In 2005, my sophomore year in high school, I attended my second Steubenville Atlanta Catholic Youth Conference. The theme of this conference was Experience the Glory. As I think back on this conference, I don’t remember who gave the talks. I don’t remember any information that was shared in the talks. I don’t even remember exactly who the band was. (I assume it was Matt Maher.) I don’t remember what happened. What I do remember, is who it happened with.
I remember the joy that came from a full bus of friends headed to the conference. I remember the youth ministers who invested in me and loved me enough to keep asking me how I was doing and making sure I had gone to Reconciliation during the weekend. I remember writing a song with some friends on the bus ride home. Of course, I remember the emotional experience in Adoration, but I don’t remember exactly how I felt during that time. What I remember the most is the people who were with me on the journey.
Every night of summer camp, the summer missionaries come together and share what we call “glory stories.” These are short stories where we share how God is working at summer camp. Most of these stories come from an interaction with people! I very rarely hear that something in a talk changed someone’s life or that one of the skits transformed their life… No, it’s usually a great conversation where two people share how God is working in them or an experience in Adoration. Sure, that Adoration experience is sometimes memorable because of the emotions that God allows to run through us, but ultimately, the memory comes from an interaction of relationship… We are with Christ!
Summer camp helps me to remember that God’s glory shines through the people around us and not just what we are doing or what we hear. So often I get so caught up in everything that’s going on that I forget to stop and rejoice in the people around me.
I challenge you to “experience the glory” today. Open your eyes to see the people God has placed in your life and smile because of the Lord’s goodness. And if you have time, go to your Church, kneel in front of the tabernacle (or adore the Blessed Sacrament if you have perpetual adoration), and just be with God. That’s where glory is found and true radiant joy is fostered.