On Saturday, I went to New York Catholic Youth Day at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie. I was lucky to be assigned to cover the event, and took away from it more than just words for an article. I learned an important lesson about myself while I was there from one of the presentations.
“You are blessed.” Those three simple words were incredibly hard for me to say, and even harder for me to hear. I learned that the hard way when Justin Fatica from “Hard as Nails Ministry” asked each person in the audience to hug three people and say those words to them. Fatica explained that difficulties are in fact blessings because when we suffer we are brought closer to Jesus. Since I have been having difficulties lately, that message was hard to accept. I nearly broke down in tears when performing the exercise (okay, maybe I cried a bit): and I was not the only one who was moved to such emotions.
How can suffering bring me closer to Jesus, when I feel as if I am being pushed farther away from him the more difficult life gets? Sometimes I feel that the distance between God and me grows each day. But Fatica said that we have to learn to embrace our struggles and accept them. When we do, we can begin to realize that Jesus is right there with us in our struggles.
Those three words are so important, though, for a solid faith life. We have to learn that no matter what we may think about ourselves, our life, our situation, etc., that we are blessed.