Going Viral: The son that never strayed

By Samantha Apanasewicz

The Born of the Spirit retreat is up and coming on campus. I fell under the influence of the advertisements too: approaches from behind JC tables, flyers hung everywhere, etc. 

Never having been on BOS myself, the first thing I think of is the Catholic charismatic movement. 

Before stepping foot on campus freshman year, I was unaware of the spectrum of charismatic to traditional Catholics. Even now the variety is still somewhat of a new concept.  

The second thing I think of are conversion testimonies. Stereotypically, I imagine a retreat lead giving a talk about their conversion to the Church, how they lived their life away from Christ and how He called them back to Himself. 

One doesn’t have to leap very far to arrive at the parable of the Prodigal Son here.  

Those who have experienced these red-hot conversions continue forward with this unique passion for Christ, a passion of a kind I have not experienced, nor have I felt I ever needed to. 

As a cradle Catholic, the Church was the framework by which I understood creation. Of course it had to be true. It was all I’d ever known.  

To those charismatic Catholics on campus who throw their whole life, body and soul into mission teams, retreats, households and other various outreaches: that was never me. That lamp was never lit. 

Which made me wonder, should that be me? Should I be one of the students spending a summer in the western United States secluded away on mission for the pure intention of growing closer to the Lord?  

After all, I was, and am, the son who stayed. I was born into the Church, baptized and confirmed. 

I went to Catholic middle and high school. Now I’m at a thoroughly Catholic college. Christ’s presence has always been quite visible to me. 

But on the flip side, what does being the son who never strayed gain me? The Lord always seems to grant extraordinary grace upon ones who left and have now returned.  

Perhaps He is more excited about the others than He is about me.  

Where is that passion, that drive, that on-fire, nothing-can-get-me-down attitude of the Franny girl that screams “God is good!” across the cafeteria? I don’t seem to have it, and I never have.

How do I, as a cradle Catholic, fall in love with God in a way that rivals the love of the converts?  

Or perhaps I’m asking the wrong question. Maybe I should be asking, how can I, the son who has always been, grow into that role?

One of the things that I find so glorious about God is that he never calls two people to the same mission. We are all unique in every way. 

Yes, God holds those converts in the highest esteem and is always glad they found Him and His mercy. But just because they were called in that particular way does not mean that there is one sure-fire path to holiness. 

Sons of the house, keep the faith as you always have. Sons of the field, we welcome you with open arms alongside our Father. 

God calls all of us individually to heaven, but we all don’t have to walk the same trail.   

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