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Stories of service from Catholic Volunteer Network volunteers.
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Fourth Sunday of Lent Reflection by Jacqueline Martilla

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 10:00am

Lenten Reflections to support your spiritual journey over these forty days - brought to you by Catholic Volunteer Network and the Catholic Apostolate Center.
Fourth Sunday of Lent Reflectionby Jacqueline Martilla, volunteer with SOME (So Others Might Eat)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:14-21) 
Today’s Gospel includes some of the most well-known lines in the bible. John 3:16 states, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.” I view this as God giving his Son to help the rest of humanity so they do not have to perish and will have eternal life. He loves us so much and wants the best for us. Another verse states “But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.” I believe this verse is telling us that we should practice our faith and show God’s love by helping others. I do my best to live out this Gospel as I volunteer with low-income senior citizens at the SOME Senior Center. I get to plan enjoyable activities and interact with the seniors – talking to them about wellness, playing bingo with them, ensuring they get a healthy meal, and just spending time talking with them and getting to know them. I want to bring some light into their lives. I also learn from the seniors – they have so much to share.

Focus on: Spirituality
To me, Spirituality means faith. This Gospel tells us that we should whole-heartedly place our faith in God. If we have faith in him, we will have eternal life. If we practice our faith by living the way God wants us to live, including serving others, he will be pleased with us. We need to believe that he sent us to this Earth for a purpose, whether it is to volunteer, or to pray for another or just to share his word.

My prayer for you all today is to reflect on what God has done for you and what you can do for God and for your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Remember, “But who ever lives the truth comes to the light so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.” Pray to God that you can be the light to someone who may be in the darkness.

Service Suggestion:
I encourage everyone to volunteer. Find a program that speaks to your heart. Look to groups like CVN for lists of opportunities. Pray about it – ask God to guide your service and to give you strength when things get challenging. If you can’t commit to a long-term program, volunteer for a day. Volunteering not only impact others but can change the course of your life.

About the Author:Jacqueline Martilla is originally from Long Island, NY. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Marywood University in 2016. She is currently a year-long volunteer with SOME (So Others Might Eat) Volunteer Corps.
Looking for more reflections like this one? We invite you to download our Lenten Reflection Guide in its entirety, available by clicking here. You can find an extensive library of Lenten resources by visiting the Catholic Apostolate Center website - click here.

God Works in Mysterious Ways

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 7:00am
By Katherine Hayes, Colorado Vincentian Volunteers

    Anxiety runs deep in our generation. We are always being told that perfection is what we should be striving towards. It’s said the only way to achieve that is to work harder and longer than anyone else and to have control over everything we do. But I believe that God does not want our lives to be full of this anxiety and emptiness. He wants us to be happy in Him instead of trying to find that fullness of perfection in the world.
    My life has been far from perfect and full of anxiety. Anxiety really showed its face when I left college; not because I graduated but because I dropped out. This act of admitting to myself that I was not in love with what I was doing was filled with fear; fear that others would look down on me because of my lack of education and fear that I would never be able to pick up my life and move on from that. I allowed the world to take away my peace because I was listening to the expectations that people put upon us from made-up standards.
    I worked for about 2 years doing jobs here and there, making enough money to pay back my student loans, but I was not fulfilled and I was still seeking something else in my life. Throughout those years of working, I looked at many different programs which offered full time volunteer work. Nothing came of this looking until a year later when I got a call while I was in a grocery store from a man named RJ. He said he was with this program called “Colorado Vincentian Volunteers” and they wanted to know if I was still interested in applying. Someone had just dropped out and they had an open spot for their program that started in August (it was July 15th at the time). I said “Why not? Send me an application.” And the rest is history. In that moment I witnessed God working in mysterious ways. Through this simple call, God allowed me to clearly see that we plan and work so hard to control our lives and make sure everything goes according to our plan, that we push aside the One who wants the best for us.  Through surrendering ourselves to Him we can grow into the best version of our selves without anxiety. 

    Being in a community has opened me up to so many different people and different experiences that enable my anxiety and stress about what lies ahead to melt down.   Now I can freely say, “God, you got me, right?” Coming to Denver last August was the best decision I’ve made since deciding to drop out of college. My community and my worksite have made me realize that no one has their life totally together, but through trust in God and those around you, you can start living your life to the fullest.
To learn more about service opportunities through Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, please click here.