God Opened a Window

Photo of Matthew Tate for his first reflection.

I can remember the instant I met FrancisCorps. Sprawled out on a couch in my childhood basement, I cautiously scrolled through the Catholic Volunteer Network database, still reeling after having been denied entry as a missionary for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). I was convinced that God wanted me to serve Him after graduation, but it was already May, and some part of me wondered if He had forgotten about me.

Suddenly, the FrancisCorps website was right in front of me, the words Real. Gospel. Service. stretched out before my dimly lit screen. Gospel. Service. I thought back to my formative experiences leading Bible studies, attending retreats, growing in faith at the Boston University Catholic Center. A small, still voice encouraged me to pursue the webpage, to examine the stories of previous volunteers, to explore the service sites. I almost skimmed past the panic-ensuing words: 1 Spot Remaining. My heart did a somersault in my chest. 

An expression that was shared with me ad nauseam during the period of rejection prior to applying to FrancisCorps was: “When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” I used to roll my eyes at the cliché, but not anymore. I love the window God gave me. He provided me with a fulfilling role at the Catholic Charities Men’s Shelter helping those experiencing homelessness find jobs and housing. He sent me a loving community of volunteers who are willing to give themselves fully to God for a year and support one another through the thick and thin.

I thank God for the rejection not only because it challenged me to be patient with His providence, but also because I look at what I have now and I’m filled with joy.

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