Tuesday, October 20, 2009

GW room blessings

As many of you know, I have offered to bless dorm rooms of students. Almost 20 students have taken me up on the offer so far. I did these room blessings last week. It was a really cool experience for me and the GW seminarian who came with me. Hopefully, it was a positive experience for the students, too! At least one student asked, "what does the blessing do?" Simply put, it brings Grace to a place. The blessing of a priest and sprinkling of holy water brings God's grace to people and their rooms or homes in an actual way. It is so significant to bring Grace to any place, but especially on a college campus where sin runs rampant. As St Paul writes, "however much sin increased, grace was always greater" (Rom 5:20).

One of the things that that means is that no matter what happened in your room before you began living there, grace now dwells there as a result of a room blessing. It's certainly scary to think of what might have happened in your room in the past several years before you got there - blasphemy against God or the Church, things of the occult (witchcraft, wicca, ouija boards, tarot cards, etc.), alcohol or drug abuse, impure sexual activity, pornography, contraception, self-injury (cutting), inappropriate language or jokes, pirating of materials (videos, music, software), gossip, etc. These sins aren't exclusive to college dorm rooms, of course; Catholics everywhere should have their homes and apartments blessed. But, everyone here knows that sin is all around us...and, serious sin at that. So, the prudent and practical GW Catholic student approaches his or her room as being a place where serious sin might have happened, and so he or she wants to eradicate all of that with a blessing by a priest.

I've been at another university where students asked in huge numbers for room blessings. Many of them were not even Catholic. Well, one of the main reasons for this is basically the same reason I mentioned above: there was a huge fear throughout the campus that many of the rooms were possessed by evil spirits. There were so many rumored stories of noises and sightings of strange creatures, so the students were spooked every year.

Now, I'm not saying that GW rooms are possessed by the Devil and his legion of demons...I haven't heard of any external evidence of that. Demonic possession in college dorm rooms is rare; demonic temptation is much more common, especially in rooms where sin has abounded. Where there has been much sin, there will be more temptation (evil invites more evil spirits).

What I am saying to you students is that if you are living in a room where there has been much sin, then you are most likely going to be subject to more temptation in your room. Evil would dwell there and come to you in the form of temptation. Now, you have the opportunity to change all of that with a room blessing. Instead of evil dwelling in a place, the Grace of God can live there! No matter how long sin has been increasing, the grace of a room blessing by a priest is always greater. It's kind of like Confession: years and years of sin can be wiped out by the Grace of Christ.

Now, on top of all this serious stuff, the room blessings were a lot of fun! I met many students (roommates, friends, guests) which is one of the indirect fruits of room blessings. I probably had a little too much fun with the sprinkling of the holy water (as usual), often getting students and their guests pretty much soaked in the head. Hey, it's Holy Water...it's all good!

One highlight from the room blessings happened when we went to a freshmen dorm. Security is tight there and I had forgotten my ID. I had to walk back to the Newman Center to get it. About two blocks from the dorm, a student approached me on the sidewalk and asked if I'm the Catholic chaplain. He then asked when he could come by for Confession and that it's been a long time. Hopefully, he'll come by the Center soon!

Another highlight was a comment I received from one of the students whose room I blessed. She had a friend from home visiting her when I stopped by (she was also someone who got wet during the Holy Water soaking, I mean, sprinkling). The student wrote: "thanks again for coming to bless my room. I knew it would mean a lot to me but my friend from home commented that she thought it was really nice too which was nice to hear. I always love when people learn my faith isn't this weird thing but something that actually means something to me and enriches my life." Cool!

Finally, if any GW student would like to have your room blessed, email me or leave a comment here with your address and phone # (I will NOT publish your comment and info on this site).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If one's room is blessed will one be inspired to keep it tidy?

If so, I'll sign my daughter up! Maybe then the floor will be visible!