This upcoming weekend my fiancé and I are going on our Engaged Encounter Weekend. Being engaged and preparing for the holy Sacrament of Matrimony is not an easy task. In fact, I find it very similar to being in a relationship with Jesus. See, during the engagement period, one must:
- Register for all the nicest and numerous gifts (that a youth minister can never personally afford)
- Plan for all the people, places, things, and stuff that goes into a wedding day (or weekend)
- Take all the classes and attend all the seminars such as Natural Family Planning, FOCCUS testing and analysis and Marital Communication Courses
And don’t forget, all of the above-mentioned takes place because two people fell in love. In the midst of all the planning and preparing, it is east for the two lovebirds to forget why they decided to get married in the first place. I wonder if that same thing happens to some of us who work in youth ministry. We fall in love with our Lord Jesus and only want to spend time with Him. Then we feel called to spend the rest of our lives being with Him and telling teenagers about His love for us. Before we know it, all of the budgets, calendars, bulletin articles, website updates, planning meetings, staff meetings, and clean-up-of-the-hall-on-Monday-morning (after the messy game night for the incoming Freshman) becomes our relationship with the Lord. It becomes a relationship of doing, rather than being.
I propose (pun intended!) that we examine our relationship with the Lord and answer these questions, “Am I forgetting the reason why and how I fell in love with the Lord that made me want to serve Him?” One thing that I’ve learned is that I occasionally have to stop worrying about what color towels will match our future Master Bedroom bathroom with our bedroom sheets. I’ve learned to occasionally drop all of that and spend some quality time with my bride-to-be. Likewise, we have to rekindle the love that got us started in the ministry in the first place. So what did I do to rekindle the love that my fiancée and I share? I cooked dinner and rented a movie. Simple as that. Maybe it’s time you did a few of these simple things to rekindle the flame between you and the Lord:
- Read your journal from a previous retreat you attended
- Write a love letter to Jesus
- Write a love letter from Jesus to you
- Spend some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament
- Wake up early to see the sunrise and think of the Resurrection
- Practice Lectio Divina with Sacred Scripture
- Go on a retreat – for yourself!
As people keep reminding me, “marriage is a lifetime, the wedding is a day.” Well, our relationship with Jesus should last a lifetime – well beyond the ministry He has called you to for today. It is time to stop thinking about what are you doing, and instead pray about how are you being. Right now – take some time to fall back in love with our Lord and say “I do” once again to being His beloved.