effect, drawing praise or criticism, but rarely anything in between.
Beauty. Out of all the words in our culture to be devoid of its true meaning, the word “beauty” hits the top. When the average person hears the word beauty, images of a “perfect body” or lots of makeup might come to mind. Somehow, however, I am guessing this is not the way in which Pope Francis is encouraging us to use beauty for the New Evangelization. A limited view destroys our ability to understand beauty in its fullest sense: as a way to communicate God. Beauty is a powerful weapon against the lies of the enemy, just waiting to be wielded if we have the courage to do so.
That question is really insightful. I imagine that many of us have gone to confession and wondered where “for your penance, I would like you to ...” fits into the concept that God’s love and forgiveness is free.
“So,” I started, a bit nervously. This was our first real conversation about the faith. “Are there any particular books of the Bible you’d like to learn more about?”
Ever since Pope Benedict XVI told us that the key to evangelization is the art of living, I’ve been thinking, “Yes, thank you, Holy Father. But what do you MEAN exactly?” A product of our process-oriented culture, I wanted an exact solution to this elusive goal, a step-by-step, Buzzfeed-like guide to virtue, happiness and general sanctity. But Benedict told us it’s not really an exact science: “This art can only be communicated by one who has life – he who is the Gospel personified.”
If I could travel in time, I would deliver this letter to myself before the beginning of my freshman year of college. Since I can't do that, I'll just publish it here.
“The Almighty deserves better advocacy than he gets in this typically ham-fisted Christian campus melodrama.” – Scott Foundas, Variety
In a nutshell, most critics I read were put-off by the film because non-Christians were demonized, the arguments were unintelligible, and it was overall unrealistic. My take? Yes and no.
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Since the pontificates of Pope Paul VI and John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church has been commissioned to engage and embrace the world with God's message of love once more with ‘new methods, new ardor and new expression.’ It has come to be phrased, 'the new evangelization.'
For FOCUS, this means meeting college students across the nation where they are and challenging them to examine the meaning and purpose of their lives. Through personal relationships and friendship, we offer college students the true peace and fulfillment they seek in the good news of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Catholic faith, inviting them to answer His calling in their lives.
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