Exactly What God Had in Mind
Service from Home— reflection from Christian Service faculty
Now more than ever, I find myself drawn to the book of Acts in my daily prayer. It has always been a favorite because of the glimpse it gives us into the lives of the early Christians: how they cared for each other, and how they gathered, prayed, and shared a meal together… in their homes.
My home has been getting a lot of use lately, and it has been transformed by our need to shelter in place. For example, in addition to a place for table fellowship, my kitchen table has become our classroom, our living room doubles as a church and a yoga studio, our coffee table is now used for visual and performing arts, our sidewalk chalk has been used for P.E. circuits, and my desk in our master bedroom is actually being used as an office!
The early Christians saw an opportunity within the intimate space of their homes to place God at the center of it all. We, too, are being invited to see God’s grace moving in the domestic church—in our family and in our homes. I have witnessed our students responding to this invitation in so many ways in their service at home.
During service reflections on Zoom, I have heard students share how they are finding joy in time spent at home with their families. Our students are using their gifts and talents in service to others; for example, Connor Vallero ’21 designed an innovative air-purifying respirator to help during the COVID-19 crisis. Many students are taking time to write letters to agencies such as Friendship Park, Maryhouse, St. John’s Shelter, and elder-care facilities—sending prayers for strength and safety, Easter blessings, and beautiful illustrations. Sr. Libby Fernandez, founder of Mercy Peddlers, wrote to us thanking our students for their letters of hope. She was delivering the letters to the homeless men and women that she encountered on the street.
As I poured over these letters, I was moved by our students’ words of solidarity and encouragement, but what struck me most was the simplicity and substance in one phrase that I read, over and over:
“You are loved by God.”
This message of comfort is repeated often at Homeboy Industries, a gang rehabilitation program in Los Angeles where Jesuit students often spend time during their immersions. Jesuit priest and founder, Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., says in his book, Tattoos on the Heart, “At Homeboy, we try to hold up a mirror and say, ‘Here’s who you are; you’re exactly what God had in mind when He made you.’”
In this time of isolation, we all need help recognizing this truth: that we are exactly what God had in mind when He made us. What a beautiful example of service it is that our students are proclaiming this good news: “You are loved by God!”
By Katie Maynard, Christian Service Faculty