Preface: the following post is actually some fleeting thoughts of a personal reflection I jotted down yesterday morning while listening to Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley address approximately 700 religious and catechists at the Diocese of Bridgeport‘s Catechetical Congress.
I am not a perfect Catholic — no one is (well there may be an exception of two, anyone heard of our Immaculate Mother?). This morning I woke up half excited, half dreading the day — well dread may be an exaggeration, but I can’t in all honesty say I was 100% excited to be attending this year’s Catechetical Congress. Like many other 24-year-olds, sitting through lectures and workshops for an entire Saturday is no what I look forward to. In school, I slept through big lectures like the one I am currently in, and now I tend to opt out of these sorts of things. The theme for today’s conference is to do whatever He tells you to do (He being God — in case you were wondering…). Well, I guess that’s what I am doing right now, right? Originally, I had no intentions to register for this today, I kept trying to come up with a reason to skip it but I had no valid reason to say no. Well why not just say no, sleep in and go out instead? Because a nun I have known since I was a toddle asked me to come. Just as I can’t tell her no when she asks me to teach another year of religion, I couldn’t say no to her without having a valid reason not to come (something to do, family plans, anything other than “sorry, I’m just not into it” would have worked). Sister is a great lady and has always believed in me — I always get the benefit of the doubt with her. Sometimes I feel guilty because I know she thinks the nest of everyone and I think she gives me too much credit most of the time. I am 24, I like to go out and have a good time, but all in all, at the bottom of my heart, I know that she (and her religious ed. program) are who helped my parents form who I am today. They gave me values and morals. They are a huge part of why ethics mean so much to me today.
But back to the conference — two of my friends were going (and then we ran into another friend we didn’t know would be here). So the three of us agreed to go together — we would show up together and keep each other company throughout the day. I accepted that I would be busy today as I would be here. This week, I was even given another out. I could go mountain biking in the snow (assuming it actually snowed on Friday night) in the Catskills. I was torn at first, go to this, or get to spend time with a guy I want to get to know more. In the end, I did what I usually do, I followed through with me word and here I am (or there I was…) sitting at Sacred Heart University listening to Cardinal O’Malley (my favorite bishop). Everything he’s saying applies to me right now. I am doing what He told men and I highly doubt I will regret coming to this.
I guess I just keep surprising myself everyday, though I’m not sure why. I registered for an event and I’m not one to cancel on people unless I really need to, so why am I surprised that I’m here? Regardless of the fact that I keep underestimating myself, it’s OK. Lately I’ve been learning some important life lessons, or at least I’m realizing some key things I think I’ve always sort of know, but overlooked — today is no different. I have grown up. I know who I am and staying true to that is important to me. I know there’s still more for me to learn and I’m still learning things day by day. But my morals and the basis of who I am is set. I follow through with my word and I don’t compromise my morals. I guess this is not something that should come as a shock to me, but it did today and I’m awed by it. Maybe one day I’ll even learn to stop underestimating myself and I’ll realize Sister isn’t in fact giving me too much credit; she’s giving me credit I deserve.
In hindsight, I am glad I went. I enjoyed it and it wasn’t actually that boring. I met some amazing people and got to spend some quality time with some great friends.