I just got back from grocery shopping for tomorrow night's dinner. Ali is cooking spaghetti with meatballs for us (or for you vegetarians, spaghetti without meatballs). She's also got a nice after-dinner activity prepared for us based around one of our recent scripture readings from Mass. Don't miss it, come tomorrow night at 6:30 -- and bring a friend!
ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK
For those of you planning on going with us on our Baltimore/DC spring break trip this year (or if you are considering going and want more info), we ask that you come to one of two information meetings we have planned. The first will be this Wednesday at 6:00pm. The second will be this Sunday night, immediately after Mass. You don't need to come to both, but you do need to come to one. The meeting should only last about 20 minutes. One thing that will be mentioned at the meeting is a need for a $50 from anyone going by Feb. 10.
Your Peer Ministry Council and I are working on putting together a spring retreat this semester. We'll be returning this year to the same lake house we used in 2011, for those who were there. More information will be coming as we continue to plan, but those interested please go ahead and mark your calendars for the weekend of April 12-14.
Lent will be here before you know it! We will have Mass celebrated in our chapel on campus on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 12:30pm. Fr. Alex will also offer Mass at St. Mary's at 9:00am, 6:00pm. and 8:00pm in Spanish.
MONDAYS ARE AWSOME!
Ok, so admittedly Mondays can use a lot of work to make them awesome. But we are trying! Our Rosary prayer group is moving their meeting time to 5pm starting this coming Monday. This is to allow greater participation by those who want to come together and pray a rosary on campus. The usual place will still be at the fountain, with a bad weather location being the UC Balcony. Also beginning this Monday our Catholic student discussion group is starting up again. They plan to meet at Starbucks every Monday at 8pm to discuss a different faith-related topic each week. Any student is welcome to join them!
A GROWING PET PEEVE
Many of you are members of our Facebook Group (and if you are not, you should join). Many students are my personal friends on Facebook, as well. (My policy is that I don't send any student a friend request, though I will happily accept a student who sends a request to me). I don't mind any student friending me if you want to get a glimpse into your campus minister's life (yes, it is just as exciting as you think it is). Of course, this means I get a glimpse into my students' lives, as well. And usually that's a pretty good, reaffirming thing. Sure, every now and then a student will use some language in a post that I'd rather not see them using, but that's pretty rare overall.
What I do see on occasion, and it always makes me cringe, is the acronym "FML." I don't have to tell you what it means, but the last two letters stand for "my life," and the first letter doesn't stand for "festoon." People use it to express frustration, maybe because they just broke up with their boyfriend/girlfriend (which is always painful), or because they have roommate issues (who doesn't at least once in college?), or maybe feeling overwhelmed with schoolwork. Sometimes people just use it in a lighthearted way because something silly or embarrassing happened to them. I discovered a whole FML web site in which people are asked to post their embarrassing stories. One example was a young man who was partnered with a girl in his art class. They were asked to sketch each other, and he thought he was doing a pretty good job until he showed her his sketch and she said, "That's ok, I can't draw very well, either." To him, that was a FML moment.
But I hate to see anyone use this phrase, for any reason. Your life is a gift to you from God. God created us, each one of us, as a sheer act of love. He didn't have to make you, or me, but He did because He wants to share His life with us. God, the Almighty Creator, the Great "I Am" who is existence itself, is sustaining you in being at this very moment. If He ever stopped loving you, you would cease to be. The very fact that you have existence at all means you are sharing in God's life, which means you have your being within Him. Everything you have, you have from God. (And, might I point out, every student I have ever met has led a life far better than 99% of the human population that has ever been born).
So when I see a student post "FML," it feels like they are giving the finger to God. They are taking this precious gift of His and tossing it back in His face, not even saying, "Thank you," but "F*** you."
Now, before I hear from anyone saying, "But that's not how we mean it!" let me say I know that. I know that's not how you mean it. And that's my point. If you don't mean it, don't say it. Words are important. Don't believe me?
"No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear." Eph. 4:29"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak." Matt. 12:36
These days we don't just need to worry about the words coming from our mouths, but also from our fingers, as we tweet, text, and type. In many ways these words are more enduring, as they don't fade away after we speak them. All I'm saying is words are powerful things. They are a tool we possess to convey truth and goodness, but they can also be used in pernicious ways. Use yours for uplifting one another, and giving thanks to God.