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The definition of service

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What does it mean to serve?

As I looked up the definition on the internet, I was partially disappointed because I did not find the answer I was looking for. "To serve" has a bigger meaning to me than the one I found. I have been attending Ursuline Academy, a small girl's school, since seventh grade. Ironically, my school's motto is "Serviam" or "I will Serve." So, maybe I should have answered this question a while back; but now, I am a senior, graduating in a few days, heading to Emmanuel College this coming fall. Now it is my goal to answer that question; on my own this time, not with some Google-produced definition.

For my senior service project, we were asked to choose something we love to do. I am volunteering at the Archdiocese of Boston's Pastoral Center in Braintree with the Catholic Media office. My faith is the most important thing in my life and every chance I get I always look for new ways to grow closer to God. This was my chance to give back to Christ, and what better way than to do that in a place built on the principle of God's love? I also wanted to find out how everything here works to turn the gears behind the Pastoral Center's walls. Of course, I cannot go into every detail of my experience, but lucky for me, I picked up some lessons in just my first week here.

From day one, I made it another goal of mine to start everyday with Mass. As I sat in the pew, I heard Father say, "Listen, hear, follow." I liked the sound of those three steps. Of course when dealing with one's faith, it is a little more complicated, but I figured that it was a great guideline. The priest talked about the comparison of humans to sheep. Sheep, surprisingly, are brighter in one respect than we humans are. When people hear many different voices, they seemingly have a hard time following just one. Sheep can hear many voices as well, but the difference is they only follow one voice: that of their shepherd. So as I listened to the homily, I realized that this might help me to answer my question, "What does it mean to serve?" I met so many people that day, each greeting me with kind eyes and warm smiles, and I saw Christ, our Shepherd, in each one of them. Wherever you are in life, whatever you have done, God is always happy when his sheep come home to him. All we have to do is listen to his words, hear them and understand them and simply follow him in his direction and serve him along the way.

Here at the Pastoral Center, service is huge, it is instinctive. For me, service and doing something to help someone else, makes me feel relaxed. So here is where I uncover more to answer my question; but even now I am still asking, "What does it mean to serve?" Just as Cardinal George of Chicago said at the Cardinals' Dinner to benefit Catholic University, "Some lead with the mind, some lead with the heart," be a leader like Christ and give back with your heart.

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