Welcome to our Vocation E-News – Issue VIII

Director of Vocations, Brothers of Holy CrossDear Friends,

I Have This Hope.

As Vocation Director for the Congregation of Holy Cross, I headed off to the West Coast in June to participate in two retreats: one for Holy Cross students, the other for me!

During the first week, students and their chaperones from five Holy Cross schools gathered at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif., for an “immersion” experience. These young people — and their not so young teachers — slept on the floor of the school gym (well, the students stayed up late talking while the adults tried to sleep!).

The group “immersed” themselves in some of the challenges facing people in the San José region. We visited Catherine’s Services, a residential program for women who are transitioning out of prison. These incredibly courageous women shared their personal stories, highlighting the many ways that God and other people have walked with them on their journey to starting a new life. There were lots of tears! We served others at a housing complex for families moving out of shelters, battled overgrown thistle that was choking out the fruit trees at an organic farm and spent the day at a local agency that distributes food and clothing to area residents. There were also surprises — lunch from In & Out (double doubles!) and an afternoon of games at a local beach.

Overall, this annual immersion experience allows us to put our faith into practice. We began each morning with a short reading from the Gospel and then reflected on those same words in the evening. The theme for our retreat was, “I Have This Hope,” and indeed we became Holy Cross men and women who brought a little bit of hope to others who need it.

Pictures speak better than words, so check out this slide show of the Holy Cross Immersion. 

Now it was time for my retreat! I had always wanted to do an intensive meditation retreat and was lucky that there was one being led locally by a Catholic priest who was also a Zen “roshi” or spiritual leader. For the next week, I practiced “zazen,” pondering the nature of experience and the mind. The goal is to live fully in the present moment, not distracted by memories of the past or anxiety about the future. This is truly a biblical mandate, for Psalm 46:10 tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” And, I was still! We meditated on both cushions and in chairs for 16 30-minute meditation periods every day. The end result?  I left knowing even more deeply that God has called me to a wonderfully fulfilling life as a Holy Cross brother!

What is God calling you to do with your life?!

Peace,

Bro. Jonathan Beebe, CSC