The Journey Continues ...
Reflection by Monica Thom Konschnik , Catholic Apostolate Center Staff and former Jesuit Volunteer
During this time of Lent , we fasted , prayed , and gave alms . During Holy Week , we prepared our hearts for the resurrection of Christ . During the Triduum , we experienced the agony of Christ ’ s suffering and death . And now we rejoice in Christ ’ s rising from the dead ! What a journey we have been on these past forty days . As we enter into this Easter season , we need to remember the preparation and suffering we experienced in the time leading up to Easter : it is only through struggles that we can fully dwell in the beauty of triumph .
As those who are either currently in service or who have spent time in long-term service , you know about the agonies that come along with being a volunteer . You are living in community ; working in a stressful and emotional job ; simplifying your materials possessions to make more time for relationships ; deepening your relationship with Christ ; figuring out who you are away from the comforts of home , family , and friends ; and preparing for life after service . All of this individually and put together can cause stress and agony in your life . But only once we have experienced the despair of the unknown and the realities of our current situation , can we look forward to the beauty that comes with life sorting itself out .
“ Let us take this time of joy to remember how far we have journeyed during Lent . Think about how you were able to stretch yourself , pray more , and give of yourself to others . Remember the frustrations and doubt you felt . Now , dwell in the beauty of all of you have experienced and how far you have come to this point in the Easter season .” resurrected into who I am today . I had trust that everything would work out according to God ’ s plan and that my agony would not be for nothing . ( Spoiler alert : everything did work out according to God ’ s plan and my agony was not for nothing .)
Let us take this time of joy to remember how far we have journeyed during Lent . Think about how you were able to stretch yourself , pray more , and give of yourself to others . Remember the frustrations and doubt you felt . Now , dwell in the beauty of all of you have experienced and how far you have come to this point in the Easter season .
Think back to the beginning of your time of service and the struggles you had to overcome to be where you are now . Whether you are a volunteer now or are 5 , 15 , or 35 years out of service , draw back to your time of service and think back to all you experienced . Take the time to acknowledge the journey and where you are now because of that journey . Take time to appreciate the beauty of Christ ’ s death that leads to his resurrection . Go beyond , but always remember , the agony of Good Friday which makes the joy of Easter Morning so much more special .
Looking back at my own year of service , I remember well the time around Easter : figuring out my next steps , teaching rambunctious second graders , being present to my community , coming into my own in terms of my faith , dealing with relationships , and not knowing how everything would turn out . Like Jesus , I had to wander in the desert . I needed to experience uncertainty , confusion , doubt , anxiety , and fear . I needed to die to myself in order to be
Monica Thom Konschnik is the Assistant Director of Administration for the Catholic Apostolate Center . She also serves on the Catholic Volunteer Network Board of Directors . Monica served as a Jesuit Volunteer in New Orleans , LA in 2006-07 .