IV. The Role of Youth
At one time, a large majority in our culture was Christian. Over the years that number has shrunk, and today being a Christian often means swimming against the tide, standing out from the crowd.
In these days after the pandemic, when so many have stopped practicing their faith altogether, it probably feels even more lonely than ever to be a person of faith. Given our times, you may be asking yourself, “What is the point of standing out? Why should I be any different from my friends and peers?”
The ultimate meaning of Christianity
The feeling of loneliness, which so many people continue to experience today, is actually a sign that we are searching for a deeper and ultimate meaning behind everything. Almost two thousand years ago, Saint Augustine of Hippo transformed that feeling into a prayer to God: “You have made us for Yourself, and, our hearts are restless, until they rest in You.” To know that kind of peace is to discover something greater than anything we could ever imagine.
Guided by a spiritual family
Imagine finding yourself in an undiscovered country. Would it not be good to have an experienced guide? What if your hearts and souls are like the ultimate undiscovered country? What if you looked for guidance from those who, over the course of thousands of years, have made that same journey? The good news is that we are not alone, and the guidance that we are searching for is made available to us through Our Lord, the Holy Mother of God, and the Church and her many saints.
The Church is your family too
You have been created in God’s image, and you are called to communion with God and with one another in the spiritual family that He established. Members of this family are those who, even while recognizing their imperfections, have been forever changed by an encounter with God. They often encounter people from different walks of life, including those who are strangers to God and who have never known Him at all. Who knows? Maybe God is calling you to help them on that journey to find Him, as well.
A call to youth
Pope St. John Paul II once challenged young people, “Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Pope Benedict XVI spoke to young people about their destiny, “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” The message was the same: we will only discover what we are looking for by taking part in the great adventure ourselves.
To get you started on that journey into the deep and to greatness, ask yourselves the following questions:
1. What do the Church and her teachings mean to me? Why is faith important, and why is my faith important to me?
2. Do I have a personal relationship with God, or have I never really given myself a chance to build one?
3. Do I regularly encounter grace in the sacraments, or has it been a while since I took part in them?