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Chaplaincy

Tuesday, Third Week of Advent

For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!

 

“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, do I seek.
—Psalm 27:5-8

Placing Joy in the Midst of Stress

Sunday evening, I had the pleasure of attending Hamilton’s annual Midnight Mass at the chapel with a number of friends. After a truly beautiful service, guiding us through the sequence of events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ, we all shuffled out of the chapel and headed for the hot chocolate and cookies that awaited us in Bristol.

On the walk over, I heard someone say how much they liked the service but that, on the brink of finals week, it came at such an inconvenient time. I smiled and thought to myself, “Oh man, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Why wouldn’t you want to place this opportunity to gather in joy at a time of such stress and anxiety? What better way to begin a week of studying with so many people you love, listening to Father Croghan reflect on a wonderful children’s book?

Here at this fantastic institution of higher learning, the opportunities to grow, mature and expand beyond various misguided assumptions are right at my fingertips, both in and out of the classroom. But with all of these opportunities comes the potential to be distracted from some of things that I hold most important. While stressing about exams and papers and grades, it is so easy for me to lose touch of the meaningful relationships and connections that provide the real foundation for my life.

I guess that is why I love the Midnight Mass so much: it gives me the opportunity to say to myself that while I may have plenty of work to be doing, I won’t let it get in the way of that which is most important to me. It’s why a friend of mine, the night before his thesis was due which he would spend the next twelve hours or so working on, would go with a friend for a relaxing dinner to hang out and catch up. Maybe these experiences have that much more to teach me more than any classroom ever could.

—Jake Taylor ‘14