As you may know, I spent my Spring Break in the Holy Land–CRAZY right?? Funny thing is, I didn’t even want to go there in the first place. My first pick was Haiti and I was just scrolling through the other missions and I was like, “sure.. the Holy Land seems rad.” Going on this was a whole new experience for me–I knew no one going on this trip and that is SOOOOOO not me. But God still got me there and I am so glad he did.
When I first got to Nazareth I straight up asked,
“Why me? Why here? I really don’t get it, Lord. You 80% got me here because I am NOT someone who just does this stuff. So, why am I here with this exact group of people, (who I don’t know by the way) on this exact mission–am I meant to know? Of course, I feel like you wanted me to see your home, but something is telling me there is more. I feel like I have been going on these missions, retreats, conferences, etc., and I come back feeling great, but a part of me is still missing. Please help me understand.
He ended up showing me some of the greatest places, greatest people and led me to make some of the greatest memories I will ever have.
As the trip continued, the Lord wrecked my heart even more. As Fr. Jacques Felipe would say, He wounded me with love… A LOT! A major moment on my trip was at the Garden of Gethsemane. We had mass directly around the rock of the Agony. After mass I was talking to a missionary on the trip, John. He said, “y’ all, isn’t it crazy that on that rock, Jesus saw every one of our faces and wept and prayed because he knew we would be here.” I got upset because I was like are you really trying to make me cry right now? I went to pray:
“Jesus, you sat there and asked me to keep watch, and I didn’t care enough to stay awake when you were hurting. How can you still look at me with so much joy and love when I continually fall asleep. You sat on that rock, saw my face flash before your eyes, and you cried and prayed for me. You knew I would make it here so far before I did. I thought I never would. You willingly and joyfully died for me knowing I might never love you back– Lord, give me that type of strength and forgiveness and love.”
So, I realized I am a lot more like Peter than I thought. Thinking about all of this gave me a huge sense of shame. I went back to John and told him that I was feeling really guilty because, why would someone die for me when I fail them so much? He looked into my eyes and said, without hesitation, “because Dev, you are so worth it.” Ok TEARS. I am not a person who is good at receiving things, and him saying this to me made me think and pray a lot for many days to come. I did not realize that I was pushing away the crucifixion. I had been rejecting the humility of the cross and God’s exalting grace for so long. How selfish is that? Praying, the Lord said to me, “I sent my son to be tortured and murdered all because I knew that would mean you would be here.” That is how much we matter y’ all–accept that love He so much longs to give us.