|Kelly meditating on the lakeshore|
Devoting time each week to attend Mass and personally converse with God was always a part of my life but recently the weekly meeting has gained a deeper meaning. Always a family activity, going to Mass when I was younger was not my choice; the same rituals, anecdotes and the same 80-year-old avós (grandmas) slobbering huge kisses on my cheek never seemed appealing. We always attended Portuguese Mass, so naturally I would follow along in the English missal because our priest spoke more "Portuglish" (a slang of Portuguese and English words) than either language. And although I am fluent in Portuguese, I found it exhausting to constantly trade off mindsets from Portuglish to Portuguese and then to English. It wasn't until I began attending Mass on my own with my selected Parish did I begin to fully listen and comprehend all of Jesus' messages. That one-hour at Mass transformed from "daydreaming about everything else I could be dong" to a "sacred allotted time where I spoke to God" and fully allowing myself to become absorbed in the Scripture.
|Kelly & Zach with a group of soup kitchen volunteers|
It's difficult to then reflect on such a conversation when you haven't wholly understood it yourself. What do you say? How do you act? The answers to these questions are anything but easy. Coming into this program, there aren't any guidelines or instructional manuals. Responding to these emotions require a combination of spirituality, sensitivity, and patience. Our services only stretch so far, then all that remains is hope; hope that God will guide them towards the path of redemption. It's moments like these when I need God and my spirituality the most- to make sense of the incomprehensible. If this year of service has taught me anything, it has been to fully embrace Jesus and all of his teachings and to love our brothers and sisters, unconditionally.