“The more things seems to change,
the more they stay the same.”
I drove down to Modesto a few weeks ago to meet up with my spiritual father, Fr. Agustino, who was in town for a parish mission. Though we meet up often whenever he’s in the area, this visit was particularly significant for me.
Almost 14 years ago, when I was a senior in high school, when I had known then Fr. Agustino (then still a brother) for only about a year, he helped me through a time in my life that was particularly tumultuous and didn’t feel like could possibly have a happy ending.
Fast forward to June 2005, my youth group went down to St. Joseph’s parish in Modesto for a Youth 2000 retreat, and I was able to see Bro again in person. In the parking lot of the church, sitting on a sidewalk during one of the breaks, we had a super profound conversation. And though over the past decade we’ve exchanged thousands of words over countless emails, phone calls, and conversations, this particular conversation was so epic it was referenced in the homily Father gave at my wedding.
After so many years, I still remember having that conversation, though the details are now faded and vague. But I remember the big question I was reflecting on, that was haunting me… “What more is there? This can’t be it. There must be more to life…” And I still remember the answer… thirteen years later…
“Become completely aflame in love of God.”
I’ve tried to life my life in pursuit of that wholeheartedly. And during this visit, as I sat and talked with him, I realized that after fourteen years, so much has changed. When we first met, he was a brother and I was in high school. Now he’s a priest, and I’m a married mother of two. My teenage hyperactivity has taken a plunge, and with 10 years of priesthood under his belt, well, let’s just say our energy levels are not the same these days. We’ve delved deep into ministry in different places, and yet overlapped in our love for the people of Honduras with whom we have fallen in love and who have broken our hearts all at the same time. We’re older, hopefully a little bit wiser, and perhaps our hearts are heavier now than they were back then.
And yet…. here we are, over a decade later. Still seeking to love the Lord, to become completely aflame. At the heart of it all, the desire to love the Lord deeper, stronger, better… that is the core of who we are. And I realize that even though we are so different, and even though so much has changed, what has truly mattered has stayed the same.
Contemporary culture seems to continually encourages people to change, reinvent themselves, to find a “new you”. And yet, I think there is so much good within the heart of a person, within the core. Perhaps it isn’t so much about finding a NEW us, as it is about coming to learn who we truly are.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.