At my cousin's Confirmation March 7th.Honored to be her sponsor!
As I looked back upon my adolescent years which were spent rather distant from The Catholic Church teachings, it made me wonder. How is it that we can form our youth today with a hunger and a yearning to be active within the Church community? More so, how do we succeed in the formation of Catholic youth?
There is an emptiness in simply throwing them teachings of the Church, citations from the Youcat, and also telling them how they are to live. The greatest formation of our youth comes from us as young adults and leaders being formed ourselves. It comes from our witness of living the faith with honesty and openness. There is a way that we can teach them the doctrine, dogma, and discipline remaining fully invested with our hearts and our experiences. The best way we can aid in the formation of our youth is by first understanding that this work begins with our Lord.
One must recognize the undeniable power of our Lord's intercession and His ultimate desire that we as children come to him and strive to live life according to His design and purpose for us.We must remember that we do not teach alone.
I often find myself in conversation with many parents of youth and young adults alike with a deep desire to keep their children in the faith. They are willing to do whatever it takes to help them become strong Catholic youth. Their intent is obviously driven by love for their children and is very admirable, yet, in looking back within our very own lives and histories we may find moments that we too fell, doubted, and experienced spiritual darkness. To deny this reality is to avoid an honest truth. It is to deny the peaks and valleys that we experience on our spiritual journey.
As a "revert" to the Catholic faith I often look back upon moments in my life where many were sharing the faith with me. This year as I taught Catechism to some Confirmation candidates I placed myself back in grade 8 Catechism classes and remembered what it was like for me, only thirteen years ago. I remember my absent thoughts, my lack of openness, my hearing but not receiving of all the goodness being taught. And yet, somehow through God's grace and the gift of faith the power of that same Sacrament remained etched within my entire being. I realized that the most valuable lesson I could share was not isolated to what was written down, but what was exuded by my witness and love for the faith.
Lord, we ask that You provide us with patience and understanding as we seek to pass on the faith to our youth. Remain present to everyone in roles of leadership who share Your word and the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. Enable us to witness the faith with the joy that only You can bring. May the youth that we educate be used as Your instruments to call home those who have fallen away from the Church. May we encourage an openness to the vocation of Religious Life and Your will above all. Help us strengthen our own faith in times of doubt and despair. We thank you for the gift of being privileged to guide Your children as we too seek to follow You. We ask for the intercession of all the Angels and Saints, and may the protection and love of Our Most Holy Mother Mary shield us from all harm. May we keep our prayers fervent for all of our youth in the Church; especially those who are approaching the Sacrament of Confirmation. Amen. (C.C.)