What’s good, blog-reading-type-folk? It’s us again, Home Team. Today we want to talk about Lent; the good times, the bad times, and the other times. We hope that your Lent has been fruitful, and as we come to a close of this season we want to reflect on the everyday suffering that unites us with Christ Jesus. In the book of Romans, St. Paul says, “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Jesus died on the cross and went through pain and torture just so He could bring us – you and me – into eternity with Him. Through our own suffering we must find that connection to God, because He did all of this for us, the ungodly. What have we done for Him?
Lent on NET is a lot to handle, considering we have already done so much for the Lord in giving our lives to serve Him. Everyday we have to choose again and again to unite our suffering with His. We have to choose to love Him, and to do everything simply for the glory of God. Lent hasn’t come without its own hardships. Some members of our team have chosen not to touch anyone or say I love you for their penance. This becomes a serious hardship considering the eleven of us are all very close, and we want to show how much we care. Others have given up worldly things like a particular food or technology. This proves to be an obstacle when at every moment we are being offered snacks, whether on retreat, at host homes, or walking to Burger King. All of this pain, all of these things that stand in our way to worldly pleasure have helped us to grow closer to God and to give more to Him everyday.
A cool thing that we are doing as a team this Lent is praying the Stations of the Cross together every Friday. We put a prayer intentions board at the NET Center, so every Friday we collect all the prayer intentions of the NET staff and offer the Stations of the Cross for them. Two Fridays ago, we prayed the Stations in a special way, where each one of us wrote a meditation and prayer for one or two of the Stations. It was so beautiful to see how every one of our hearts has been touched by the Lord’s heart in so many different ways.
Having in mind that we are coming to the end of the year and we all are tired, we have to add to these small (or big) sacrifices the lack of sleep and the physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Being surrounded by ten other people who are also struggling with their own personal battles is not easy. You have to balance ten different relationships with people who are trying to figure out a lot of things about themselves, their future, their relationships here, their relationships back home, and trying to understand whatever is it that the Lord is doing in their hearts. That’s a lot! Being in a place where our mission is to give ourselves totally all the time gives us a glimpse into Jesus’ life, but we don’t really get a lot of time to process all these things. Having 11 young adults living together in this situation can be challenging sometimes, and we may get frustrated with each other or hurt by some harsh words or actions that come out of tiredness. Receiving this from some of the people that you love the most is hard, but it is in these moments where we can become more like Jesus and choose to love unconditionally, like He did. He always chooses to keep giving, knowing that we are going to reject Him, and even though it hurts Him so much, He keeps loving, and loving, and loving, and choosing us every day even though we don’t choose Him a lot of times. That’s what He calls us to do every day with our team: to love, and love, and love unconditionally, until it hurts, and then to love a little bit more. This Lent we all have been drawn to the heart of Jesus in a lot of different ways, and friends, it hurts! And it’s hard! But there’s so much beauty and growth in it. His heart is so precious, and we hope that you all got to experience His heart this Lent in your own personal way.
Oh! Just so you know, it’s April and it keeps snowing (somebody come and help us, please!!!). The good thing about it is that we have been blessed with a lot of cool and fun experiences like driving snowmobiles, having snow fights, and taking lovely team pictures. Despite the hard times (and because of the hard times), being on NET is a blessing. Our love for each other and for the Lord is evident, and as someone once said, “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”