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SLS 2018 Reflection: Giving Everything

SLS _ Chicago 2018 Logo

SLS students at event in ChicagoArticle by: Veronica Balick, C’20
Photos by: Alexandra Krall, C’19

Over the winter break, 44 Mount St. Mary’s University students participated in SLS 2018, a leadership conference run by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), in Chicago. Veronica Balick, C’20, shared her thoughts on this life-changing experience that challenged her to grow deeper in her faith and spread that faith to others.

SLS 2018 focused on several main ideas: developing authentic friendships with the people around us, showing them the love of Christ, and building them up to go out and spread Jesus themselves. Through sessions on how to share ourselves and our time with others, lead Bible studies, and invite others into discipleship, we attendees were formed in methods of evangelization that mirror Christ’s actions on earth.

SLS Chicago - students working at conferenceA recurring theme of the talks was the need for us, as Christians, to be true warriors for our faith. Bishop Robert Barron emphasized that we need to speak boldly for the Gospel, and Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ,” stated that the world needs warriors who are ready to risk everything for our faith. As someone who has often struggled with expressing my faith openly to others, those words challenged me. Throughout the conference, I felt tremendous encouragement and peace from being surrounded by 8,000 people my age from across the country who were experiencing the same struggles but also were growing alongside me in the desire to bring our faith and love for God to the world. I felt a sense of profound unity and determination that we were going to go back and witness to Christ on our campuses, in our families, and everywhere that we go.

In Eucharistic Adoration, I felt the very real presence of Jesus among us. I felt His love for me, even in my brokenness, and His desire for me to allow Him into my life. On the first night of the conference, we were asked, “What if you gave everything?” In attending SLS, I have seen and heard the amazing work which God can do when people give Him everything, and I have experienced His loving call to answer that question with my actions.


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