Our Program Director for Campus Ministry, Don Romsa, shared the following blessing for the new academic year with all ELCA campus ministry staff across the country. It's attributed to St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Theresa of Avila, and the words beautifully sum the prayers of many who are just now diving in to the college experience, some for the first time, and others after years of service as faculty and staff.
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
These words inspired me, not just as a prayer, but as a commissioning to enter in to the vocation of education. With that in mind, there's the following reflections flow out of this engagement with St. Thérèse, St. Theresa, and Don,
As you enter campus this year, perhaps for the first time or perhaps once again since time immemorial,
may you find an exciting conviction that God has called you here.
Try new things.
Consider the value of other opinions and others' beliefs.
Discuss your differences.
Be shaped by coursework and relationships.
Take risks when you can.
Face your fear.
Find safety when you need it.
Have fun that doesn't threaten your life and health.
Go to class and know that there's much more to this place than class.
Research, but not just in the lab.
Read, but not just the assignments.
Ask questions of professors and cooks, of housekeepers and administrators.
Thank the people that are serving you.
Confront hate with love.
Confront evil with good.
When you succeed, celebrate that with humility.
Appreciate the people who helped get you here.
When you fall, get back up.
When you're hurt, let others help you find healing.
Don't do this alone.
We're better off together.
Seek knowledge and wisdom and learn the difference between the two.
God has called you here.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.