By: Brian W. Steuber
Gonzaga University: Junior Studying Computer Science
Growing up Catholic, I was excited about participating in the SEEK21 event with thousands of others around the world, and I’m so glad that I did as it rejuvenated my faith! In the past year, I have found my faith life declining. My prayer life has been subpar, and I have not been giving God the love and worship he deserves. Instead, I would focus on myself and put other things like work, school, and extracurricular activities before God. My aspirations going into the SEEK21 event weekend were to once again spark this fire in my heart for Jesus and to reshape my soul for the better. Attending the event in person at Ross Point, Idaho, with the FOCUS missionaries and students from the University of Idaho, University of Montana, and Eastern Washington University was such a blessing. I am so grateful I was able to attend this event and take away key points to help me be more optimistic.
The SEEK21 speaker talks made me think deeply about the way I am living my life. The talk by FOCUS Founder Curtis Martin, How do I Evangelize? really hit home for me, especially when he said, “Seek the Kingdom of God first and then letting other things fall into place.” Wow. I have it backwards! I have been putting everything before God and have not taken the time to deepen my relationship with him. Curtis asked , “Are you sold out for God?” I feel like God for me has been a convenience and I have not been “all in” for Him. Curtis then talked about how when you are sold out for God you will bear fruit. This has motivated me to do a daily examen in my journal, read scripture more frequently, and go to the chapel more to better my relationship with Christ. I am excited to accept Christ’s invitation and go “all in” for him.
I cherished the time that I had to break down the keynotes with my small group. During our small group time, we discussed the keynotes and connected them to our everyday lives. Dr. Jonathan Reyes mentioned in his keynote, “The greatest modern poverty in the modern world is isolation.” I took this to heart because I think this could not be truer. I believe COVID-19 has instilled fear and loneliness in people, which in turn has led to a sense of chaos in society.
One piece of scripture that serves as a solution to this issue is the parable of the mustard seed, which shows even the smallest of seeds can grow into the greatest of all shrubs. If we allow Jesus to come into our hearts and be positive during this low, who knows where it will take us. The fellowship and companionship I felt during the small group time made me grateful I have a community of people that I can talk to about difficult matters.
I also experience Christ’s love and the Holy Spirit by myself in silence. I experienced Christ in silence at SEEK21 was during the Worldwide Prayer Vigil, when I was lucky enough to adore the Blessed Sacrament in person.
Eucharistic adoration is one of my favorite parts of Catholicism because I can have one-on-one time with Jesus right in front of me. I prayed about different aspects of my life, however, in the process I got caught up in the ways that I have fallen short. I gave all my shortcomings to Jesus and asked for His forgiveness. He told me to write down 10 things I was grateful for. This was very therapeutic for me because I usually am too focused on what I do not have, instead of what I do have.
SEEK21 taught me to be thankful for the things I can control and surrender everything else to God. Through the keynotes, speakers, time with small group and Eucharistic adoration, SEEK21 better equipped my “spiritual toolbox” so that I can go out and evangelize. God called me to go on this trip for a reason and I feel it was a big step in my long journey of life trying to follow in the footsteps of Christ.