A couple of timely announcements from Catholic Campus Ministry this week. First, please join us this Wednesday for Supper at 6:30. We have had a last minute change to our scheduled program. We had hoped to be joined this week by a religious sister from one of six different women's religious orders who will be participating in our diocesan Give Your Heart Away retreat this weekend. Unfortunately I learned earlier today that this had fallen though and would not be possible. Thankfully we always have a Plan B. Our evening program will be "How Others See Us" and will be led by yours truly. :-) I hope you can make it!
Please pray for those who will be attending the Give Your Heart Away retreat this weekend in Hickory. This is a diocesan wide Christian service retreat for college students, and we have several from WCU attending. Please pray for safe travel and a Christ-centered weekend for all participants.
Finally, please put March 23-24 on your calendar for our campus ministry Spring Retreat. The theme this year is "The Seuss is Loose" and it will be a fun, lighthearted look at the Gospel message through the lens of our favorite children's author. We will have a sign up sheet for the weekend here at the Center beginning this Wednesday night.
"Born OK the FIRST TIME."
That was the message I saw on a bumper sticker on the car ahead of me as I pulled into campus this morning. Of course this was this person's rebuttal to the Christian concept of being "born again," that is, born again in Christ. It is a phrase that comes from John's Gospel. "Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" [John 3:5].
This is what we believe happens at our baptism, that we are made new creatures (born again) in Christ, being united in His death and resurrection. We believe that this sacramental encounter with God has several effects, not the least of which is to cleanse us of the stain of original sin. And really that phrase, "cleanse us of the stain of original sin" is an imperfect one. For original sin is not truly something extra we have on our souls that needs washing off. It is more like something missing, a hole that needs to be filled in. And the only thing that can possibly fill it is God.
"My heart is restless, O Lord, until it rests in Thee," is the prayer of St. Augustine. We all have felt this restlessness, this "something missing" in our lives, this hole only God can fill.
Well, most of us. Apparently not the driver of this car, or at least not that he admits. His statement, "Born OK the first time," is an assertion that there is nothing wrong with him, nothing that needs fixing. If that's true, he's doing better than the rest of us (maybe I should have followed him to ask him his secret?).
One of the prerequisites for accepting Christ as our Savior is recognizing the fact that we need to be saved. We need to recognize the fact that the human race, as a whole, is not "OK." That we are flawed. We are essentially good, yes. But we are imperfect. We are not living up to our great potential as human beings. Another way of saying that is that we are fallen.
And we need to recognize that this is true not only of society but of ourselves as individuals. When we ask the question, "What is wrong with the world?" the best and shortest answer is "I am." And if you do not realize this, if you do not realize that you are wounded, you are weak, and that you have fallen, then you will never ask for help getting up. And we all need help getting up.
History is full of people who accept God into their lives only after they have hit rock bottom. Sadly, this is what it takes for some people to realize that they need help. We can hope and pray that our "Born OK" driver doesn't need to fall that far before he accepts God's grace in his life.