Yes, I did clickbait you into clicking on this article. Why does the person who wrote “How to find your soulmate?” get to do it and I don’t? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about just keep reading, you probably need this at this point of your life (at least if you’re distraught and a defeated college student).
As a freshman, I always wondered why the mascot for our school is Scarlet Knight… it actually has a very deep meaning behind it. Let us start with a verse so that God’s word may be the start of all our talk. In St Paul’s letter to the Romans, he tells them to do all things with love “not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality” (Romans 12: 11-17). Let’s break it down! In our studies, diligence comes as one important factor. I know, we learn things that make us say to ourselves “this will absolutely not be used in my life moving forward,” but what if this is not the case? In reality, everything that we study is just a small peek at God’s meticulousness. Fr. Tadros Malaty has a beautiful contemplation on the book of Wisdom of Sirach where he says, “even one sand, that one sand that you toss with your feet, matters in binding the sea,” and who did God bind the sea for? He bound it for my sake. “For my sake You have bound the sea” (Liturgy of Saint Gregory). Sometimes I catch myself saying “I wish I was in Liturgy right now” while I am studying for my exam, but Liturgy is “Work of the people.” We are in Liturgy every time we choose to lift up our hearts to God. You do your work and offer it to God, so He can multiply it and make a plant out of the seed!
Our studies jumpstart us into entering the realm of God’s wisdom which we will only get to KNOW when we meet Him “to whom has the root of wisdom been revealed? Who has known her shrewd counsels” (Wisdom of Sirach 1:6).
“Fervent in spirit”
It is soooo hard, I repeat, soooooooo hard (with more O’s) to compartmentalize your life into waffle cubes. Your life is one harmonious story, that life is your spiritual life. You will fret if you try to say “that is my doctor side speaking… or that is my servant side… or that is my gym goer side,” but your life is led as a spiritual life. It is one which glorifies God in everything and in every way. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“Serving the Lord”
Ahhh everyone’s favorite part! What is a life of service? How can we ever talk about a true dedicated life of service and forget to mention the life of Saint Father Bishoy Kamel, whose soul never stopped laboring for the sake of every soul! His life is an open book to lead all servants no matter what type of service they are in. Let’s take the example of serving kids in Church (like Sunday School) since it is the most relatable to a lot of us. When Saint Pope Kyrillos wanted to ordain a priest to serve in the Church that His Holiness was starting to build, His Holiness saw a servant named Sami Kamel pulling into the Church’s parking lot with a car full of kids that he was bringing to attend Sunday school. The dedication over one service and serving the Lord in it is the key for us to enter into a life of carrying Jesus Christ by “contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality”(Romans 12:13). It is very easy to say “I’m leaving this life and dedicating my life to serve in Africa,” but what if God wants you exactly where you are right now! Are you going back to ask the One whom you serve? Or are you just trying to satisfy your thoughts to make yourself look good. Let then all you do, be done after having prayed on it!
“Devoted to Prayer”
Fr Mikhail Ibrahim is a true icon of a life of prayer and service who would lead the flock into prayer, saying at the beginning of any endeavor “Let us pray!” Prayer is the sacrifice of God. In Psalm 50, at every hour, we pray “a sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.” Our prayer is the altar that we are willing to set anywhere. “Wherever you may find yourself, you can set up an altar to God by means of prayer” – St. John Chrysostom
Let your studies be completed as a part of your “spiritual” LIFE! Your ONE life! Know that love does not burn out. If your fountain of love is empty, go fill it through a personal retreat away from all distractions and the pressure of being surrounded by people. Then only will you be able to look at God and tell him in confidence “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race”. See… Scarlet Knight 😉
Sorry this is probably the most non-formally written thing you’ve ever read. Happy semester <3