As you may know, SteubySTL is right around the corner. You can better prepare yourself by reflectively asking “What am I bringing to Steubenville?”
Maybe it’s your first time and you don’t know what to expect so you’re wondering how you should prepare. Or maybe you’ve attended a couple times before and want to deepen your experience a little bit.
What to Bring Physically
The first and most obvious way to interpret this question is to just figure out what you’re actually going to pack. What we take with us for the journey should indicate our journey’s purpose, and so I hope that you take some time to reflect about what you pack. Your Steubenville weekend should be a time of play, reflection, community, prayer, and encounter. Bring the tools that will support those ends: a journal, a rosary, a Frisbee. Try to unplug yourself for one weekend and leave gadgets like your laptop behind (you won’t find any wi-fi anyway). When we free ourselves from these distractions, we can become more attentive to what God and our neighbors say to us. So pack the essentials, and only the essentials like comfortable shoes, a sweater for the notoriously cold arena, and deodorant.
What to Bring Spiritually
If we spend time packing a suitcase to prepare ourselves physically, it makes sense that we should also spend some time to prepare ourselves spiritually. Figuring out what to pack is easy, but bringing a certain spiritual state is a little more difficult and takes a little bit of preparation.
Worship can be like exercise. No one wakes up one day and decides to run a marathon (unless you are Barney in that one How I Met Your Mother episode). It takes time, practice, and preparation. An athlete runs a few miles every day and trains to go the distance of the entire marathon. If you want to “go the distance” in your relationship with Christ at the Steubenville conference, do some spiritual training of your own leading up to it by spending time in prayer.
If you want to make the most of your weekend, bring Christ in your heart. Then as you pray, listen to speakers, experience community with friends, and participate in the sacraments, be aware of how Christ is deepening that relationship with you.
Remember the gifts of His Spirit, bring them, and share them: knowledge, counsel, wisdom, understanding, fortitude, piety, and wonder.
As you may know, the theme of this year’s conference is “Thirst,” so bring a thirst for the Lord. You can unpack the them a little more here.
At the very least, come with an open heart. Empty your heart of fears, anxieties, and worries so that you can be filled by love, community, and the joy of Christ. Be open to how God may speak to you at every session, small group, and sacrament.
What to Bring Home
Regardless of whether or not you brought Christ with you at the beginning of the weekend, I hope and pray that you take Him home with you after the conference.