It’s crazy to think that, in less than nine hours, I will be in Rome.
It’s even crazier to realize that, when this article is published, I will have already experienced both Rome and Assisi, two places that seemed like such a far-fetched dream that might never be actualized due to COVID-19.
Who will I be in a little over a week? How will God transform my life over the next 10 days? If he can do much in 10 days, what will he do over the course of an entire semester?
This semester is different for sure; the calendar is certainly different from past semesters, we have to navigate COVID-19 testing in foreign countries and at the Kartause, and we have the ever-present fear of someone testing positive for COVID-19. It’s a miracle that I’m even on this bus at 2 a.m., having just crossed into Italy.
As different and difficult as it is, every student is here for a purpose. God called each person to this place, a place so full of holiness and blessing where saints have walked.
And yes, we know saints walked among the Kartause halls; there are incorrupt brothers buried here. It’s such a surreal feeling, one of peace and awe that I have not felt anywhere else. Maybe Rome or Assisi will top that feeling, but there is something special about our home in the Austrian hills.
We all came here searching for something, and we all want to be transformed in some way. If we are open to it, God will transform us. He will transform the craziness and total unknown of this semester into something gloriously unpredictable.
A personal motto of mine is, “If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it.” While this semester has already been full of challenges, God will bring us through it. Already, he has kept the border of Italy open for us to experience the beauty of Rome and Assisi. His timing and his plans are perfect.
Yes, coming to Austria is a call. It’s not an easy transition; classes are difficult and certainly keep you busy, and it’s easy to get burnt out from the travel bug.
I’ve found myself missing so many things about main campus, and I’ve asked God so many times why he called me here this semester. And yet, I already know the answer in a way; every area that needs improvement in my life has been called out and challenged. I know he wants me to grow and dive deeper into the faith. He wants me to ask the difficult questions.
We are on sacred ground; well, actually I’m on a bus. But in less than nine hours, I’ll be standing in the middle of a city where saints walked, including some of the apostles and earliest martyrs.
After that, I’ll be walking streets where St. Francis, St. Clare and others lived and died. And when this article is published, I’ll be back in a place where countless unnamed saints lived in silence amidst towering hills. This semester is sacred and full of blessing.
How will we be transformed? That answer can’t be quite answered yet, but it will be. All in God’s time.