By Lori Ritz
“Blessed, Broken, Given” was the theme of the 2019 National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). There is so much power in these words, so much symbolism.
In baptism, we are anointed, “blessed” and sent to make the world a better place. Each of us has been “blessed” with special gifts and talents to use throughout our lives; in many and varied ways, we are called to use them.
I am amazed at the youth who formed the group March for Our Lives. These young people speak for those who have been touched by the various tragedies in school shootings and neighborhood violence. They see the need for a safer community and country through gun control. This call of “brokenness” leads to the power gained by people working together which leads to hope.
There is strength hidden in our “brokenness.” Greta Thunberg responds to her call to be the power of youth, sharing her voice to challenge others to address climate change and make this world a better place. This call to action, to take what is broken and make something new, is a special call to heal, to create a safer, more secure environment in which to live.
The word “given” invites us to give back so others might have “life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Giving is reaching out. Giving is calling others forth. Giving is the power of relationship.
The relationship between BVM sisters and students at Clarke University illustrates the power of giving, of reaching out to others. Students come to Mount Carmel to work with sisters in physical therapy. Resident advisors in the dormitory are prayer partners with sisters. The athletic training students spent a fall Saturday morning walking to the cemetery with some of the frailer sisters. And other student volunteers share with sisters through special activities such as competing in Wii bowling, helping with BINGO or decorating a Christmas tree. Indeed, these are powerful acts of giving of oneself to others.
Inspired by the lives of Greta Thunberg, the March for Our Lives group and the Clarke University students, I am reminded that we are ALL called to be “blessed, broken and given” — to do what we can to make our world a better place through our gifts, our actions, our prayer, our lives, our power. That is our call each and every day.
Lori Ritz is director of BVM Life and Mission for the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.