This weekend at the Steubenville Conference in Atlanta was absolutely amazing. I’m still processing everything that I encountered last weekend. Throughout the duration of the event, we were surrounded by about 1,300 people in the Gwinette Center. It was a bit crazy at times, but it was inspiring to see so many teenagers come from all over the United States and outside the country to grow in their faith. I was ridiculously excited when I found out Mark Hart was one of the speakers! He’s one of my LifeTeen role models (besides Jackie Francois)! Any who, it was a wonderful weekend full of prayer, work shops, and Eucharistic adoration.
I had a few highs and lows during the weekend:
1) No one, for the love of all things beautiful, believed that I was an adult. Seriously, I’m twenty-three, I have a stable job, and I’m married. It was incredibly annoying at times, but even through much of my frustration, I had a super awesome experience during my personal adoration time.
(So, I love this picture because at one point I was standing between Cal, Pat, and Fr. Kevin. I’m just ridiculously short compared to all of them!)
(Heather joined me in my suffering. Hardly anyone believed that we are adults. We were interceded by our youth minister many a time.)
2) The president of LifeTeen sat next to me during mass! Oh, and here’s the kicker, I had no idea until our youth minister told me later that day. I just thought he was a friendly stranger just grabbing a seat. It was funny, I was told that the seats infront of me and the two beside me were reserved and I let him sit next to me anyway…I wasn’t going to say no, it was for mass. After he and his son sat down I turned to Heather and said, “Whelp, those seats are gone.” I’m so happy he didn’t hear that, lol.
3) Adoration was absolutely amazing. I honestly wish I could think of better words to describe it. I remembered at the Savannah Diocesan Youth Conference, Fr. Ortega said,”this is the moment when Heaven kisses Earth” and it has been impossible for me to see mass or adoration the same way ever since. I’ve been debating on and off whether or not I would share my writing from holy hour. I had to stop writing during adoration because I just kept being called to kneel and pray:
“Oh beauty divine and ever ancient, here I am. Just me. I’m weak, broken, tired, and torn. Please hear the longing of my soul. My heart cries to you. Why have I been so afraid to fall on you? Forgive me for my weakness and doubt. Heal me, please. I long for you.”
Saint Faustina once said, “He who knows how to forgive prepares for himself many graces from God. As often as I look upon the cross, so often will I forgive with all my heart.” For me, just letting go is something I have always struggled with, but this time, it felt like I was finally able to do it. Seriously, I started crying before they put Jesus in the monstrance. I just knew that adoration was going to be beautiful. I always get teary eyed when I see so many youth praying and worshiping God-seeing the beauty of the Church grabs my heart every time.
4) I met the nicest nun! She is one of the Missionaries of Charity. It took me the entire weekend to sum up enough courage to talk to her. You know, introvert problems. She gave me a Mother Teresa Medal and a prayer card. Seriously, if I had never married I probably would have joined the Missionaries of Charity or the Benedictine Sisters. Nuns are just awesome.
I wish I could write more about this weekend, but I’m still processing a few things.