Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Seek and You Shall Find: A Reflection on Faith and Relationships

By Anne Carey
I attended the SEEK conference in 2015 and it was one of the most profound experiences I have ever had. It was there that I truly understood for the first time what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus, and I was blown away. I thought that maybe my experience at SEEK 2017 would be less profound since it was my second time at the conference, but that wasn’t the case.
The most powerful moment in my life thus far was praying during Adoration at SEEK with 13,000 of my peers. We kneeled on the ground for three hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament, talking to Jesus, and I think most of us could have stayed there all night. It didn't matter where you were in your faith, the only thing that mattered was being there together thanking God for this moment.
So many of us were brought to tears, myself included, and I remember thinking how much I wanted everyone I had ever met, everyone on earth, to feel what I felt at that moment. I have never felt so much peace, love and joy than in those three hours. This complete feeling of joy, of being loved by Jesus and loving Jesus, causes your soul to overflow and you want every single person to experience it.
Time and time again I have found myself kneeling at the foot of the cross when I needed Jesus the most. I realized that I had been withdrawing from Jesus for the past year and He had fallen very far down on my list of priorities. Too many things had taken His place and I didn’t realize it until I closed my mind to the distractions and opened my heart again at SEEK this year.
One of the most profound statements I heard from one of the speakers at SEEK was that “People are more afraid of the light than the dark.” It is so easy to ignore the light because a lot of the time it means changing parts of our lives. We don’t want to admit that some of the ways in which we are living are not reflecting Jesus’ love for us or for others. It isn’t easy to let the light shine onto your life, but once you do, it allows you to examine yourself and how to love more like Jesus and leads you to experience more happiness than ever before.
Another reminder from SEEK was that if your identity is not in Jesus, it is in something else. As soon as I heard that it immediately resonated with me. If you place your identity in other things, you will be disappointed and crushed when the guy stops liking you or when you get bad grades or when you get turned down from countless jobs. There will always be someone "better.” Once you realize your identity does not lie in those things, but in Jesus, you view yourself and others differently. You find peace within yourself and who you are. You don't see others as people to compete with or as something that will fulfill you, but you look at their souls and how you can love them better. Too often we use others for how they can benefit us. When you have Jesus at the center of your life, your relationships with others stop being based on use, and start being based on love. It is truly freeing.
A lot of people think that loving and following Jesus is restrictive but it’s the most beautiful, fulfilling and freeing relationship I have ever had. 
"Everyone is craving quality relationships and everyone desires true love and happiness because that is what we were made for. However, most of our time is unfortunately spent filling our hearts and lives with things that we think will bring this to us (money, power, romantic relationships to name a few). However, a relationship with Jesus is the only way we will find what we desperately search for. No grade in school, athletic achievement, or compliment from a man has ever made me feel the joy and peace I feel before Jesus, and it never will."
I have not always felt this way. I have felt far from Jesus and not in tune with the feelings I feel now, and to those people that feel that way I encourage you to keep your mind open and keep seeking. Don't live your life in complacency when deep down you know you were made for more. Keep seeking Him because unfailing love awaits you.


Anne Carey is a first-year law student at Brooklyn Law School. She was a four-year Division 1 Track and Field athlete at Columbia University and graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in Sustainable Development.