Fresh Vision - Caity - Community
"22"- Taylor Swift
"We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way
It’s miserable and magical.
Tonight’s the night when we forget about the heartbreaks
This song helped remind me that I found my community here at Fordham by being myself. Only when I was true to myself did I find people who reflected my own values and ideals. In my “ramily” I can talk about deep things and insecurities I may have. At the same time though, I can be silly and dance shamelessly to TSwift.
Fresh Vision - Annalise and Soupy - My Story
"Breakdown" - Jack Johnson
"The wisdom’s in the trees/Not the glass windows." - Annalise’s favorite line
"I need this, Old train to breakdown, Oh please just, Let me please breakdown” - Soupy’s favorite line
This song fit well with our talks because during my freshman year, I (Annalise) listened to it when I was stressed and felt like I needed a moment to myself. The idea of “breaking down” in order to start again really helped me to understand that what felt like decay was in fact a process of growth and rebirth.
Annalise and Soupy
Weekly Reflection: I Feel God in this Ram Van Tonight - Kate
Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.
Fresh Vision - Dan - Being My Best Self
"When My Name Is Spoken" - Spirit Family Reunion
"Have you listened with your ear pressed firmly to the ground? Have you lifted up your head to hear the emanating sound? Have you really given thought to all the precious things you’ve found? Someone is calling you."
My Fresh-Vis talk was all about being my best self, and I feel this song reflects my relationship with God right now. God has been inviting me to be my best self for a while now, and now I’m finally taking Him up on the offer. He is calling my name, and each day I am trying my best to answer.
Patient Harvests - Mike
Besides missing the New York fall and all its beauty at this time, I am beginning to think about the fall in terms of the harvest—the reaping of what I have planted in my spiritual life and how it will provide for my spiritual and greater holistic needs. I am currently reading The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, a book that one of my housemates has shared with me that has been passed down in her family for four generations. It is a very beautiful, poetically written book that follows a fictional prophet as he is asked about various subjects amongst a crowd of townspeople. On the subject of eating and drinking he says,
“…And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart, ‘Your seeds shall live in my body, and the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart, and your fragrance shall be in my breath, and together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.’ And in the autumn, when you gather the grapes of your vineyards for the winepress, say in your heart, ‘I too am a vineyard, and my fruit shall be gathered for the winepress, and like new wine I shall be kept in eternal vessels.’ And in winter, when you draw the wine, let there be in your heart a song for each cup; and let there be in the song a remembrance for the autumn days, and for the vineyard, and for the winepress.”
I love this passage for its beautiful imagery and symbolism. It carries the idea of planting things, a.k.a. spiritual tools and lifestyles, which bring life to themselves through the growing process and to the individual. At the same time it shows appreciation and joy in the process of growth while also demonstrating how with time the things we plant in our lives may become woven into the people we become.
It is easy for me to be hard on myself and to look upon myself as a poor farmer—not planting enough to last me through the wintery seasons of life, not being the most productive farmer, not being a capable farmer amidst an overgrown field of weeds. I think a main part of that comes from impatience, an impatience to skip growth, be more productive, and harvest the end product quickly—something that I feel is engrained in the pressured, fast-paced New York culture I come from, and not enough trust that the harvest will always sustain me.
Work, I have found, especially being here, often becomes more difficult for me once the newness of it wears off, realities set in, bosses expect more, and I get into a somewhat more comfortable pattern. I contemplate each day during work, often very quickly due to the fast-paced nature of my job, about how to be a better metaphorical farmer in the workplace. My jobsite has its difficulties, mainly because there have always been two Jesuit Volunteers in my position in the past. I have been carving my way and learning the importance of good communication, flexibility, and patient trust in terms of what is life giving and what is not.
Some days it is hard to find what is life giving and to see growth. It often feels like the same day here over and over—the weather is always the same, there is the same craze each day at work, and the same routine and habits surrounding work typically ensue. It is in these times the rut of those incapable of change, mainly many poor and oppressed individuals, becomes more tangible. I will never be fully able to grasp their rut I admit because I do not come from the same background or disposition as the people I serve but it becomes easier to see its workings and control on one’s life. In finding what is not life giving though we become closer to those things that are life giving, and growth occurs even when we have to backtrack sometimes. It is in the times when we stand stagnantly, paralyzed by fear, over cautiousness, or what have you that we do not grow.
There is a difference between being stagnant and being still. I seek to be like the stillness of the fruit that we gather in the harvest. They are stationary in physical position but they grow, starting as buds and developing into mature fruit, expressing slightly different personalities and growth through different shades, shapes, and sizes where no two pieces of fruit are exactly the same. They sway in stillness ever peacefully and with grace in the winds of life and amidst the presence of God in those winds. They reach maturity and fall individually and graciously back to the ground, remembering where their source of life comes from in the harvest season. Like the fruit, I pray that I may be active in growth however slow it may be but be in a stilling peace in the way I go about it with myself and in the presence of God amidst the oftentimes stagnate, trapping storms of life.
I lleave you with a prayer by Archbishop Oscar Romero, a Jesuit martyr.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.
Sending you warm wishes, love, and peaceful harvesting from Santa Clara!
Retreat Team Alum, Class of 2014
Fresh-Vision - Kate - Identity
Don’t Let It Get You Down by johnnyswim
Hey everyone! In my Fresh-Vision talk, I spoke about how identity has always been a hard thing for me to really pin down or talk about, and this song is an upbeat reminder to not get too hung up on trying to put a label on myself :)