Come Catch the Fire event reaches young adults

Adam Bitter sings

Praise and worship musician, Adam Bitter, sings for the leaders and participants.

by Sister Mary Flick, CSJ

“Are you listening?” was the opening question answered with story and humor by the evening’s two presenters at the inaugural “Come Catch the Fire” program on Nov. 13 in Holy Family Chapel. The four-part series offers young adults, ages 18-35, an opportunity to talk with their peers about their faith journeys and vocational discernments while offering praise and worship. The series is sponsored by the Association of St. Louis Vocation Directors.

Meghan Mueller, a single woman, who works at BJC Health Care Corporate Education, shared that the heart of knowing God is to be vulnerable – and that is scary. She then shared the scariest moment of her adult life: getting lost in northern Missouri, while engrossed in conversation with a friend. “There are no street lights on the back roads,” she said.

It’s much the same with discernment, she said. “It’s about paying attention. “I was not paying attention and almost drove to Iowa.” Discernment also requires a person to start with knowing oneself, and to take time for quiet. “When you sit in solitude, you can pay more attention,” she said.

Mueller also spoke about her vocation as a single woman. “I was 10 times a bridesmaid,” she confessed, “but never got to register for china or towels. I felt jealous that everyone else had something they were committed to – a community, a partner.” But she remembers the day that something shifted when a friend asked her, “Can I pray for that special someone?” Mueller told her, “No. But could you pray that I’m content with how my life turns out?” She said “It took a lot of work to get there – talking with God, bad dates, and a spiritual director who could point out what was healthy in my life.

“There’s a lot of good in a single vocation,” she said. “It’s about owning where God is calling me right now where I am and actively choosing it. There are things I can do because I’m not committed to someone or something. At a moment’s notice, I can follow God’s call with incredible freedom and sacredness.”

Troy Woytek, a campus minister at Washington University’s Catholic Student Center and a husband and father of two, described how he prays from his baptismal call as priest, prophet and king.  “It starts with my disposition,” he said. “It makes me more available and aware of God’s presence around me.”

Woytek related how he had walked a part of the Camino de Santiago in Spain last May. “I’m a 'destination hiker,’" he said. “Doing the Camino, you have to be a journey hiker.” One day while walking, he noticed a pine tree grove and “answered the invitation of the trees.” He found himself “entering a liminal space between two worlds.” As he stood in the grove, he could see the quiet road of the pilgrims, which he had left. But on the other side, he saw cars flying by on a highway – “the hustle of the world.”

“How do we listen to God’s voice?” he asked. “We have to have liminal space between the craziness of the world and the Way of God. God is as much in one place as another,” he said.

He spoke of other learnings about discerning on the Camino.  “We have to shift the paradigm from thinking we are serving God and are in control, to letting God serve us.”

Again, Woytek told of an issue he was trying to discern as he walked the Camino. He wrestled with the pros and cons and finally, “Walking up a gravel hill, I stopped controlling and realized I was just present to whatever God was giving. The more we try to force discernment, the more we run into dead ends,” he said. “Listen and let God serve you.”

Finally, he mentioned the need for detachment in one’s discernment. “If I’m unattached, I am able to listen to God in a place of freedom.” Woytek related how people shed what they were attached to as they walked the Camino. He said he saw everything from hiking boots to cigarettes. “If I am unattached, I have a freedom to listen to God.”

The two closed the presentation part of the evening by noting that “discernment is not a one-shot deal. It is a constant unfolding.” They asked those attending to consider:

Do you know yourself?

What parts are still unknown?

Do you want to know those parts?

As participants prayerfully considered these questions, the evening shifted prayerful reflection and music by Adam Bitter, a praise and worship musician.

Bitter will return for praise and worship at the next “Come Catch the Fire” evening on Thursday, Feb. 12. The series’ second session, “Unplugged and Offline…Prayer,” and will be led by Theresa and Harold Velazquez. It will be held 8-10 p.m. in Holy Family Chapel at the motherhouse.

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