A few days ago I took 25 of my seniors on a retreat with Crossroad’s Ministry in downtown Louisville. What an awesome experience!
They are learning about Catholic Social Teachings. How to basically be Jesus Christ in the world today. It is not how to give money, and “service hours” to others, but how to recognize that “others” are not truly “others” but us. We have more similarities than we do differences. It is about making relationships with people and not putting them into boxes and categories. It is about loving people where they are, for who they are, having a love so great that we love everyone.
We went to two different organizations that help people who are of low income levels one for the elderly the other for mentally disabled adults. Then we ate at a local Catholic Soup kitchen. We walked the streets of Louisville and opened our eyes to a different part of our city. Each student was able to meet and talk to at least one stranger to talk about life and their interests. My students had the rare opportunity to stop judging and just become friends with people out of their comfort zones. It is this kind of experience that can change a person for a lifetime if they open their hearts to it.
We live in such a divided world that culturally it is accepted to section ourselves off from those who are different. But this experience allowed the students to learn for themselves that although their new friends are different, they are really just people like the rest of us. They want to be heard, seen, acknowledged, talked to, laughed with, and more than anything just like us they simply want to be loved.
I pray that this experience and the people who they met will change their hearts and put a face on the marginalized of our society. I hope it inspires each one of them to work for the justice, peace, and love that Jesus Christ came here to teach us to give.