God’s Work and Our Work

by Brandon Chernosky

After a busy week, I needed a break and wanted to do something separate from the religious side for one night. I have always wanted to go to a UMD football game, and the tickets were less than $15, so I jumped on it. On our way, we began to see hundreds of cars parked on the side of the road, and we thought there was no way we would ever find a spot, but we prayed a quick Hail Mary and found a spot close to the gate (Thanks Mary). Before leaving the car, we prayed that we would accept whatever graces God wanted us to receive from this night with open arms. We got out of the car and immediately felt the culture shift. We went from praying vespers and family dinner to a wild football game with students everywhere doing crazy things.

We finally got into the stadium and were shocked at how many people were there. “You have never talked to a mere mortal.” I remembered these words of a brother seminarian, quoting C.S. Lewis, as we navigated through the wild crowd. We wanted to find our seats since we were a little late, so we pushed through the student section and found our seats in the quieter part of the stands. Immediately after sitting down, we met a couple behind us and got to talking. We got their names and prayer intentions, one of the coolest parts of being a seminarian. Now, we have met 2 out of the 21,000 people there.

One of us knew some students, so we returned to their section and waited for them to arrive. None of my friends knew I was coming, and there was no way to contact them since I didn’t have my cell phone. While we were talking, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and it was a girl I hadn’t seen for four years. I still can’t understand how she recognized me. The last time we saw each other, I had probably grown 2 feet and looked completely different. I also had my back to her, and somehow she recognized me. This was clearly not just luck or happenstance but a divine appointment God made for me. God just laughs when I think coincidences like this happen without Him.

The night was over, and we had only talked to 6 out of 21,000. As we talked on the car ride, we were struck by some interesting thoughts: Everyone in that stadium has an individual and unique story that we will likely never get to hear; many people in that stadium don’t honestly know what they are looking for and might think that they found it in the Friday night lights, but they haven’t found what will satisfy them, which is Christ. It was moving for me to see all these people and to know that some of them are thirsting for something they haven’t accepted. Even though we know Christ, at some points, it can feel like we want a break from the “religious side” of our lives or to ‘turn God off’ for a little bit. At events like this, however, it’s clear that we can’t do that because God wants to use us to reach others. We don’t want to imagine our lives without knowing Jesus because we see no true fulfillment. As followers of Christ, we need to be his in everything so that others can find that fulfillment. There is still a lot of work to be done, and there is no other way to do it. In everything we do, we need to jump right in and get our hands dirty, giving Christ to his people.

Brandon is a propaedeutic year seminarian for the Archdiocese of Washington.


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