Pray!

This Sunday, we started the next spiritual discipline of Pray. For many years, I thought of prayer as something you do in very specific times- at meals, at night, and at church. Now, I’ve come to learn that clearly, that is not the case. Both through experiences at Canterbury Downtown and with other groups, I’ve learned the kinds of prayer that work best for me! As a Lenten practice, I’ve been using the app “Our Bible” and following a few different devotionals—”As Yourself” and “Come Have Breakfast: Healing from Burnout & Loving Yourself”. I’ve really enjoyed following these devotionals as they’re more contemporary in their approaches to prayer and reading scripture. There are also LGBTQ+IA affirming devotionals and various podcasts. While I was a camp counselor this summer, we practiced praying while coloring. Each color you use represents a different prayer that you want to send out, or it can represent a concern that you have. This prayer exercise was meaningful to me because coloring is also a mental health practice for stress and anxiety that I find useful. Another tactile prayer practice that we just learned about this Sunday was the use of Anglican rosaries—we had guests from Every Blessed Bead visit and we had the opportunity to make our own! Having something to hold in my hands and help center my prayer practices has added a new depth to my mornings and evenings. I pray that in the upcoming two weeks and for the rest of the semester, that I am able to continue introducing new prayer practices into my prayer life!

Maria, NYU’20

Chaplain and Student Reflections Responding to tragedy and entering Lent

The pictures we show here of Canterbury Downtown students are often of fun times shared together. And, there are all kinds of feelings and stories at work in the minds and hearts of these students, even though smiles are what they are showing us in these moments.

Our community provides a space for students to be cared for, to be fed, to grow in their faith and to have fun together. It is also a place where students who are struggling can find support in their times of need. At the news of the death of an NYU student, let me remind you that I am praying for you all and you are invited to pray for one another. I am a resource to you or to a friend you may have who is in need and doesn't know who to talk to. God loves all of us, no matter what. God is love. Period. God's forgiveness for our brokenness is eternal. We are not perfect, and we will never be. But we can strive to love God and love God's family the best we can. And when our hearts are broken and grieving, we can turn to God again for strength and knowledge in God's love for us.

As we turn toward to season of Lent, let us not forget that we are not only recipients of, but reflections of God's love in the world. Let our Lenten practices be a lived way of turning toward God, toward love and letting God's love be seen and heard and felt in all the places our reflections of that love touches in the world around us. Amen. -Chaplain Mary Cat

If you or anyone you know is in need of a lifeline, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

As an NYU student, the news that over the weekend a student took their own life, was deeply upsetting for many reasons. Any loss of life at such a young age is heartbreaking, let alone it being a student who was someone’s roommate, someone’s friend, someone’s classmate. This time of the year can be a difficult time for us—the days are still short and cold, and students are already wading through all of the work that comes with midterms time. It is also the beginning of the Lenten season, with Ash Wednesday marking the start tomorrow. Typically for Lent, I’ve always been in the practice of “giving something up”, whether it’s soda or chocolate, not indulging in something I love was my way of committing to Lent. While I do still plan on giving something up this year (my social media accounts), I am making this commitment for my own mental health as well.

What we decide to practice for Lent doesn’t even have to be an act of “giving something up”, it can be that we commit to getting 8 hours of sleep each night, or taking a walk each day, or even fostering community with those that we care for. By intentionally adding something in, we are able to draw ourselves closer to God and remind ourselves that we were created perfectly— and any act of self love is a testament to our belief that we are worthy of God’s love. In the space of time that I would normally spend on social media, I am going to add in a devotional—another way that during this season we can draw closer to God. While Lent is considered a time of darkness, that does not mean we have to neglect ourselves in an act of “sacrifice”. We are loved, and by loving ourselves, we strengthen our faith. - Maria, NYU ‘20

The number for NYU Health and Wellness is 212-443-9999. NYU also has a web page called “MindfulNYU” where they have many resources and apps that are available for student use!

Walking the Labyrinth

This Sunday, we transitioned from focusing on “Turn” to “Learn” in our semester long journey with The Way of Love. We also participated in an interactive prayer labyrinth, where as we traveled through the labyrinth, we stopped at each station coming in and coming out. The stations had directions like, “Someone once said: Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. Think of some hurt, anger, or fear you need to let go. Drop an Alka Seltzer into the water. As it dissolves, let that thing go too.” This was the most powerful station for me because having a physical representation of what I was supposed to be letting go made it much more tangible. For me personally, this goes to show that there is still quite a few ways for me to learn and grow in my faith. I think it’s often easy to get wrapped up in the mindset of “I have to keep doing it this way, because this is the way that I know”. However, in trying out this practice, I now have something new to add to my prayer life!

Maria NYU ‘20

Go!

This past Sunday, we took a trip to visit Canterbury Uptown at Columbia/Barnard to worship with them and then share dinner out! While it was a wonderful experience filled with faith, food, and friends, it was also a great reminder of what all the city has to offer us! As students, it can be so easy to get comfortable with our weekly routines (I know I'm guilty of it!!) Whether it's NYU or another college, it's easy to stay in our little 10-15 block radius of classes, clubs and housing.

Although we're at the week for "Go" yet in the "Way of Love", that's exactly what we did this past Sunday. In practicing Go, we are called to cross boundaries, listen deeply, and live like Jesus. At the time, I hadn't considered traveling to Columbia a method of practicing Go, we did both in a literal sense (the 1 train was quite the adventure y'all) and in a spiritual sense because we were participating in new worship practices like communion in the round!

While traveling isn't always possible every week, it's definitely something I will be meditating on as the season of Lent starts- the ways in which I can better cross boundaries and live like Jesus!

Maria, NYU’20