Today, we dropped off our youngest son, Ben, at Canisius College. I was not sure how I would feel about leaving him. We finished packing last night and I was freaking out a little bit. It’s not like we haven’t been through this before – he is our third child to go to college. Still, I was worried that he was not packing enough stuff or that he was not taking the right stuff, the important things that he would need. Ben is a light traveler and ended up packing everything he wanted for college in two suitcases. We loaded them into the trunk and headed for Buffalo.
Arriving at college and getting settled into the dorm was not extraordinary. Ben has a decent sized room. His roommate will not be arriving for a few days, since Ben signed up for an Immersion Weekend before the actual Orientation begins. After he settled in, he received a text from a long-time Family Camp friend. She is attending the Immersion Weekend as well and wanted to visit him and see his dorm room. When she arrived at his room, we were all so happy to see her. It is so wonderful to know that a familiar face will be with him through his transition. They can help each other out with any troubles or confusion over the next few days.
At 4:30, we headed to the Chapel for a special Mass for the students in the Immersion Program and their families. The chapel at Canisius is at the heart of the campus, physically as well as symbolically. That is very reassuring to me. The Mass was very small – for just 16 students and their families and the staff of the Weekend. It was at this Mass that all of my fears subsided. I came to realize that Ben is in the perfect place for his college career. The first reading was from Jeremiah:
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
This is a scripture promise that I often turn to when it seems like nothing is going right, God has a wonderful future in mind for me and if I go to God in prayer, God will listen to me and be with me. Even when everything seems awful, I trust that things will work out for good.
The Gospel was Matthew 13:44:
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
The homily was wonderful. The priest talked about how they, as students, will have many choices and they can choose to find the treasure that God has for them. It is a treasure greater than anything that they can imagine. It is a treasure that will begin to unfold this year and will continue to unfold throughout their lives. It was a homily full of hope and promise. It was a simple homily with the simple message that God loves us very much and wants the best for each of us.
Throughout the Mass, I could feel a spirit of community beginning to form between these students. God’s spirit was very present in that Chapel. I could tell that Ben was among a special group of young adults. I am glad Ben can get to know them on a deep level. I am glad he is attending a college that has a Chapel at its heart. I have great hope that Ben’s spirituality will really be nurtured at Canisius. I will sleep well tonight.