Who Knew Dirt Could Smell So Good?

Today is the day. The beginning of a new season. The first day of Spring. New life is springing up around us, nature is “refreshing” after the cold and darkness of Winter. Teresa of Avila reminds us that “Just as there are seasons in the world around us, so there are in our interior life”. Our lives often mimic seasons with physical warmth and cold, psychological highs and lows, and spiritual light and darkness. This week I found myself emerging from my own physical Winter as a Spring began to blossom from the depths of my spiritual soul.

Upon entering the Catholic Church, I often pondered the path God wanted me to follow. I have prayed for direction, I have pled for clarity. I have heard Him calling, and I have tried to answer that call each time. I answered His call when I decided to serve on the RCIA team, I answered His call when I led a Lenten small group for a few years, and I answered His call when I agreed to take on Jr. High Youth Ministry. When I answered His call to serve as the Director of Religious Education at St. Peter’s I knew I was still heading the right direction, and that has not changed. Each time I have answered His call, He has led me down paths I never knew existed, and even though there have been obstacles that seemed overwhelming blocking my path, He always “has my back” as long as I keep my faith in Him. Always. I have known for quite some time that I am right where God wants me to be.

As I sat listening to Curtis Martin this week at the Amazing Parish Conference, he spoke about evangelization and discipleship, and I was reminded of the simplest of requests that Jesus asks of us. “Come, and Follow Me”. As Martin continued to speak, I reflected on those words and the most amazing vision began to unfold within me. I finally understood why I stepped up to help in RCIA, why I decided to lead the Lenten Small Group, and why I served nearly six years at OLPH in Jr. High Youth Ministry. I have never doubted why I am at St. Peter’s but His plan is so clear now. His will for me took a considerable amount of time. It took time for me to understand my own human imperfections. It took time for me to overcome my own human weaknesses that kept distracting me from His vision. It took time for me to open my heart so fully that He could “spring” his plan from deep within my soul.

One of my favorite paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has always been #520, which tells us that Jesus is our model, the perfect man, “who invites us to become his disciples and follow him”. This paragraph may sound obvious to many people, because each of the four Gospels have an account of Jesus actually speaking these words, but I never fully understood the depth of His call for me to serve. I never realized how much He had formed me in my philosophy for religious education. I never knew His plan for me was not necessarily the message, but the journey in front of me.

We are all called to be disciples, we are all called to follow Him, but we are not all called to serve the same way. St Therese of Lisieux said, “If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness”. The same can be said of our own discipleship, our own service, and our own journey with Him. My journey is far from over, but I have discovered a new joy; a new way to serve Him in ways that will bring His Good News to more people. The flame within my soul is on fire once again, as I incorporate this new calling into my personal life, my work life, and most importantly, my faith life. This week, I was in the right place at the right time as God allowed my faith to blossom and now it’s time for me to get to get my hands dirty and get to work. St. Paul told the Colossians in Chapter 3, Verses 23-24, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ”.

Spring has sprung, and to commemorate this first day of Spring, I am happy to reveal that I will be praying for you. Yes, you. He has called me to share my journey in a way that will help spark a flame in others and help them learn more about Him as they continue on their journey. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two, specifically so they could pray for each other, hold each other accountable, counsel each other, and most importantly, share their testimony. It may take some work, there is nothing wrong with hard work. Proverbs 14:23 says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty”. I can see the path that God has laid out in front me and I am ready to roll up my sleeves. Margaret Atwood wrote, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”. Who knew dirt could smell so good?

Good night, and God Bless You!