Community: Heaven on Earth

Written by Jasmine Gowidjaja

Before coming to university, I thought that my faith had to be a stand-alone— something private that only consisted of my relationship with God. Even then, I still wanted to be in a community so that I can be grounded in my faith as I begin this new phase of life. However, my idea of “being grounded in faith” was naïve and flawed. I had the misconception that even though I will be surrounded by like-minded individuals journeying towards Heaven, they are only there to serve as reminders and warnings. I believed that the journey towards Heaven is still ultimately one that I had to take alone. Fortunately, this preconceived notion of community was changed though Kickstart and my subsequent adventure with Ubi Caritas.

I remember on the first day of Kickstart, they asked where I was headed to. I knew I was heading towards God, but it was as if I was wandering aimlessly through a dense forest trying to find Him. However, through the activities and meals we had with our uni communities, it seemed as if the Father gave me the gift I needed to narrow my search for Him: community. I realised that these people are also equally lost trying to look for Him but together, we form a sort of search and rescue party to find God in this forest. In this way, we journey together and help each other reach the ultimate goal: to find God and reunite with Him. I am forever grateful to Kickstart for connecting me and easing me into Ubi, my home away from Home. 

Even after a year of immersing myself in community sessions and activities, I am still truly amazed at how present and alive God is among us, especially in community. Community is not just a place where people strive to emulate Christ, but it is also the physical manifestation of Christ himself and a direct connection to His heart. In my fears and anxiety, I meet Christ in the people who remind me to have faith to step out into the stormy waters. When I feel helpless and overwhelmed at the amount of the things I have to do, I see Jesus in the people who comfort me and help me figure things out—just as He did when He performed the miracle at the wedding of Cana. Through the people who have been blessed with the charism of preaching, I see 12-year-old Jesus at the temple, inspiring me with their conviction to continue my journey towards God. Community life has been a beautiful reminder that God is truly present with me even in this challenging chapter of my life. Community reminds me that God is not merely an abstract idea, but something that is tangible and impactful in my life. In short, community is not merely a bridge between Heaven and earth, but Heaven on earth. In its likeness to Heaven, community has been a place where I can share in my joy and happiness, but also find refuge and comfort in my suffering.

Brothers and sisters, university life is exciting and the possibilities are endless; you will no doubt be faced with many crossroads ahead. If anything, this past year has taught me the importance of having a rock to ground myself on through the ups and downs of uni life. And what anchor is stronger than the almighty God? As you start this new chapter of your life, allow God to be your anchor and let Him shine His light on the path He has beautifully crafted for you. When the journey gets tough, look around and remember that you have companions walking with you and supporting you!