The great tidal wave of university life has been taking me along a fascinating ride thus far. In general, I feel as though I am still getting a feel for my role as a priest in the world of ASU.
But there have been so many wonderful moments. Students react and grow so fast to things that we as priests say and do. Some students that I met in the fall, honestly, I hardly recognize, so much have they grown and changed (for the better, I think). It's less a testament to our job as priests, and more to students' malleability and God's grace at this time of their lives.
Yesterday, my day off, I was walking "incognito" around some parts of campus I had not seen yet. I was simply observing the students walk around. There is a strange sadness here, a malaise--even on a bright sunny day as students walk around the "farmer's market." A report I saw the other day said that 43% of college students struggle with depression. Wierd, that statistic kept popping into my mind as I spectated a normal Tuesday afternoon at ASU.
Then the words of Our Lord seemed to respond: "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!" There is so much promise of "fun" in college, perhaps especially at this college. Is there a promise of joy, though? Does that promise mean anything to students today? Many of the students I have had the privilege of working with so far this year do, I believe, know what joy is, on some level--the joy of knowing God--and are hungry to seek and follow this joy wherever it leads them, even if the cost is great. But it must be real.