This month is a special month: it is exactly one year since we started the Youth Ministry at Stella Maris. However, we don’t yet know if we are going to have the second year of youth weekends. Yes, this post is about my reflections on the current situation at Stella Maris. I have been praying about it for a long while, and now I want to share my thoughts with you, based on Sunday’s readings and Gospel (24/9/2017).
This Sunday’s first reading (Is 55:6-9) is on the difference between God’s plan and man’s plan. Apparently, we plan in different ways for Stella Maris. For some of us, it is a diocesan activity center; for some of us, it is a Marian sanctuary; for some of us, it is a parish. And for many other people and me, it is a spiritual home.
Mary said ‘May it be done to me according to your word’ and she is still saying that. Of course, she did not know what God’s plan was, but she trusted in Him and continued her life. She never panics, because she knows God’s plan is always better than man’s. So do I: I trust God’s plan is better than ours.
Thes second reading (Phil 1:20-24) is about giving our lives to Christ. “I do not know which I shall choose”. Being sincere, many times I have also thought that. I can have a comfortable faith life back home, where there are plenty of Catholics and churches. But I chose to stay, because I felt I was called to be serving here. Indeed, my life is now for Christ and in Christ, and when I think about something I think about it for all, not only myself. “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ”. Even if Stella Maris is going to be demolished, I will still need to serve others in one way or another, since I need to work according to the opportunity He has given me. God wants you Holy, wholeheartedly holy and not only half. How easy is to fall into the trap of one’s comfort zone! This is the cross; it is light if we carry it with Christ.
This Sunday’s Gospel (Mt 20:1-16) is the parable of the landowner and laborers. Those who started early in the morning ended up complaining that those who started later earned the same amount. Many times we are like those who started working early, we complain that others receive too much and they do not deserve as we do. But remember, this attitude changes when we in turn are the last one. So God loves us the same, even if we work less. However, is it not enough of a blessing to simply be working for Him? Why should we count the amount of His Love in any units? It is a fact that there have not been sufficient finances for Stella Maris in the past few years, but more and more young people who are going to serve the church in the future. We may be the last in income, but we will be first in our spiritual growth. We may be the first to receive help now, but we will be first to serve in the future.
Finally, I would like to invite you to think if there is anything you can do to help Stella Maris, especially the youth ministry there, since lots of young people have their spiritual life there. If you can help, please give us a hand! If not, please pray for us at this difficult time. All of us are called to serve as Mary.
About the Author
Yiran, or Maria Micaela. Born in China as a Protestant Christian but baptised in Spain (2015), being the only Catholic in the family. I came to Turku as an Erasmus exchange student and I stayed for my MSc studies. I'm also a participant of the Youth Weekends at Stella Maris.
Cooking, running and photography are my hobbies.