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SEEK2019 Reflection: Encounter Something More

Focus 2019 feature

Photo by Maria Ruddy

The theme of this year’s SEEK conference of “encounter” prompted speakers to ask the crowd of 17,000+ young Christians to encounter something more. Each day, with the help of speakers such as Leah Darrow, Fr. Mike Schmitz, Sr. Miriam James, Dr. Ed Sri, Jason Evert, and countless others, we built upon this idea of getting to know Christ more through different aspects of our life and our faith. This conference, designed to help the individual understand and focus on their personal relationship with Christ, allowed us to slowly unpack and explore our journey through a variety of talks.

As a fourth year in college, I have spent many nights reflecting on this idea of a relationship with Christ. Often it’s intimidating to be in an environment where people seem to have a sense of what it means to be “holy,” and if you’re not hitting it, then you’re not a part of the crowd. SEEK, however, gave me the opportunity to see that to grow in my faith there is not a set guideline of what I should be doing at a certain point of my life, as long as I am actively working to improve my relationship with Christ. The first day we talked about purpose, and Curtis Martin, founder and CEO of FOCUS, asked us what it means to be a Christ-like leader and then to start to question not just the way we look at our life but most importantly the way in which we allow Christ to help us build our life. In the days that followed, we were asked to explore our identity and our relationships, learning what it means to be us and how the people in our lives are helping us to become more Christ-like versions of ourselves.

We finished the conference looking at our impact on the world around us. This was something that really had me thinking, what can I do as one Catholic among millions that will make an impact on the world around me? As I reflect now, I remember sitting before Christ in Eucharistic Adoration, and having a reassuring feeling as if Jesus was there hugging me. In all of my confusion, anger and brokenness, Christ was loving me and drawing me closer. The impact I can make, I now realize, is not in the entire world. Rather, the impact I can have is on those that are like me – those struggling but still yearning to grow deeper in a relationship with Christ.

Throughout SEEK each and every person had the chance to encounter something in regard to their faith—a new idea, an answer to a question, or even Christ himself. SEEK allowed me to encounter a new sense of belonging. It allowed me to better understand my faith on my own timeline, and it allowed me to encounter Jesus on a whole new level.