Dear Newman Center friends,
I am back in the States after a year in Argentina. It has been amazing to see family and friends, but I have also felt the spiritual challenge of being away from my comunity and outside the normal rhythm of life. I am sure that many of you are feeling something similar, being away from the Newman Center for the summer. The words of Jesus in John 15 have been resonating in me: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing…Remain in my love.”
In the winter when a branch is cut off, it stays green and appears to be alive for a long time, but in the summer, it withers fast. When I stray, I feel myself withering quickly. The good news is that Jesus wants us to remain in him and he gives us the resources to do it. Every time I go to the chapel to pray, I feel the new life renewed in me. Stop by your local church. Ask your preist for a key to the door so you can sneak in late when noone is there. Most important of all, at least for me, is meditating on the daily Gospel each morning and going to confession. It is how we stay connected to Jesus, the true vine, and repair the damage when we begin to tear away, so that his life continues to flow in us and we can bear witness to our friends and family and coworkers.
Last week I got to walk around Portland State campus with Fr. Ivan and two new missionaries that have arrived from Argentina, Juan Maria and Francesco. As we walked we talked about God’s dreams for that campus and for Oregon State and it filled us with joy and longing. Mass mailings, cotton candy, selfies with Pope Francis, three Fraguas–whatever strategy it takes to reach people–but in the end his strategy is you. Cor ad cor. Heart speaks to heart. I am sure God will do great things this year, and that he will do them through you. Remain in Him and nothing will be impossible.
I’m sorry I didn’t get to see more of you while I was in town. It was so good to see Ben and talk to Jonah on the phone, and I was happy to meet the new Ben and John in Portland. Pray for Josh and I and all the guys in formation in Argentina. We’ll see you back here in a couple of years, or when you make it down to visit!