Facing the Wilderness: Reflections from the Pittsburgh District Event
This past weekend, myself and 15 other college students had the blessing of attending the Pittsburgh District Event at Camp Naz. In 24 hours, we served Vespers and Morning Prayers, attended three sessions by Fr. Stephen Loposky, ate together, raked the hiking trails at Camp Naz, participated in team building activities, and played two rousing games of Scatergories.
Fr. Loposky’s sessions continued to explore the theme he began talking about at College Conference East, “A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness.” We talked about how and when to talk about the Faith. One thing Fr. Lopkosy said that stuck out to me was:
You can’t talk about the Faith without knowing where God is in your life. And if you don’t spend time with the Faith, you can’t live it.
At any OCF event – District Events, Regional Retreats, Real Break, College Conference, weekly chapter meetings – I know God is there. I see it in the pure wisdom my peers share with the group, in the fellowship and love we have for each other, in the services prayed. I see him working in bringing us all together through the storms of our busy lives to a shelter of peace and prayer. It’s also a chance to really spend time with the Faith. Living the Faith is easy at OCF events. Everyone is doing the same thing you are. It’s once you step outside that comfort zone that the going gets tough.
Going to OCF events helps us prepare to be that voice crying out in the wilderness. Once we leave the familiarity and comfort of OCF, it’s much harder to be confident in what you believe and have the courage to be a witness. But with every OCF event I attend, I feel a little bit stronger and the wilderness becomes a little less intimidating.
The school year and thus the OCF year is drawing to a close. Next year, I encourage you to keep your eyes peeled for OCF events near you. College can be a wilderness of tricky questions and highly-opinionated people and professors that you don’t have to navigate alone. Make an effort to go to a Regional Retreat or College Conference to learn about, spend time with, and grow in the Faith.