Written by Abby Kowitz, Catholic Studies Alumna, Class of 2012
As a recent college grad, most people nod their heads in approval when I tell them I have a degree in Accounting, but that same head nod quickly turns into a sort of confused neck spasm when I nonchalantly add that I also have a degree in Catholic Studies; and the great paradox is, that if given the ultimatum, I would drop the Accounting and cling to my Catholic Studies education in a heartbeat. Why? Because Catholic Studies has not only formed my perspective of my work, but has permeated every aspect of my life.
When it came time to decide what to do after graduation, one thought continued to ring loud and clear: “Our times need disciples for Christ who are willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of the Gospel.” Okay…that sounds great, but how do we actually do it? How do we do the seemingly impossible placed on our hearts by a realistic yet demanding Father?
I started to answer this by recognizing that I am a daughter of God and a member of the Body of Christ. I have been given everything with which to do anything, just not the controller. I have been called to use my talents and gifts to serve the Lord under no conditions, and after pretending for many months that my plan was better than His, I admitted that He knew better and am now serving as a missionary with Christ in the City in Denver, Colorado for one year.
Something that I will forever hold onto from my Catholic Studies education is that true leadership has everything to do with our being and nothing to do with our title; it is who we are, and not what we do. It has taken four months of humble missionary work for me to really internalize that definition in a practical way. Being a missionary, you are on the bottom of the Totem Pole… and I mean the literal bottom.
Why can’t someone more qualified process payroll as the Accountant for Christ in the City? Why does it matter that it’s me and not a random social worker counseling the young women who walk into the crisis pregnancy center? Couldn’t I be doing something better with my time than washing dishes by hand for the fifth time that day for my fellow missionaries and community members?
The answer is that it does matter that this person is me. I need to be the one processing payroll, and sitting with that vulnerable woman, and washing what seems like hundreds of dishes, because by recognizing that it is not what I am doing, but that I have literally been called to be Christ in these moments, that those seemingly small things take on the capacity to permeate and radically change our culture.
“Our times need disciples for Christ who are willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of the Gospel…”
Thank you, Catholic Studies, for inspiring this desire within me, and thank you Jesus and Mary, for giving me the courage and grace to respond to it through Christ in the City!