Faith Drives Daniel Rodriguez '20 to Get Involved at USD

Daniel Rodriguez '20, an architecture and Spanish double major, expresses how his faith has grown while attending USD. Graduating senior Daniel Rodriguez, double major in architecture and Spanish, is also very involved with University Ministry and has seen his faith grow as his involvement on campus has increased.

Daniel Rodriguez is a graduating senior who is a double major in architecture and Spanish at the University of San Diego. He’s participated in multiple retreats through University Ministry as a participant and student leader. As a McNair Scholar, Rodriguez combined his major fields to do a research project this past summer. He volunteers at Founders Chapel Mass and is the public relations chairperson for Associated Student Government. Rodriguez shares insight into his faith and how it has grown while at USD.

My faith has always been one of the most important values in my life. When I arrived to USD, I thought my faith was figured out, but little did I know that it would be challenged and that I had so much to learn and grow. It’s hard to follow faith blindly, and there will always be challenging times. During my second year of college, I read a reflection by theologian James Cone that changed the way I viewed, and lived out, my faith.

I was hungry

and you formed a humanities club

and you discussed my hunger.

Thank you.

I was imprisoned

and you crept off quietly to your basement chapel and

prayed for my release.

I was naked

and in your mind, you debated the morality of my appearance.

I was sick

and you knelt and thanked God for your health.

I was homeless

and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.

I was lonely

and you left me alone to pray for me.

What does it profit a man to page through his book of prayers

when the rest of the world

is crying for his help?

After listening to this, I had no response. I was in shock, and felt as if my faith was something not worth practicing because of all the suffering that exists in the world. I felt hopeless for some time, because I didn’t understand what Cone was trying to say.

St. Teresa of Avila, one of my favorite saints, helped me and brought the hectic0ness full circle with one of her prayers, which showed me how to digest those words which I thought so harsh. She also showed me where my faith was going to take me next. In one of her many books she wrote:

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

This prayer by St. Teresa again transformed my faith. It was the perfect response to the other text, which caused so much confusion in my faith. My role as a follower of Christ was not calling me to live cloistered or closed off from the world for my own sake, but to actively work for the good of all within my community.

Both reflections challenged me to get involved on the USD campus through organizations like University Ministry, but I also became part of many other groups on campus that dedicate themselves to student activism and community immersion. While at USD, I’ve learned my faith should not be lived behind closed doors. Instead, my faith calls me to learn from others and work as proactively I can to help those around me.

— Daniel Rodriguez ’20

Photos by Zachary Barron


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