Agape Latte hosted its second talk of the year on November 6th with a story by Chris Darcy. Chris Darcy is an associate director in Campus Ministry, an active volunteer with St. Ignatius Parish, and has also worked with many Boston College retreats, such as Arrupe and Kairos. In addition, Darcy volunteers as a baseball coach in his hometown of Natick Massachusetts. Although Darcy’s talk was entitled “Getting Back in the Game”, it centered around a different activity than sports: his faith life. Darcy admitted that faith is now “one of my greatest passions,” even if it wasn’t always that way.
Darcy opened his talk by addressing how different his faith life was in the past. Darcy grew up an only child and was raised Catholic. His mother was the strongest model of faith in the family. According to Darcy, she “went to Mass about six times a week, and the only time she didn’t go Mass was Saturdays because she was usually volunteering.” As a child, Darcy was inspired by his mother’s faith, but he didn’t quite understand why she was so faithful. When he would ask her, she would remark, “someday you’ll figure it out.” As Darcy got older, he “started questioning more things” and facing self-doubt, finding the messages at Mass to be “unclear.” He started to get angry with going to mass and listen to homilies about a God he didn’t understand. After six months of struggling, he finally had the courage to approach his mother and say he didn’t want to go to church. To his surprise, she wasn’t angry. She simply said, “You’ll find your way, God has a plan for you.”
Darcy then went to college at Framingham State University, where he continued to have difficulty with his faith life. He notes that in his entire undergraduate experience he went to Mass “maybe three or four times.” After taking a gap year, he started to apply to graduate schools. After being accepted to Fairfield University, Darcy was prepared to live in Connecticut, until he was devastated by the news that his mother had esophageal cancer. Although his family pressured him to stay home, his mother encouraged him to go.
At Fairfield, Darcy experienced a welcoming Jesuit community through Monday night mass, where he heard new messages that challenged him, like finding God in all things. There was a refreshing emphasis on reflection and being a loving person. He started praying again and his doubts were “starting to dissipate.” Then, he got a call from his father. “Mom’s sick. You need to come home.” When he saw his mother in the hospital, she gave him her blessed chain with Mary on it from the Vatican and told him to “hold on to it until I get home.” She died three days later.
Darcy’s newfound joy and energy for the faith were destroyed. At the funeral, he found two large tour busses in the church parking lot, filled with students and faculty from Fairfield. Darcy stated, “that, to me, was God in all things”. He saw God the most through the love and generosity of other people. After Fairfield, Darcy came to Boston College 22 years ago with an urge to serve like those who served him. He found inspiration in the joy and devotion of the Jesuits and the Boston College community. Darcy realized that the only obstacle in his faith journey was himself. He remarked, “I was so success driven, I just couldn’t step out of the way” to see God’s plan for his life.
Darcy then closed his talk by commenting that while he has made a lot of progress, he still struggles. He said that “all of us struggle, the problem is that we don’t admit it.” Darcy commented that if life is a game, “it’s not about winning… it’s about ministering in a way that people can form and develop and grow.” To end his talk, he read a statement by St. Theresa of Calcutta, encouraging the audience to serve others and live joyfully no matter how others treat you.
Photo courtesy of Agape Latte