On Saturday we were blessed to have had two of our mission communities meet each other. Our youth group from Buenos Aires came with us to Nuevo Control for our monthly class.
On Monday of last week I, Katie, had our confirmation class with members of the youth group who are preparing for confirmation. There are four young men who are preparing to be confirmed in December.
Our topic last week was prayer. We discussed what is prayer, the importance of prayer and how sometimes our prayer life can show us we need to go to confession.
****Isn't that interesting? Our prayer life can in fact point to our need to go to the sacrament of confession. How can it do that? When we have sin we have shame and when we have shame we tend to hide from the One who has no sin, God! We act just like our first parents did after the fall. We read in Genesis 3:8 'And they heard the sound of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.'
But how exactly can we hide from God? We don't run and hide ourselves amongst trees like Adam and Eve did because our interaction with God today is different than how they experienced it. Our "walking with God" is in the form of prayer. We come together with Him when we go to Him in prayer. It is when we take time to have conversations with Him by talking to Him and by listening to Him. But all too often when we have sin on our hearts we turn away from God due to the shame we feel. We know that we can not be united with God if we are not perfect and sin shows us just how far from perfect we are. So instead of running to God asking for His help, mercy and forgiveness, we run away from Him and to other things. We focus our free time in other things. We neglect these opportunities to speak with Him. We may stop reading the Bible and we might dive deeper into a sin that has ahold of us.
I am first to admit that I am a sinner. I am not perfect. And I due neglect my relationship with God when a sin is marked on my soul. I let my prayer time slip throughout the day. I spend more time focussing on other things throughout the day. Things that just are not important but are now the number one priority in my life. I always tend to end up organizing something that doesn't need to be organised or I create a spreadsheet for something which was not necessary. Why? Because I am ashamed. I am embarrassed of how I have let God down. And no matter how hard I try I keep ending up here hiding from God. I also get frustrated faster, I am definitely more cross, I smile less, and have misplaced my joy.
It is only when I take time to on why I am so cross that I realize my prayer time is completely lacking. And when I realize my prayer time has faltered is when I can see I need to go to confession. When I make this connection I want to run to Picota for mass and confession as soon as I can, which sometimes can end up being a week or more due to the fact we have only two priests who have 134 pueblos.****
After I shared my testimony with the teenagers they all quickly decided they needed to go to confession. The earliest we could all get to mass was Saturday so we made plans to go to confession, mass and then we would have dinner and a study on the vocational call.
It wasn't until Wednesday that I realized what I had just done. I had scheduled to take the youth group to confessions and mass on the same day as our monthly ministry in Nuevo Control. There was no way we would be able to drive two hours to Nuevo Control, have our lesson, drive two hours to Buenos Aires to pick up the youth group and then arrive in Picota for confessions and mass. I couldn't cancel either of the commitments so we were going to have to improvise.
I let the youth group know that the truck would be leaving at 2:00 to head to Nuevo Control. If they wanted to go to mass they would have to join us for our ministry and then we would go to mass.
Saturday was a cold and rainy day. Of course the worst rainstorm in months happened that day. But at 2:00 nine teenagers were eagerly waiting at our door to join us in Nuevo Control. Thankfully the rain was finished and the road wasn't horrible.
I spoke of Nuevo Control in my last blog. They are a fairly new faith community which we helped start. Our once a month ministry consists of formation as well as teaching them hymns. This is where the youth group came in. Our youth choir practices once a week. It is led by a friend of ours, Roberto Carlos. He has taught a few of the members to play instruments. We have a guitarist and two drummers. The youth spent Wednesday through Saturday practicing hymns to teach the community. They did such a good job! We were so proud of them. Taylor led formation and we ended with another song. It was so cool to bring these two communities together.
We made it to Picota for mass and confessions. The four young men went to confession. Our vocational call study was very blessed over dinner. They had many good questions. I ask that you keep these nine young people in your prayers as they discern their personal vocational call. Please pray especially for three of the young men. Two are feeling called to the priesthood and have made an informational seminarian retreat while the other young man is feeling called to marriage. Please pray for strength and wisdom in their continued discernment and their ability to say 'Yes' to God. Please also pray for their chastity and purity. Please pray for the young women as they discern God's call for them. Please especially pray they are able to see the dignity God has given them and for the ability to allow no one to strip it from them. ~Katie