Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Young. Catholic. Alive.

Over these past few weeks, as a newbie blogger, I have been reading various blogs out there in the virtual world. One thing I have noticed on some blogs is a discussion of the absence of the youth in the Church. Today I feel compelled to point out the fact that we are young, we are Catholic, and we are alive. As the late John Paul the Great often reminded the world, the youth are not the future of the Church, they are the Church.

At the turn of the millenium, Pope John Paul II told the youth that "the true fruits of the Youth Jubilee can never be calculated by statistics, but only in works of love and justice, and in everyday faithfulness, so invaluable, yet so often unseen. I have entrusted to you, dear young people,the task of offering the world this consistent evangelical witness." Take this to heart. Though we may be few, we are faithful. We love the Church. We are striving to grow in knowledge and understanding of the Faith. And we are not satisfied with the world we live in and are pursuing change. We are taking up Pope Benedict XVI's call for a saintly revolution founded in the love of Christ present in the Eucharist.

We are going to Mass, we are spending time in adoration, and we are praying for the Church as a whole. We are praying for each other, for an increase in priestly and religious vocations, for a respect of the sanctity of human life, and for peace and justice in the world. We're not only praying, we're getting involved. We're volunteering as catechists, leading youth groups, and actively participating in parish life. We are leading pro-life groups, sharing the Gospel of Life with our friends, and preaching through the example of our own lives.

Though we may be few, we are strong. As Cardinal Ratzinger has indicated in the past, a smaller Church with Catholics who are Faithful to the Deposit of Faith will only grow stronger in the long run. Don't worry we are here.

I acknowledge that I am blessed to be accessing an 'orthodox' Catholic post-secondary education, and I have thus been able to surround myself with friends who share my passion for the Faith. Yet it's not just on Catholic college campuses that the Faith is alive and well. In our archdiocese, for instance, we have a Catholic outreach program on secular post-secondary institution campuses that is drawing hundreds of hung people [some back] into the fullness of Truth. Once a month, hundreds (literally!) of university students "give up" their Saturday night, not to go to the bar or go clubbing, but rather, to spend several hours in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

While there is valid criticism in that many young people do not know their Faith, are falling away from the sacramental life of the Church, and have a perverted vision of human sexuality, are they entirely responsible for that? It is our responsibility as a community of faithful to share the Faith with them. Where parents have neglected the baptismal vows they made for their children, we must step in. If you know a young Catholic struggling in their Faith, take the time to establish a relationship with them and show them the love of Christ. Answer their questions. Be patient. Listen. Pray.

If you think the young people in your parish aren't adequately catechized, then start a youth / young adults catechism program. If you think that they have missed the mark when it comes to human sexuality, share with them the beauty of the Theology of the Body. If you think that they are searching in all the wrong places to 'find Jesus,' point them to the Eucharist. If they are struggling with personal problems, the uncertainty of their future, or their sinful nature (as we all are), point them to a priest willing to give spiritual direction.

Rather than complaining, let's step in and make a difference, young and old alike. Where there is a need in the Church, let us discern in prayer and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, how God is calling us to fill that need.

It's one thing to say that the youth are living a life of sexual impurity and perversion, but what if they have never been provided with an adequate explanation of the beauty of the Church's teachings on human sexuality? It's one thing to say that they are ignorant of their Faith, but what if they have never received adequate catechesis? It's one thing to say they are disengaged and uninterested in the Mass, but what if no one has ever adequately explained the Mass to them? It's one thing to say that there is a lack of vocations, but what if vocations are not being prayed for and encouraged within the domestic church and the parish life?

Blessed Mother, ever Virgin...pray for us!
St. Maria Gorretti...pray for us!
Blessed Pier Giorgio...pray for us!
All angels and saints...pray for us!