Recently, I was given a chapter of Kevin O’Brien’s book, Seeing with the Heart, which focuses on living out your desires through the magis. In the introduction of the chapter, O’Brien talks about how sometimes following our desired path can seem like the “courageous option” or the “road less traveled.” I know I certainly found myself feeling this way when I chose to do a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in 2019. It was the bold choice, as opposed to going straight to graduate school like I had originally planned. However, the more I have reflected on that choice, it was the obvious decision. Through my undergraduate journey, I found myself attracted to service opportunities, became involved in campus ministry, and took classes dedicated to social justice. While this decision may have seemed to be a spontaneous choice, I think something was stirring in my heart all throughout my college experience. Pay attention to the patterns and things you keep returning to.
In the second part of the Gospel reading from yesterday, Jesus asks his disciples to follow Him and His mission: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny themself, take up their cross, and follow me.” Is Jesus asking us to sacrifice everything to follow Him? When I talk with students going through the immersion program at John Carroll, I tell them that while this immersion might not change what they do after graduation, it will definitely change how they do it.
While everyone can’t drop their day job to completely dedicate their life to God, what would it look like to maybe dedicate your interactions to aligning more with Jesus’s mission? Kindness, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, and patience. The choice to live your life this way may seem like the “road less traveled,” but in the end, for a Christian, it is the obvious decision.
- What formative experiences changed how you work for justice?
- What would it look like to dedicate your interactions to aligning more with Jesus’ mission?
Shelby Smyth is a graduate of Spring Hill College (2019), where she studied psychology with a minor in theology. In her undergraduate studies, she became involved in social justice and advocacy through the push from faculty and staff at Spring Hill, which led her to the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Shortly after graduation, she served a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Syracuse, New York with the Northside CYO, making relationships with refugee families and providing academic support and afterschool programming. Currently, she is a resident minister and graduate assistant for John Carroll University Campus Ministry.