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Catholic Gators Blog

Inquietum Est Cor Nostrum

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August 2017

Back to School Shouldn’t be Blue

By: Dolores Hinckley, RHC Print Cooordinator

              Right now, you might be thinking: Starting college is the best thing that’s happened to me — or the worst. I did not like my first few months at UF. I felt like a rat dropped into a big maze, and everything and everyone new I encountered were like sharp corners and diverging paths. On the other hand, for some of my hometown friends who also became Gators, the first semester was just open doors of possibilities with so many great things to do.

              You might have one of these experiences, something in between or neither, and that’s totally OK. Now more than a few semesters on, I can tell you my friends and I feel the same about our college experience. Mostly, that this is where we need to be.

Why do we feel that way?

              The incredible gift that is our Catholic faith is why. You will go nowhere in these next years of higher education that Jesus won’t be with you. He will be with you in the library, in class, in your dorm, and yes, even out late at night on the town.

              As you adjust to life in the Swamp, know that at any moment, He is here for you. Momma Mary and all the angels and saints are here for you. You have a team, an army, a family with the Father, and they’ve got a home base at St. Augustine’s on University Ave. Come spend time with Him and the rest of the Catholic Gators family.

              Don’t be afraid of the wonderfully outgoing guys and gals at Catholic Gators you’ll run into. They are going to be weirdly enthusiastic to have you, specifically you. Kind of like how God made you with intention, except not “kind of” but exactly. Say yes to that invitation for Newman (free dinner!) or other fun event, and see for yourself how awesome everyone at CG is.

newman_dinner catholic gators
Free dinner at Newman every Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.

              Don’t be afraid of those moments alone during your day, either.

              You might find yourself alone for the first time ever. No one to tell you when to wake up in the morning, what to eat, what to wear and where to be at almost every hour. That’s scary, freeing and the first taste of adulthood.

              Take some of those moments alone to the church. When the semester comes crashing down on you, and you question every decision you’ve made so far, those moments in front of Jesus are life-giving. Growing your faith here and now will give you a stability in college you would not believe.

              This probably all sounds doom and gloom like, “Wow, whoever wrote this must be one jaded college student.” I promise, I’m not! I only say this because it can get real in college, either real good or real bad. Be prepared for both.

              Church might be the last thing on your mind as you start fresh. Maybe you’ll roll out of bed Sunday morning and think to yourself something’s missing to your day, something you always did with your parents. The University of Florida might be new to you, but the church isn’t.

mass on the grass

              Catholic Gators has something for everyone, especially if you like free food every Tuesday at Newman Dinner. No matter if you’re into art, sports, music, if you want a bible study, or you’re just looking for friends, we have a community of people here that is genuine in both prayer and friendship.

              Come to St. Augustine’s, come home to Him and come meet us all. We all can’t wait to meet you.

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FOCUS Series: FOCUS on What Matters

[For the first post in our FOCUS series, click here.]

By: Kassandra Leal, UF FOCUS Missionary

 

Move out of apartment, check.

Five weeks of FOCUS New Staff Training (NST), check.

Three weeks serving on mission in Brazil, check.

All moved into my new house, check.

Processing the last two months…not checked.

              This summer has been chaotic. I have been on adrenaline since the end of May, and now that I’m getting ready to fly home to visit my family, I have found myself at “the wall “that my teammate, Drew, touched on.

Fall is coming, and I am tired.

             We live in a culture of busyness, nonstop, “go-go-go” mentality. We forget to rest and to reflect on the ways that God has worked throughout the days, weeks, or months. And I am ALL about self-care and doing things that bring you life, but here I am again finding myself at the end of the busyness, tired.

Mission_trip_brazil

             One of my favorite prayers is a Daily Examen. I pray my Examen at the end of the day to reflect on the blessings God has given me throughout the day, and ways I have failed to love Him and ask Him to give me the graces to love and serve Him the next day. This prayer has changed my life, because I have allowed the Holy Spirit to make me more aware of what happens in my day, from the little blessings like no traffic, to the little annoyances that trigger my impatience.

This is a simple and easy way to process.

             We often live in the next moment versus the present moment. So processing not only our day, but also our entire summer, will help us see the many ways that God has been present with us.

Fall is coming, and I am getting ready.

             You may not have had the same exact summer I have had. Maybe you have been living in a different state for an internship, traveling with friends and family, working from home, or enjoying your summer doing the hobbies that you give you life. Praise God for any and all pastimes this summer! All of that said, I know I want to love and serve when we hit the ground in the Fall, so that means that I will be processing the remainder of this summer.

FOCUS_quote

             I want to pray with all the opportunities that I had to grow. I want to thank Jesus for all the people whom He put in my life to love. I want to be in awe of the marvels that He did through the mission trip, and how He worked through my heart at training.

             All of this, of course, takes time. I want to give God the time and the praise. Work glorifies God, but so does the stillness.

FOCUS_sisters

  Join me in being still for these last couple of weeks before the school year starts, and ask God to show you how He has been working in you this summer. Thank Him for the hard and growing moments and for the joyful ones.

             I am praying for you all as you get ready to come back to Florida or are coming for the first time. Please pray for all of us back at Catholic Gators!

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