As a Catholic Speaker and Author one of my favorite audiences to talk to is, well you, the young church. I’ll admit, my ministry is not one which is always about the most games or how silly I can make things, but it is filled with passion and conviction to let everyone I present to know how deeply I believe in them as a Catholic Christian. When it comes to discussing our faith, I guess you could say I feel if the rest of the world is treating you like an adult in every way they market to you and talk to you and even try to persuade you to change your ideals, than it’s important we do the same in the church. My goal is simply to get you to experience deeper understanding of how deeply you are loved by Jesus Christ so you may encounter Him so often it drowns out the negativity of the world we live in. Despite everything that is going on in the world, we have to know who we are, what we stand for and evaluate the manner which we respond to the temptations of the world.
As young disciples, the choices you are making are very important, but understanding why you are doing what you are doing is even more important.
God knows your heart and He knows all you are capable of being. What He doesn’t want is for your attention or your motives to move away from what you believe. It’s not always the popular choice to be the one who goes against what everybody else is doing because you know it’s not right, in the same manner, it’s not proper to act righteous (or “holier than thou”) when your mind has stolen the motives of your heart to make things about what is best for you instead of doing things to glorify God.
The manner in which you live your life as a follower of Jesus Christ must be without judgement, but rather a joy filled life which inspires people to share your faith because of the example you set before them. It doesn’t do us any good to have laws, church teaching or even strong youth ministry if we are going to live a discipleship based life only when we are at church or when others are looking.
My brothers and sisters, we are called to be more. This doesn’t make it easy, however it does make things fulfilling. Let your actions not become the focus as much as the result which your service yields. Don’t think about the canned food you donate as the ultimate sign you are committed, reflect upon the gratitude of the family who will receive a meal because the Lord called and you answered. The less fortunate who was blessed to have you help rebuild their home or community prayed for help and it came in the form of a group from a city they have never been to because you desire to be a reflection of the compassion Christ offered to others. Even in our homes, we must decide to treat others as the image of Christ to give every member the best chance to remain faithful and be a living example of the joy we are called into through the gift of being together. We ultimately become transformed because we live the Gospel not simply hear its words.
The best defense in a world which asks us to focus on the bad things, or even calls out for us to be hypocritical to our Catholic faith, is to surrender to the beauty of our call. Look beyond the moment of what feels good, is mostly popular with your friends or even what might be easiest and give God the glory He deserves by being the difference maker who might just change other’s hearts in the process. From social media, to school, to home and beyond, people want to see how we handle ourselves as Catholic Christians, let’s make sure they know who we are not for the negative reasons they look for, but for all the positives they witness.
I guess what Jesus is really telling us could be summed up as, “God’s not looking for actors to play a part in His church, He is looking for us to be His children
I pray God meets you everywhere you desire Him always.