“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” – St. John Paul II
For the last Vancouver team Update from the Road of the 2021-2022 NET year, of course, I had to reflect on one of my absolute favourite quotes from one of my absolute favourite people, St. John Paul II. We are the Easter people! It makes me think that the great mission of Catholic Christians would be, quite honestly, irrelevant if it wasn’t for the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus conquered death and defeated the grave and our job is to live out our “Hallelujah” song and share with others the love and mercy of our Risen Redeemer.
Reflecting on this thought, I couldn’t help but feel blessed to be doing this. To be in Vancouver, speaking to high school students every day about the faith. One of my teammates had a beautiful encounter with a student, she told me, “This was a retreat for grade ten students, and I had four girls in my small group. They were all Catholic to a certain extent, and one of them even talked about how she sometimes prayed. Later, though, they told me that they felt distant from God, and that it felt like prayer didn’t do anything or seem to change anything. In a busy life, it’s easy to put prayer aside first. I prayed over all of them during prayer ministry, asking Jesus to come into their hearts and help them to experience his love in a new way. In the final small group, I asked them how that prayer time was for them. They told me through their tears that that was the first time they had really felt God’s love in a long time, and that they had really needed to hear the things that I said to them (or really the Holy Spirit through me). I also started crying as they shared all these beautiful things with me. They all signed the commitment cards.”
The team has been here now for about seven months, building relationships with students, and gaining their trust and friendship. However, the end is soon approaching, the goodbyes are coming fast, and the thought of our departure is constantly looming in the back of our minds each day.
It is in these moments when I start to get overwhelmed with the reality of leaving Vancouver, that I remind myself: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” My God is a God of life. My God is a God of restoration, Resurrection, and victory. Yes, we must face reality, and I must accept the fact that this NET year will not last forever. But, this Easter, I want to identify myself as an “Easter person” and I want Hallelujah to be my song. I want to praise God for everything He has done this year and for everything He will do in days and years to come. Rather than mourn a loss, I want to celebrate the miracles I witnessed this year. I want Hallelujah to be my song.
What about you?
–written by Gabby Douglas