Evangelizing Our Youth

“I think in particular of our need to speak to the hearts of young people, who, despite their constant exposure to messages contrary to the Gospel, continue to thirst for authenticity, goodness and truth. Much remains to be done, particularly on the level of preaching and catechesis in parishes and schools, if the New Evangelization is to bear fruit for the renewal of ecclesial life in America.”
— Pope Benedict XVI

I had the privilege of watching and listening to a friend and youth minister share the Gospel with half a dozen teenagers in the RCIT program tonight.

I’m still sort of in shock — not because I was surprised by how authentically and passionately he delivered his message, but by how blown away the teens seemed to be! They were intensely engaged in what he was describing… as if the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a new story. They had admitted less than five minutes before that it was a story they all knew, yet here they were: leaning forward in anticipation, mouths slightly open, and brows furrowed in deep thought.

We broke open Scripture — John 3:16. We discussed the four reasons for the Incarnation (CCC 457-460). He told the story — he shared the Gospel. Then, the real Truth: this is what it’s all about. There is nothing else, this is what matters. He spoke to their hearts, he spoke with authority, and he catechized.

“Authentic catechesis is always an orderly and systematic initiation into the revelation that God has given of Himself to humanity in Christ Jesus, a revelation stored in the depths of the Church’s memory and in Sacred Scripture, and constantly communicated from one generation to the next by a living, active traditio.” (Catechesi Tradendae 22)

I have never seen the faces or heard the almost inaudible gasps as people have heard such a solid Christian witness. I heard their questions and understood their desire to know indisputable Truths, the credibility of our faith, the greatness of Mysteries, and the beauty of the Passion and the Cross. They continue to thirst for authenticity, goodness, and truth.

It’s so beautiful, to see how God can open hearts. Pray that our youth will be open to hearing the Gospel anew, and that the Spirit will give us the words to share what we have been privileged to know!

Our teens are living in darkness. We’ve got work to do. Let’s go, people!!

Conformed and Confirmed

Recently, I was reading someone’s perspective on Confirmation and the preparation for the sacrament… all the classes, catechesis, training, retreats, and completion of requirements. Before I could even absorb anything, I was thinking about our class of sophomore candidates and everything that still needed to be done or put in motion. I wondered about where they are, if they are ready, if they are sincerely willing. I thought of things that need to change, ways to reach them better, and on and on and on. I wasn’t really reading; I was skimming and thinking with far too much on my mind — until a single misspelling made me stop where I was and reconsider everything.

Conformation.

The world tells us that conformity is a terrible thing. Maybe the most despicable thing there is! Conforming means someone else has power, not you! Conforming means you have to sacrifice being true to yourself! You are brainwashed, controlled, and manipulated. So the world screams, increasingly louder: Don’t be conformed! Don’t let anyone tell you what to do! Freedom means doing what YOU think is right and necessary. The greatest evil is to let someone else control you. 

It is a self-absorbed and hedonistic battle cry. Eventually, we realize that this battle is exhausting, never-ending, and will ultimately be devastatingly fatal. We begin to search for greater truth.

For our teens, this is the last step of initiation into the Catholic Church. This is the opportunity to take ownership, stand up, and claim the faith as Truth. It is the time to utter a final “yes” to be conformed to the Catholic Church, her teaching and tradition, and to Christ.

Conform. Conformation. Read More »

November Love

I love November!! I don’t really know why… well, sure I do! It’s FALL, and growing up in Southeast Texas, it doesn’t get cool here until November. It’s the month of Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping and decorating. Leaves are changing colors and it’s time for scarves and sweaters! (Like I said, Texas is a little behind on the action. I like it.) I’m not a big fan of Halloween, but I love hayrides and wrapping up in blankets, drinking hot cocoa and cider, special drinks at Starbucks, and did I mention…. getting ready for CHRISTMAS?! My favorite!! SO, I am a very happy girl now that Halloween is past and November is here!

Today is All Saints Day, and it’s the first year I feel like I have a really good grasp of the meaning of it. I’ve known what it was since… well, kindergarten, I’m sure! I was a Catholic school kid, afterall. We had projects that were tradition! In the 3rd grade, I made a paper towel tube version of a saint (I don’t remember who… but I think she wore blue, so it might’ve been Mary). In the 5th grade, I made a poster with an awesome sword on it and wrote a report on St. Agnes. And in the 7th grade — the greatest of all saint projects in school that EVERY kid looked forward to — I wrote a long report, prepared an oral presentation, and dressed up as St. Helen of the Cross! Seventh graders get to process down the aisle at the all-school Mass on the morning of All Saints Day to the litany of the saints, and then visit classrooms throughout the school, impersonating and telling your saint’s story! I’m telling you… it was the greatest. I even had my own cross to carry around all day. LEGIT.

But anyway, this All Saints Day makes me so thankful for all the REAL LIFE people out there that have made the choice every single day to be God’s! I just recently learned about Blessed Chiara “Luce” Badano via this news post. What an inspiration! Read More »