Monday, February 29, 2016

Reflections on the Spring Retreat by Daniel Yan

Over the weekend of Feb.12th, the Christian Association at the University of Pennsylvania went to the Poconos Mountains for its annual winter retreat. We left campus at 7:30pm and arrived at the retreat house around 10pm.
                  Leaving the overwhelming University City is always refreshing because it reminds you that there is something on Earth that is other than Huntsman, Van Pelt or Smokes.
                  During the retreat, as the retreat theme stated, we had a lot of discussions about what it means to relax with God and to live freely and happily following God’s guidance. However, implementing them in life is way harder than you think. We are always carried away by the materialistic things in this world.  And most of time we are chasing after those things not because we are selfish, but because we were born with responsibilities. We have seen our family members sacrificing their dreams and money so that we can chase ours. It will be hard to choose when your responsibilities are not resonating with God’s calling.  When that time comes, please pray and open your ears up to God, and listen to what he thinks you should do. As Scott said during the discussion, “Mother Teresa’s life is not for everyone.” For most of us, committing our entire life to love and help people is not a feasible option but that is not the only way you can help to make this word a more loving place. Tell your family that you love them every day; ask the people walking next to you how they are. Anything counts and everything matters.
                  Another discussion I felt mind blown was when Catalina and Arianna brought up that no matter how many times they try to help others, they never felt satisfied afterwards. In mother Teresa’s 1971 Nobel Peace Prize reception speech, she said, “And we read that in the Gospel very clearly - love as I have loved you - as I love you - as the Father has loved me, I love you - and the harder the Father loved him, he gave him to us, and how much we love one another, we, too, must give each other until it hurts.” I guess it is pretty self-explanatory that’s why someone has never felt satisfied after helping others. It also works with everything else in the world that fulfilling satisfaction is never together with comfort. As to whether we should commit our life to finding this particular satisfaction, as discussed above, is another story.

                  Every time I walk into the Christian Association house and see the slogan of “At the CA, you get to be whoever the heck you are,” I can’t help think of how blessed I am to be around this diverse, engaging community which, instead of telling you what is right, constantly guides you to find the truth. The Christian Association is showing the campus that you can have it both ways this time – your faith and your identity.

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