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Center for Catholic Education at UD

A Little Room, Big Things: A Reflection on Unexpected Grace

By Jordan McCormick

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 


In reflecting on unexpected grace, I am taken back to my journey before UD. When I was younger, I always thought I wanted to be a teacher, but it wasn't until high school that this became more of a reality. As I sat in my high school theology classes, I found that I always wanted to learn more and go deeper. Choosing to pursue religious studies and education was scary at first-- I was worried of what other people would think, especially my family. My decision and discernment was often met with questions: Why would you want to do that? Don't you want to do something that will earn you more money? While the questions and comments of my family and those near me carried weight in my decision, I still could not shake this feeling in my heart that this was the right path for me.

 Despite my reservations about UD, it was actually the first school I visited. And, needless to say, I loved it. Everything was perfect. The school had the exact major I was looking for, the campus was gorgeous, and no other school compared to the feeling of home I experienced when I first stepped foot here. As I began to take this small step forward in my vocation as a student, God continued to move, gently guiding me to where I needed to be.

I have experienced this sense of blessing in the many opportunities I have here at UD: Catholic LIFE, the teacher education department, Callings, and my work as a tour guide to name a few. Getting involved in these programs has not always been easy though. At times, it has been difficult to acknowledge the gifts God has given me in ministry and leadership. I often let self-doubt or stubbornness get in the way of hearing who God says I am and listening intently to where He is calling me. In the moments I feel nervous or incapable of completing the task He has called me to, God quickly gives me the grace to follow through. He assures me: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

In my work as a tour guide, for example, it can be tricky to navigate faith and tough topics on tour. Although I have been blessed with a job in which I can glorify God by being a welcoming presence, inviting families into this special community we have at UD, some days the conversation is awkward or families do not find my jokes funny (the latter is more often true!). However, we can still make connections over small things such as hometowns, favorite restaurants, and funny stories from high school. As a peer minister in Catholic LIFE and in the Callings program, I have seen God present so beautifully in the first-year students I walk with. They end up teaching me so much more about faith and community than I imagined. In each of these groups, Jesus' words of 'Come and See' are echoed not only for prospective students and their families and first-year students, but also for me. In each moment of ministry and every encounter with God's beloved children, my heart, too, is changed and is prompted towards conversion. I have found that God never fails to bestow grace upon us every chance He gets in all aspects of our day. It is not just in deep theological conversations, praying with someone, or spending time with Jesus in the Mass, for example. It is up to us whether or not we will be open and receptive to this gift.

The grace I have experienced in my time at UD reminds me of the miraculous catch of fish in Luke chapter five. This semester I have been journeying with a small group watching “The Chosen,” a TV show on the life of Christ (if you have not seen it, it is a must-watch!). In this passage, we get to witness the miraculous catch of fish and an encounter between Simon Peter and Jesus. Simon is hesitant to trust Jesus as he has been fishing all night without a catch. When he submits to Jesus' call and lowers his net, he receives far more than he intended. Just as Simon opened his heart, we also must open our hearts to the Lord in our work. In “The Chosen”, we see the look of pure joy on Jesus' face when Simon takes a small step forward in following him. This same look of love and joy is present when we also take a small step forward. Jesus only needs a little room to do big things. Sometimes our 'yes' is reluctant or hesitant and it may take some time to fully trust in the plan God has for us. However, Jesus is pleased with your work, even if your 'yes' is just five minutes of prayer in the morning, taking a few minutes to talk to your roommate, or extending an invitation to someone. He delights in us. He delights in you in ways you could never imagine. What a privilege we have to serve and glorify the King of Kings. We are not worthy and we will never be worthy on our own, but God's grace is sufficient for us in all our failings, our heartbreak, and disappointments. God's grace is abounding. He does not pick and choose who he will give His mercies to. Rather, He freely bestows grace upon all who recognize and open themselves to this freely-given gift. How beautifully He works in giving us the grace we need when we open the door to Him. May each one of us continue to give Jesus the little bit of room He needs to do big things.


Edited by Elena Niese

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