During my second time at a seek conference, I didn’t come in seeking anything in particular or searching for more than a chance to build my relationship with our Heavenly Father, God.

On the second night, in the Keynote address given by Msgr. Shea, we hear these words, “Comfort and Joy,” but we also hear these other kinda darker words too, “feeling, sad, anxious, nervous, or whatever, knowing that there is “something/someone looking to hunt me or you because of our free will and a yes to God.”  Hearing those words from Msgr. Shea who referenced himself as the Good Friday priest, didn’t just bring a shock thinking about this difficult situation but thinking about our own reality. As a young adult who has been raised Catholic my whole life, during this year’s Seek conference, this question is presented in my heart, “Is Christ the center of my life and my comfort and joy? Or is this culture presented in my eyes that center of my life?”

Going on from Msgr. Shea’s talk throughout the men’s individual sessions, I was able to hear the importance of being a Catholic Man in today’s culture and having a brotherhood or community behind me on this faith journey. Dr. Jonathan Reyes talked on the difference from what makes a Man, “A Man,” from “A Boy.” A Man is interested in Respect, but a boy wants friends. A Man will finish or do hard tasks; boys, on the other hand, give up when life gets hard.

The question I asked myself is presented in Jn 15:13; “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Do I take on Manhood as a Catholic Man in my life willing to take those words that our Lord gives us, or am I a Man who wants to stay as a Boy and give up when life gets too hard?

Later on, during Seek, I was able to hear talks on finding my vocation and building in fellowship with our faith community here at St. Elizabeth’s, but ultimately, I left Seek with a question in my heart, “Am I going to embrace the Lord with Trust and not have fear of the enemy who has my number, knows my name, and wants the worst for me, or am I going to stay a boy and give up when life gets hard from fear or from rejection?”

I left Seek with a greater relationship with the Lord because of sitting in on great talks from Catholics, living their Identity to the fullest, embracing the cross, and with my community at St. Elizabeth’s but also students, priests, brothers, and religious sisters from all around the globe. Spending the start of the new year with 25,000 Catholics going to confession, able to experience the sacraments, but also good truth gave me a chance to say more fully, “Yes, Lord, you are my Comfort and Joy.”

SEEK24 Testimony – Matt Kopala