In my work with college students, questions of purpose are a common topic: What should I do with my life? What should I study? What is my vocation? My response is to encourage these students to encounter. To encounter people no one else recognizes, to encounter the problems in our world and our society, and most importantly, to encounter God. In the encounter we find who and where we are called to serve.
It was in encountering people challenged with injustices in their own communities that I realized my own call to education and advocacy. I realized that we are one body and one spirit, and that I was called to advocate for them. Through faith and education, we are empowered by His Encounter.
Pope Francis recently encouraged us as a Church to do just this. He said, “The Church must step outside herself. To go where? To the outskirts of existence, whatever they may be, but she must step out … In this ‘stepping out’ it is important to be ready for encounter. For me this word is very important. Encounter with others. Why? Because faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we must do what Jesus does: encounter others … with our faith we must create a ‘culture of encounter,’ a culture of friendship, a culture in which we find brothers and sisters…”
The answer to the questions of how, what or why manifest themselves in the encounter with the Kingdom of God.