Monday, August 22, 2005

The Magi

Well, World Youth Day has passed and now hopefully those pilgrims who attended will have safe trips home and will continue to respond to the graces they received on their trip. We're also excited about WYD2008 in Sydney - my sister and I are determined to go (send money!).

I tried very hard during this WYD to be united in prayer with the pilgrims in Cologne. And the more I think about it, the more I see how fitting it is that the Magi - those 3 wise men from the East - were patrons of this gathering of young people. Not only did they come to worship the Lord, they had to struggle to get there - they saw their destination, but at the same time they didn't know where it was. If their story isn't the story of young people, then I don't know what is.

This is my final year of college and as excited as I am about it, I'm also very nervous. Am I sure the majors I've chosen and dedicated 3 years to studying are actually what I want to pursue after college? What if I don't find a job right away? Where do I want to live - in Louisiana with my family, in Maryland with my friends, somewhere else?

I vaguely see my destination: Of course, THE destination is Heaven. But more proximately my destination is a job in print or online media that allows me to be engaged with the issues of today, that challenges me, but that also gives me time with my family and friends, that complements my life in Christ and that doesn't demand so much of my time that I feel torn between it and family.

But how do I get there? Do I go into hard news reporting at a MSM newspaper like I had originally planned and, if so, do I follow a good job anywhere in the country? Or do I go into Catholic media? If so, what kind of Catholic media? Diocesan, independent? Should I pursue a rather wild dream of creating my own online magazine/interactive website? And if I do, should I do that right away or should I work somewhere else first to save up money?

And I'm sure my own wrestling with these issues is repeateded over and over and over in the lives of young people around the world, who struggle with turning their dreams into reality and with finding the place over which their star shines.

Of course, the star in each of our lives is the light of Christ. We are each a creation of the mind and heart of God, so He is the one leading us on to the things that will give glory to Him.

But when the Magi saw the star appear in the sky, they knew only that it lay to the west of them. They didn't know that it hung over that one house in that one small town of Bethlehem. At its first rising, it could have appeared as far away as Rome or as close as the Tigris. But their destination was the star, and they would follow it where ever it would lead them. So they packed up their things, mounted those camels (or donkeys or horses or whatever) and headed west.

So what do young people have to learn from the Magi? Quite a bit.

The first thing is to head west, young man, and know that the Lord's grace will shine forth when you have reached your destination. And what a destination it will be - an encounter with Christ Himself.