“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?”
Sometimes the best thing to do when we are lost is to stop wandering and to wait. In this Gospel reading, Jesus talks about how the shepherd searches for his lost sheep and rejoices upon finding it. Recently I was asked to talk about my spiritual awakening, and whether or not this experience could actually be experienced as such; I do think that the story I am about to share with you is my spiritual awakening.
Junior year of high school I started asking myself why I claimed to be Catholic and why I practiced it. I soon started going through the motions of what it meant to practice Catholicism, I even went through the motions of confirmation, not truly believing what I was claiming to, because my parents gave me no other choice (and in no way am I upset with them for this).
So, when I came to Creighton (which was a funny story in itself) I did not go to mass and did not practice the faith I had grown up with at all. Sophomore year I met a few people, who have become some of my closest friends, who lived Catholicism in ways I had been looking to – they talked about what it meant to be Catholic in the world we lived in and were active participants in mass. I was also encouraged to go on the Encounter Retreat through our Campus Ministry. One afternoon on this retreat in early November, sitting outside at the Creighton Retreat Center, I waited. I centered myself and just waited, having asked God for some sign, something, to show that I was not crazy wanting to start over and figure out what our relationship could be. I waited and I waited, looking out over the beautiful forest that had changed to its fall colors, and listening to the wind rustling the leaves.
Then, a beautiful orange and yellow butterfly landed on my right knee. As I remained still, the butterfly stayed on my knee for what must have been ten minutes. The wind was strong, as it normally is in the flatlands of the Midwest, and I watched this butterfly grip to my leg to withstand being swept away by the wind. When the wind had calmed down and I twitched my knee, the butterfly fluttered away into the beautiful forest ahead of me. And that was when I knew; I knew that my relationship with God would get me through the calm and the storm. That was when I allowed myself to be found by God, because I waited.
So, I leave you with the song “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons. Press play, sit back and listen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLGMyo8wfPc