Whom shall I send?

We often wonder if today’s young people get it! Do they understand their faith? Are they willing to live it? Can we trust them to be the Church of today? 

The past few weekends I have been fully immersed in retreats, the youth convention and middle school rallies. I have seen and witnessed firsthand the active power of the Holy Spirit working with and within the young people I have had the honor of ministering to. So often many of us are ready to give up on the young people in our lives, our neighborhoods, our communities, and our churches. We are constantly bombarded with news of their various misdeeds and failures, but yet there are so many more actively living their lives in faith-filled ways. Our youth are seeking, are hungry and thirsty for so much more in their lives, they long to be a major part of our Church, to belong and to share their love of God with anyone willing to listen. 

Do we create environments that allow them to express their beliefs, their convictions, their ready acceptance that God is truly the center of their lives? Or are we too wrapped up in the traditions and rituals that seem to exclude those who want to live a faith that is fully alive in them and their worlds? Are we afraid to allow creativity into our faith lives? Are we afraid to venture out of the norm, to see Church beyond its walls? Or to open up the Word of God and make it relevant to our lives today, or to see ourselves in Scripture and understand that those Words have as much meaning for us today, as they did so many years ago?

The past few weeks we have seen how Jesus did just that, how He ventured beyond the rules and constraints of His time to minister to those in need. We have seen Him curing a man blinded from birth, speaking to a Samaritan woman in the middle of the day, and simply reaching out to those who would normally be ignored or forsaken by others. He dared to bring Church to others; He dared to look beyond the walls built by human hands, tearing them down piece by piece, getting to the very heart of what it means to be Church. He was willing to think outside the box, to go where others feared to tread, to lead us to Salvation, to all that is promised through the Father; to a life filled with love, hope and faith. 

Yet so often we are ready to blame the world around us, fearful to look into our own hearts, afraid that if anyone gets a glimpse of our faith life, they may not understand, or worse yet, reject us. It is always a wonderful experience for me to be surrounded by rooms filled with faith-filled people, regardless of their ages. It is refreshing and reassuring that God is still very much a part of so many out there, who would not want it any other way, who are not afraid to share their faith and love with others. 

These past weeks have reminded me that like the woman at the well, I too thirst, I too want to belong, I too want the Lord in my life, and like that woman, I am willing to leave my jug (my fears) at the well, and go out and share the Good News. Being around the youth of my parish and our diocese has filled me to overflowing, has given me a newfound hope and conviction, reminding me that God is working through each and every one of us, every single day of our lives. What we do with the stirrings within is of course, totally up to us. What I witnessed these past weekends have been poignant reminders that I, like every one of you, have so much to offer to one another. 

That our faith journeys serve not only to deepen our own faith, but to bear witness to others that God is working in each and every one of us. Reminders that we are all reflections of Christ; His hands and feet, His legs and arms, His eyes and ears, and His voice; we are the Body of Christ. How we live our lives, how we treat others, and what we are willing to sacrifice for the sake of another, allows others to see Christ, to encounter Christ, to know how much He loves them, and that He truly walks beside them each and every day. It is not our words, but our actions that speak of God’s love. Our struggles, our joys, our very own stories help others come to fully understand how God is working in our lives, how He too, can work in theirs.

The 2013 CLI graduates worked diligently at this year’s youth convention and for the closing prayer they chose the Stations of the Cross. A traditional prayer, but what they did with it made it relevant to the struggles we all face today. Reminding us all that God is the very essence of our being, and that He is as much our Father today, as He was so many years ago to all those who bore the faith to others. May we continue to bear witness to God’s love, regardless of our age or experience. 

Anchor columnist Rose Mary Saraiva can be contacted at rsaraiva@dfrcs.com.

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