Last year I attended LTLC and if was one of the most amazing faith and fun filled weeks of my life. I understand everyone has a different LTLC experience, and each is beautiful and completely different than the other. I wanted to share with all attendees for this year, and the years to come, some practical tips that I learned about how to get the most out of LTLC.
1. Get comfortable being uncomfortable
“The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” – Pope emeritus Benedict XVI
The biggest thing I learned from last year at LTLC was to get out of my comfort zone. Whether that means being more open to prayer and allowing Christ in your life, or going out of your way to say hi to other people. I’m a naturally shy person, but once you get to know me I won’t shut up. I’m also unfortunately one of those people that if I don’t know you very well, I necessarily won’t come up to talk to you, unless you come up to me first. My youth group and Core Members kept urging me all that week to step out of my comfort zone and go out of my way to say hi to other teens. Of course this was no simple task. I felt like a fish out of water. I even went so far as telling a random dude that he looked like Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. (Yeah, I know super crazy and awkward).
But their advice proved to be very good indeed and bore much fruit that week and still to this day. I recommend before LTLC that you contemplate in what way God may be calling you to get out of your comfort zone.
2. Draw strength from the Sacraments
Within the five day period of LTLC, you will be given the opportunity to go to Confession and receive Jesus in the Eucharist every single day. LTLC can be a very trying week; there will be times when you’re so completely and utterly exhausted that it’s hard to see all the amazing opportunities God has placed before you to grow in holiness.
When you go to Mass everyday use that opportunity to really ask God for the grace to persevere and to be holy. Give Him everything and place it underneath the cross. He will give you the strength you need. Also make sure you go to Confession as soon as it’s available, the faster your soul is squeaky clean for Jesus the more your soul will be open to receive all the graces of that week. And plus after Confession you’ll feel like you’re flying, and that’s always mega plus. (THANK YOU SWEET JESUS, FOR CONFESSION!)
3. Jesus want’s you for your faithfulness, not your feelings
Adoration was quite possibly one of my favorite memories of LTLC. Again, you will be given many opportunities to go to adoration whether it’s in the private chapel or during praise and worship. Adoration is generally a very moving experience. But I think we can all say we’ve had adorations where we haven’t experienced a lot of emotions and may not have felt God’s presence very strongly.
If this happens to you, PLEASE DO NOT PANIC. God wants us for our faithfulness, not our feelings. What does this mean? It means when we feel we have nothing to give Jesus, or when we don’t feel His presence in adoration that doesn’t mean He isn’t there or that He isn’t present in our lives anymore. No. He wants us to persevere and give Him our emptiness so He can bless our faithfulness in times of spiritual dryness.
4. Get some sleep. What you put in to it, is what you get out
At LTLC, you have the option to start your day really early by praying morning prayer with the monks. On top of that, sometimes small groups can go pretty late… making for some long days. So make sure you’re getting the rest you need by sleeping enough at night. That way you can feel like you’re on your A game the next day. I understand it’s different for every group. Just keep in mind that in order for you the be spiritually nourished your body has to be nourished with some substantial sleep and good hydration. Taking care of your body will help you to go into every session, Mass, or small group with a good attitude. You’re never going to grow in your faith if you have a bad attitude.
Life Teen and Benedictine College put a lot into making sure you have a great time. Make sure you show your thankfulness by putting in a good attitude and being open to everything this week as to offer.
Be open to the Holy Spirit doing great and marvelous things in your life. Remember, not only are we the future Church, We are the Church. Go take LTLC week by storm, and most importantly have fun.