May 29, 2020

Reflection / Jenna Ford

The difference love can make

Jenna FordAs I headed to pour out my frustrations in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I felt as if I had reached the final straw. While my loss is nothing compared to that of the world’s, it seemed that my life was getting turned upside down.

I had everything planned out for the perfect semester. I was going to go on a pilgrimage to Italy with two close friends and had been praying for months for the chance to meet Pope Francis; I was going to plan a prom for a local charity for adults with disabilities; I was going to host events for our graduating seniors; I was going to volunteer with a nonprofit this summer; I was going to build my relationship with God and blossom where he had planted me.

Like many of my peers, I was looking to use this semester as a time of giving back and self-growth. But now, I was going home. My university, Indiana State University in Terre Haute, had announced that they were closing due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that students were expected to leave campus by the end of the week. I was crushed. It left me sitting in the adoration chapel asking God: what about all my plans?

Coming home has been difficult. I want to be out changing the world. I want to be helping those in need, spreading the love of Jesus, and impacting lives for the better. Instead, I am home.

I have taken refuge in working once a week at my local food pantry, but all of my other plans, hopes and dreams appear to have taken a pause. It is hard to change the world from the comfort of your own couch. At least it appears that way at first glance.

I find solace in the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta, a saint who has greatly inspired my faith. She once stated, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” I feel many young people are being called to these words.

Many of us had grand plans. We had plans to embrace where God had placed us, and plans to keep working to change the world.

But in an unexpected twist, many of us are home wondering what’s next or how we can help. In these big ideas of wanting to bring change to the world or helping others, our roots can easily be forgotten.

If we want to change the world, we have to remember to love.

We have to love God, love our families, and love ourselves before we can take on the world. Right now, God is giving us an opportunity to realize that our foundation of bringing change and helping others is built on love.

If you are sitting at home wanting to bring change or wanting to help those in need, but are feeling powerless in the waiting, know that you are not alone.

More importantly, know that you are not powerless.

With love comes great power. God is love, and there is nothing more powerful than him.

We are all being called to love right now. Take this time of uncertainty and turn it into an opportunity to love those around you. Pray for a love like Jesus, and share it with his world.

Once you begin to share one of the greatest gifts given by God, you will come to realize that by loving others you have been making a difference all along.

(Jenna Ford is a student at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. She is also a member of St. Joseph Parish in Crawford County, and St. Joseph University Parish in Terre Haute.)

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