my favorite spot at UCLA…

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(c) Caravaggista

…is the engraving of this Psalm on the Humanities Building.

One day when I was an undergraduate sitting on either the grass or a bench by the building, the words caught my eye… and little did I know it was a Scripture verse!

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

Psalm 119:18 (RSV)

I feel like I had a Saint Augustinian like transformation during my college days. OK, minus the crazy past life maybe.

I kept wondering, “Why? Why? Why does the Church teach we have to do x, y, and z?” I challenged the law. I pondered the law. And in my studies… I dwelled in the law, whether I believed it was worth following or not yet.

After immersing myself in texts and tomes, primary and secondary sources… I was truly enamored with how the “rules” of Catholicism were actually beautiful parameters by which the human soul could be set free. Really, the “rules”– or the “law”– were just a structure by which I found the LORD could enter the human soul.

And trust me… the last year of being a teenager, and embarking into the life of young adulthood, the last thing I wanted to be was “bound.” I did not want to be set into any sort of confining “structure” of “law.” And yet, when studying how such “law” actually paved the way for more intimate relationships with Christ, with others, and with self (yes, within!), I saw how the “law” was actually made to bring peace to the human heart, and to set it free. In all of its theology, dogma, and doctrine, Catholicism set me free into a beautiful world of wonder! Truly, I was beholding the Living Body of Christ on earth.

No longer did “Law” mean some sort of cold and calculated weighing of what is right and wrong.

Instead, following the law meant loving the Lord, your God, with all of your heart, with all of your mind, with all of your strength, and with all of your soul (Luke 10:27)!

Following the law meant glorifying God in everything you did– even in your eating and your drinking (1 Corinthians 10:31)!

As a late teen and early twenty-something living on a secular college campus, I saw Light in a world of darkness caused by moral relativism. There was something real, vibrant, and life-giving to this supposed “Truth” that the realm of all other ephemeral “truths” by which everyone else seemed to be living.

I saw this Light first and foremost in the Catholic young adults that I was meeting and asking all of my “why?” questions to. They shined with a light I had never seen before. They contained within them a peace I had never met. (Well, besides perhaps in my grandmother– but that’s for another blog post!)

I met young adults who were standing up for something (rather, Someone) rather than falling for everything. I met young adults who were passionate and fighting for a Cause.

And, O, what a battle to fight in the spiritual warfare I perceived all around!

Yet there was something romantic about that battle in which I began to fight

The God I loved (Luke 10:27) and glorified  (1 Corinthians 10:31)… He brought Light.

Now a late twenty-something (gasp!), I still find myself fighting that fight– that fight for the Light! In ways both the same and different.

And first and foremost, the battle occurs in my own heart. Every moment that I live, I have the freedom to live in Christ if I so desire.

Only Christ makes me fully alive. He came that I might not only have life, but have it more abundantly (John 10:10)! May I always deeply revel in the wonders of the law of the LORD my God. May I always choose Him in every moment!

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” –Deuteronomy 30:19

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