July Reflection

I love summer! By day there’s frisbee, swimming, hiking, picnics, beaches, and bicycles and by night it’s s’mores, citronella-filled tiki torches, and lightening bugs. And I especially love traveling for vacation, camps, and service trips. It’s a season of excitement, fun, and gusto, which I often enjoy experiencing through little expeditions and adventures.

In the midst of adventures I’ve found myself thirsty on an island without a way off for several hours, knee deep in anaerobic marsh mud, and boating through a swamp with alligators. Adventures have risks (and often leave me with a good story) but life begins when you go outside yourself with a sense of intentionality and purpose.

Bigger adventures have trained me to look for littler ones as well, such as introducing myself to a stranger after Mass or being curious enough to learn the about the history and culture of a new place I’m visiting. Adventures express hope for a new encounter and counteract my tendency to pass the hours and days with passivity and boredom.

Ultimately the best adventure we can embark upon is our relationship with God. We don’t have to travel to the ends of the earth to let our heart, mind, and soul encounter His goodness and beauty. This summer, I pray that our activity makes room for a purpose greater than ourselves and that through seeking we are further transformed by grace, the very life of God dwelling in our souls.

Sincerely in Christ,

Tiffany Lambert

Directress, Women Youth Apostles

June Reflection

Today I had an atypical experience of heading to daily Mass on my own. While presently in Northern Virginia, my consecrated sisters had work commitments which prevented our usual morning common life of prayer. I chose to attend a noon Mass, and while the resulting late start to the morning was nice, I also had a “to do” list that needed doing and was unfortunately preoccupying my thoughts on my way into the church.

So when Father announced that this Mass would be a little different from the typical Tuesday of the seventh week of Easter in honor of a married couple in the parish who was celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, I’ll admit my very first thought was about the inconvenience. Would this add 10 or 15 or 20 minutes to the Mass?

Then a grace prompted me to pay close attention to the prayers of the Mass. I’d never been to a vow renewal Mass before, actually. This could be interesting. And the words were beautiful. I was struck with a realization: This is Easter joy, and this is Church! What better way or time to celebrate union than as the Body of Christ, in the Easter season.

My next realization was that my “to do” list wasn’t all too unrelated to the experience of this Mass. A lot of my time has been spent recently planning for ministry and a particular focus has been on how to have honest conversations with young people about vocation. While of course I want young people to engage more with and be open to consecrated life, I ultimately want young people to see God calls them to sacrificial love in any vocation, and to help them see this in married life, too.

In Father’s homily today, he said to the honored couple, “Your union says that love is possible. Love that is unconditional. That commitment is possible. You bear a special witness of Christ’s love for the Church.” I prayed, Lord, this is what I long for young people to know. This love that comes from you.

The closing blessing contained the words “May God bless you with joy…May He be always with you in good times and in bad…May the Holy Spirit always fill you with His love.” These words were not specifically addressed to the honored couple, but to the entirety of the congregation, the Church, the Bride of Christ. That we are His bride is something He said Himself.
I pray that Jesus would remind each of us in some way of His love and His promises. I pray also that we would recommit our own love to Him and to those He has called us to in our vocations, communities and apostolates; That we would recognize our special witness of Christ’s love for the Church.
May God bless each of you with joy, may He always be with you in good times and in bad, and may the Holy Spirit always fill you with His love.

Sincerely in Christ,
Krysti Patient
Assistant Director, Women Youth Apostles

May Reflection

Alleluia! He is Risen! Last Saturday we gathered with family, friends, and supporters at our 3rd Spring Tea. Moments like this prompt reflection on the work God is doing in and through our community and it was beautiful to see the grace of the Resurrection continuing in our midst today.

The Resurrection was communicated to the disciples in surprising and life-giving ways. Jesus conquered sin. Jesus conquered death. Jesus conquered hell. And instead of the pageantry of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, He sought people out personally, intentionally, and quietly. When I glimpse the awe-inspiring magnitude of the Resurrection, my instinct is to throw a party with fanfare and celebration.

But Jesus came to pour the grace of the Resurrection into hearts and souls, so He appears to women at the tomb, disciples leaving Jerusalem, and apostles in the Upper Room. It is very powerful to encounter Christ and hear a call to share the Good News. But to discover Jesus is doing a similar work in another’s heart is a double blessing because you are able to rest in the assurance that it is His work and not something you are manufacturing.

The joyful power of God’s work imparting new life in ways we could not have generated on our own is something Women Youth Apostles continues to experience in the growth of our community, the work of our ministry, and the renewed support of our family, friends and benefactors. May we all continue to bring the light, joy, and power of the Resurrection in new, hidden, and personal ways to a world in need, and through this may we find ourselves in deeper awe of the mystery of God’s plan of loving goodness!

Sincerely in Christ,
Tiffany Lambert
Directress, Women Youth Apostles

April Reflection

Recently, I took part in a training course on ‘Listening to Understand’. The participants were mostly campus ministry staff, but not entirely, so the approach was not overtly faith-based. In an early group discussion about the concept of respect, I offered the truth of the inherent dignity of the human person which should afford all with a right to be heard and understood, even loved. A woman with no ministry background responded, “that’s… beautiful” with tears in her eyes, elaborating that she had never heard that before. She ached for that truth.

Last month I was with one of seven Alternative Spring Break trips from Virginia Tech’s Catholic Campus Ministry. My group spent time in DC with the Little Sisters of the Poor caring for the elderly poor, and in Alderson, WV with the Alderson Hospitality House ministering to the families of women incarcerated in the federal prison down the road. There was a common thread between each ministry- hospitality. Incidentally our group spent a lot of our evening reflection time diving into our faith and hospitality, into care for the other.

It was clear that the elderly we spent time with in DC knew the truth of their human dignity, thanks to the care of the Little Sisters. One of the sisters referred to a resident with the words, “She is God’s special one.” It was a privilege to offer our own care in our short time with them, and to see the college women on my trip offer this care generously and authentically in the form of conversation over lunch or ice cream or coffee, games, piano playing, wheelchair pushing and arts and crafts.
In Alderson at the Hospitality House, the families we spent time with knew this truth because they hold onto it for their loved ones which the world often forgets or condemns. But they also seemed to ache for affirmation of the truth they believed for their sisters, mothers and wives. It was a joy to look around at the tables at dinner to see my students spread out to sit with each family and the room was filled with laughter and life. This joy was a manifestation of the goodness of these family visits, too easily overshadowed by the hardship of the situation. One of the House’s directors, to a family member leaving for visitation at the prison for the first time, left his work to offer some final words of encouragement. “Enjoy your visit! Have fun!”

My prayer these past weeks has been for the Lord Jesus to show me this joy. I have prayed with such gratitude in my prayer for the hospitality and care others have shown me. I have also prayed that the Lord Jesus would show me the loneliness, vulnerability and fear in those around me and in my ministry; to show me where hearts ache for the truth of their worth, for love. And I have prayed that the Lord Jesus would use me to heal some of that, to provide care in a spirit of joy and hospitality, especially to young people in my ministry. I have prayed that the college women I served with on our ASB trip would desire the same and offer joyful service in their daily lives as they did on spring break.

I pray that in these remaining weeks of Lent that you ache for the joy of Easter, and that this ache would manifest itself in care for those around you who need it. I pray that we would all share this truth of our human dignity which is beautiful and good, especially with those who have never heard it or do not believe it. This is a truth which Jesus came to die for and redeem.
Sincerely in Christ,

Krysti Patient
Assistant Director, Women Youth Apostles

March Reflection

At some point last week I became aware of two things: #1 Lent was just around the corner and #2 I didn’t have a plan. I knew I didn’t want to try to take up a random act of self-denial. Recently God has shown me in some gentle but clear ways how much I rely on self-will and honestly I’m pretty done with putting in a lot of effort to eventually experience not a lot more than my own limitations.

So I first called to mind the reason why the Church offers us the disciplines of almsgiving, fasting, and prayer. Together they help us direct our entire being back to God: our external goods back to Him through almsgiving, our bodies back to Him through fasting, our souls back to Him through prayer. Then I began to ponder what these things looked like from God’s perspective and it led to a deeper appreciation of His generosity and desire for communion with each of us.

What is God’s almsgiving? The entire created universe, in all its glory, beauty, and wonder is freely given to us to know that there is a Creator and He is good. What is fasting from God’s perspective? He deeply desires to be united to us and yet restrains Himself from forcing this desire on us so as to not overwhelm our freedom. He invites and patiently awaits our response. And finally, how does God experience prayer? For Him it is joy, union, and love. The Catechism puts it this way, “Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours.” Ironically, when we open ourselves to Him and begin to experience just how much we need Him, in the midst of our dryness we are quenching His thirst to be in relationship with us.

My prayer for each of us this Lent is that our almsgiving, fasting, and prayer goes beyond the human experience of these disciplines and is transformed into deeper communion with the One who enters into His own way of almsgiving, fasting, and prayer with overflowing generosity in order for us to know His love.

Sincerely in Christ,

Tiffany Lambert
Directress, Women Youth Apostles

February Reflection

Recently I had to run an errand at Tysons Corner Center on a busy Sunday afternoon. I needed to grab lunch and shortly after sitting down, found myself across from two young college students. They seemed a bit shy but friendly, and I could sense the Lord prompting me to start a conversation. This was confirmed almost immediately as one of them bowed their head to say grace and made the Sign of the Cross. “Hi, I’m Tiffany,” I said with a smile, and the conversation evolved naturally from there.

We talked about where they go to school, they asked what I do for a living, and we talked about where we are from. Having learned they both grew up in Vietnam, I asked them what the one thing they found the most different when they came to the United States. Until this point, the conversation had mostly gone back and forth between myself and one of the girls. Now the other girl answered so quickly and definitely, I was almost startled. “It’s so lonely.” There was a long silence and three pairs of eyes looked down as we digested the honesty and pain in her statement and in our own memories. The words of St. Teresa of Calcutta flashed through my mind “America suffers most from the poverty of loneliness.” “Back in my home country,” she continued, “everyone opens their doors in the morning and you see your neighbors.”

The only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love.

–St. Teresa of Calcutta

This is one of the reasons it seems so providential that we have been called not just to form Women Youth Apostles, but have a vision to minister to young people in a way that helps them become community for each other. Please pray that every one of our ministries will continue to help young people see that they are not alone, but rather are known, loved, and have great reason to be filled with hope in God’s promises.

 

Sincerely in Christ,

Tiffany Lambert

Directress, Women Youth Apostles

January Reflection

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! The Christmas Season ends with two beautiful celebrations – the Epiphany when we recall the visit of the Magi and the Baptism of the Lord. Both point to how the Lord can be both manifest and hidden at different moments in our lives.

 At the Epiphany, God intervened in the lives of the Magi with clear and direct signs. The star “that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was” (Matt 2:9). You may have had a particular moment when you clearly knew God’s presence and intervention in your life. Through an extraordinary set of circumstances and as clearly manifest as the words before you now, you knew that God was real and was working for your good. These moments of great grace are gifts we should cherish and recall with love.

 On the other hand, through his Baptism, Jesus allows himself to be completely identified with sinful humanity. He enters into this act of repentance, not because he has sinned, but because he has come to redeem us. Sometimes Jesus’ humility almost allows his divinity to be hidden from sight, seeming to leave us searching with no other guide than the interior light of faith.

 As we enter into 2019, I pray that we are able to both follow God’s clear manifestations with deepened wonder and to continue searching in moments when the Light of the World appears to be buried in the depths of our limited world.

Sincerely in Christ,

Tiffany Lambert

Directress, Women Youth Apostles

 

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