I am a creature of habit. Everyday I take the same route to and from school. With several routes available, I stick to the same one.
I do not notice detail. I can pass by the same object or place day in and day out and not notice some obvious detail.
One late afternoon back in November while driving home from school on my all-too-familiar route, I was crying out to God with a burden laying heavy on my heart. I begged Him to show me that He was in this with me.
“God, I need to know you’ve got this one.”
As I turned off of Division onto Mission, there it was! High up in the sky were two crosses atop a church all lit up. It was as if I’d seen them for the first time ever. For a split second I thought they’d erected a new building. Then I realized that I was looking at the two crosses atop St. Aloysius Church on the GU campus. They were lit up for what I thought must have been just for the Christmas season. Come to find out, they are lit up year round.
At that moment, I was not only surprised with a sight that I’d never noticed or paid attention to, but also by the almost audible message…
“I’ve got this one.”
As suddenly as I had turned the corner, I felt His peace. A sign. A confirmation. High in the sky.
From that afternoon on, I don’t pass through that neighborhood without searching out my two crosses of hope.
Since then, I’ve been drawn to that campus to look at it more closely and take photographs. I’ve tried to get there at different times of the day in different light. I’m not one to do things alone, but this place draws me in.
One day as I walked around and took pictures, I stopped to notice the statue of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga that stands in front of the church.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was a Patron Saint of Youth. He died at the age of 23 assisting the sick during a plague. A short life well-lived.
My visits to this beautiful spot have drawn me into some reflection around my own life.
Moving too quickly through life causes blindness to things around that God wants to use to bless and speak to me. While my life has gone on longer than St. Al’s, am I able to say that it has been well-lived? While I’m not a patron saint of anything, can He still use me? If there were a statue erected for me after my passing, what would the placard at the base say about me and my life? Would people be drawn in to read and reflect, as I’ve done? Would my life have left an imprint that caused people to stop and think about what story they will be leaving?
This 23 year old boy left such a legacy in his few short years, that a Jesuit university was named after him.
I’m not looking for a university to memorialize me, but it draws me in to think about what I’m leaving behind. How am I making a difference in this life I’ve been given? Am I on auto-pilot and not even able to notice where I can be of service and make a difference?
I’m looking up and around more these days. Yesterday morning, as I returned home from an early appointment, I made a stop at St. Al’s with my camera and then took an unfamiliar road along the river home. A road I’d never been on. For it may be on those roads that I find more of my purpose in life as I continue to build my legacy.