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So recently the NET Canada iNFUSE teams got to have our December retreat in Alberta.  It was a beautiful retreat center by the name of Ephphapha house. The snow lay in thick coats over the ground and would fall in heavy flakes.  The frozen lake was surrounded by hills that emptied out into it. It felt like our own little secluded part of heaven.  It was there that I began to reflect on many of the things I had struggled with over the first half of the year.

It’s a room full of love. Many Netters have fond memories within, the main room of CDL (Centre De L’Amour near Rockland, Ontario) where Mass, formation and evening prayer occur daily. A room of love and memory, but not just memory, since the living bread of the Eucharist resides so often there. I was so happy to return there for December retreat with my team, the place where our Net mission began.

Do you ever get distracted in prayer? I don’t mean so much the giggles of a buzzed toddler distracting you, or the typhoon of air that recurringly buffets in your direction by a rotating fan. I mean losing yourself in the analysis of the problems, events and plans of life. Basically, do you ever struggle between concentrating on Love itself, God, and the business of life? I do.

Who would’ve thought that we’ve been on the road for a month already? I’ve been travelling with this team of amazingly holy people, who 2 months ago were total strangers. We had a team Costco visit a few weeks ago, and as I walked in, the man at the door asked if these 9 people behind me were with me. Without a second thought I said, “Yup, they’re my family.” That’s what we truly are now. We’ve all become on big family on an adventure driving across the country, spreading the Word of God.

So far it’s been full of good laughs, fun host homes, intense spiritual growth, and life-changing experiences.

Often, it is so easy to just stay in the mountain and not want to come down. During NET training it was like we were on the mountain at the Transfiguration. In the gospel of Mark, it tells us how Jesus brought Peter, James and John on a journey to a high mountain to be apart by themselves. Than before their eyes Jesus was transfigured!! He was in His full glory, in dazzling white like no beauty on Earth could ever amount to.

“To be saints is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone.”  -  Pope Francis

In light of All Saints Day being this month, I thought I would talk a bit about saints. All Saints Day is a day of celebration for those who have attained heaven, those named and recognised by the church and all the unnamed saints as well. How great is it that all the unnamed saints get a day to celebrate them! Not that the named saints aren’t pretty cool... Each team on NET is allocated two patron saints and our two saints as the Swift Current team are St Rita and St Francis Xavier.

A couple of years ago I was in university, halfway through my Bachelor in Arts & Science. I had a good part-time job, a great girlfriend, great friends, and I was doing well in school but something was missing.

We’re told, by our teachers, our parents, society, that we need to finish school, get a good job, get married, have a family and that will lead to a happy life. This isn’t a bad thing at all but it is not the only thing that can lead to happiness and what happens when we start achieving these things and realize that this happiness is shallow, unfulfilling, or empty?

We’re left wondering, “There must be more than this”.

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you. I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

Then I said, "Ah, Lord God, behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only youth."

But the Lord said to me, "Do not say 'I am only a youth', for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord."

Suppose a musician in an orchestra freely strikes a sour note. The conductor is competent, the music is correctly scored and easy to play, but the musician still exercises his freedom by introducing a discord which immediately passes out into space. The director can do one of two things: he can either order the selection to be replayed, or he can ignore the discord.

It's getting to the point of the year where the end of our mission is in our sights, and often times consuming our thoughts. This has been making it difficult to stay focused on the present and to keep our eyes on why we are here, serving on NET. So at this point in the year, I've been falling short, losing my zeal and energy because I've felt like I've done all that I could do, that we've met all the youth we are going to encounter and that I just have to finish up the last couple months. But I was so wrong!

Our team is back in Ontario until the end of our ministry. To get to the end, we have returned to our beginnings, so to speak. Recently, we did a short afternoon of prison ministry, and my experience was incredible.