We began a ministry with a specific mission and vision for young adults across America. We began with the inspiration of the new evangelization, aiming to help re-ignite the fire of Pentecost, but we ended up empty-handed. Many of our hopes died; but as Christ said, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains just a seed.
A wandering soul in my mid-twenties, recently out of college, I was looking for a way to embody the ideals of a classic liberal arts education. That's what sent me into Philadelphia where I connected with some like-minded Catholics. We lived in community for a little while, prayed together and served the neighborhood -- just a handful of young Catholics trying to help each other keep the faith. When it didn't work out we went our separate ways, and I started wondering and praying, asking God again what his will was for me. I thought I had it figured out.
This was about five years ago. Some stayed in the community for longer than I did, and in ways they continue the ministry to this day. I guess you could say I lost faith in the community before they did. A colleague of mine told me the community would never last, that we should stick to the tried and true forms of small community: family, parish, neighborhood. We were supported by a parish in North Philly, and even the pastor there was suspicious of us at times -- especially in the beginning when we didn't bear much fruit. I remember a member of the parish community asking us what the heck we were doing there. My friends found another more supportive parish, but I had moved on by then. The seed had died in me, and the form it would take once it blossomed and bore fruit had little resemblance to that small community we started in North Philly -- but it had the same lifeblood.
After a few more years of searching for God's will, I decided to just start putting my thoughts together in a blog. Then I noticed a blog wasn't really authentic enough to embody my vision of a tangible Catholic lifestyle. So I took a leap of faith and started a magazine at a time when the industry was declining. It wasn't the first time I had done a foolhardy thing. Call it pompousness, ignorance or some combination of the two. Whatever the case, once again people doubted me and the small enthusiastic team of volunteers who jumped on board with me. The name of the magazine, as you probably know, is Rambling Spirit.
I can't speak for the rest of the team, but I didn't start Rambling Spirit with success in mind. The jolt I felt that motivated me to start the magazine was a very subjective experience. This is actually still the beginning, and even as I write this blog post I have a fear that it may be premature. I've been meaning to start from the heart and share the joys and struggles we've experienced over the few years of Rambling Spirit's existence. So, despite how battered and short our history is, now I have something to work with.
We began in 2013 with a hope to unite young Catholics through meaningful dialogue, covering topics as random as our interests -- while showing how they all come back to one thing: our search for God through truth, goodness and beauty.
When I helped out in that small intentional community in Philadelphia five years ago, I didn't know what I was doing. Are things different now? I can't say they are, but I can say that in looking back I can now see God's purpose in that chapter of my life -- even though I couldn't see it at the time. So I have faith that at some later point I'll see where God is going with all of this. These days seem to be going slow as I impatiently search for solutions for our stagnant magazine, but the days are also going quickly as we are running out of time and our window of opportunity closes.
What's at the heart of it all is a question that makes me ache. Does this generation care about engaging in meaningful conversation in written form? The more digital and social media I see consumed, the more I think we're interested in just sound bytes -- too impatient to settle in a little while longer to discover the deep-seated truths and beauties that we look past everyday. Dialogue on a large scale has been reduced to pathos, an emotional engagement that seeks humor, loyalty, trust, and comfort. It hardly lifts us out of ourselves. How to get rich, celebrity gossip, , sports highlights, unbelievable crimes and disasters are the main trending topics in just about every news feed. Yes, this is humanity. This is the world we live in, but if there is no transcendental end keeping it all together it's just stirring up emotions and desires. No ethos or logos, just pathos. No moral compass or reason.
So what did we do to try and change things? We started a magazine -- hoping it could be a little pebble in a ripple effect. We said, "Let's get people talking about what really matters. Let's base the ongoing conversation of our publication on the universally human quest for truth, goodness and beauty."