“Joy is really a gift of the holy spirit, it’s something that God pours into your heart. And when God invites you to do something and you respond, usually what happens after that is beyond your wildest dreams because you begin to encounter the Lord in new ways, and in mysterious ways that you don’t even really fully understand. But it’s all just so beautiful and I think that’d be the word that captures my life as a sister.
I just feel like I encounter and experience beauty in way that I’ve never understood before. It helps me to trust the Lord more, to trust in His love for me, to know that I belong to Him, that i’m His spouse . . . “
In the works of Cardinal Ratzinger I met a man of not only extraordinary intellect and clarity, but of a deep faith and profound humility, a man living in the love and knowledge of the Truth Incarnate – in Jesus Christ, the Word of God. And it was (and still is) Jesus Christ who seemed to permeate his entire being, so much so that my own insatiable thirst for Truth, for the very Person of Jesus Christ, became increasingly set ablaze.
In Cardinal Ratzinger I knew I had found a trusted guide and teacher in the fullness of the Christian faith. It was then that I became an unofficial member of the “Ratzinger Fan Club.”
Well, a lot has happened in those 15 years, and as I prepare to turn the ripe old age of 33 (my Jesus year), I’ve been reflecting on a lot of hard lessons I’ve learned along the way. If only there had been older adults giving me advice during my high school years, perhaps I could have been saved from a lot of heartache and bad decisions.
But, since I didn’t listen to my parents, I made a New Year’s Resolution to develop a time machine, crank it up to 88 mph, and have a little chat with myself.
If this were actually possible, here are 22 things I would tell the high school me:
Warning: first I’m going to rant, then I shall apologize, and then I will offer a solution for you because I’m nice like that. And because I like you and want you to be happier than you look in your #foreveralone selfie and sound in your #foreveralone tweet.
I couldn’t help but think, though, that in the world’s excitement to see history made with the upcoming papal conclave and all of the talk about who the “candidates” are – that we have forgotten about the man who has guided our Church through some of the most challenging times in history.
Pope Benedict XVI in his eight years as pope will leave behind an amazing legacy, and one that as a teen you should know about.
I’ve been to hundreds of youth conferences, camps, and retreats. And rarely one goes by that I don’t hear a men’s or women’s talk that encourage those who are single to spend time waiting, trusting, and praying for their future spouse. Now I know the analogy can get a little weird if we push it too far, so let’s be careful there. But in the same way that a single person who is waiting for a future spouse makes it a good practice to pray for their future spouse, we as a Church should pray for the future pope. We should ask the Lord to protect him, bless him, and make him ready. We should ask the Lord to give us strength, to encourage us in the interregnum (the time between popes), and to make us a more loving and faithful Church under the care of the next pope.
For me, it took my mind wondering and asking what my next pope would be like to realize how important it was to be praying for him every day.
About three years ago, I went through a big conversion and in the course of a few months my faith grew exponentially and so much in my life changed. I was reading everything about the Church I could get my hands on, I prayed the rosary daily and I practically lived in the adoration chapel. I was in love with my faith and everyone around me knew it.
However, as wonderful as my renewed spiritual life was, I quickly began to freak out . . . being that holy obviously meant I was being called to be a nun, right?
Yes, you need to date! Dating is an important part of discerning the kind of person you want to marry. How will you know what you’re looking for in a marriage partner if you don’t experience different kinds of people? I am NOT saying you should hooking up with everyone. I am saying you can’t expect your future spouse to show up on your doorstep and fall in love with you at first sight. All good things take effort.
If you’re at the place where you’re wondering whether or not you should begin a committed relationship with someone, here’s some advice I pulled from the recesses of my wisdom treasure trove.
I hope it’s helpful. I think it is . . . unless your goal is to date Harry Styles. I got nothin’ for you there. Good luck.
This is Don and Norma Jean. They’ve been married for 60 years. I only talked with them for a few minutes but that was all it took for me to see how much they were in still in love. Couples like Don and Norma Jean prove to us that we aren’t all doomed to broken hearts and broken marriages. True love exists; marriage is possible. Every magazine will tell you about “10 Tips to Find a Hot Date,” “How to Make Your Crush Love You,” “7 Ways to Keep Him Interested,” and “The Failed Marriages Read more [...]
Just as his predecessor Blessed Pope John Paul II had done with teaching us all how to die with dignity. Pope Benedict XVI has given the Church a new expression of fully living the Paschal Mystery – that of dying and rising with Christ. It is an amazing example of putting everyone else in front of you in line, so that all humanity can be served. This Pope’s decision was “fearless.”
Ready to move beyond just giving up chocolate? Last year we gave you 25 Creative Ideas for Lent. This year, we wanted to expand upon that list. Except, if you know us, you know we like to make things a bit . . . well . . . more interesting. So here’s a list of weird things to do for lent. The best part is that even though they’re a bit odd, they will actually help you to be holy! Don’t eat the last bite of your food Park at the very back of the parking lot Put a popcorn kernel in your shoe Read more [...]
What’s the point of judging a girl by her clothes anyway?
To change her mind and get her to change her clothes? The idea that you should run around and say “it has to come to this line and this line only” in order to be modest is such a legalistic approach and misses the whole point of the discussion about modesty. Since when do people – especially young people – respond well to being confined to a set of rules? It doesn’t work. No one wants to obey the ten commandments if they don’t have a relationship with God. And no one will listen to someone who only wants to tell them what they’re suggesting with how many inches of leg they’re showing. There’s something more going on.
Fulfilled, happy people don’t post suggestive photos of themselves on Facebook.
When we hear the stories of the saints, the men and women who loved with all their hearts and responded to God’s call with everything they had, it’s like watching a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl. The heroic examples of the saints are not some random occurrences that just kind of happen; they are the products of lives spent learning to say “yes” to God’s call in a thousand small ways. Before Saint Agnes or Saint Maximilian Kolbe ultimately gave their lives as martyrs, they had been practicing sacrifice and learning to trust God in the small things of daily life.
I’ve experienced life without my fiancée Jackie and I want no more of it. After years of discernment and three years in seminary formation, I’ve been graced with clarity and peace over this decision. I want to soak up as much Jackie Francois as I can in the time I have been given in this life. Her love has already broken me free of so many stubborn memories and unnecessary fear, giving me courage to become the man God needs me to be, a man that will do his best to lead her to Heaven.
Scripture advises us, “let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant” (Sirach 6:6). This could be re-written for social media as, “go ahead and share that funny meme about the cat with your many acquaintances, but when you’re having a fight with your mom confide in your friend on the phone– not the whole world with a status update.”
When we post, we should always ask what our motivation is. Is it encouraging? Does it share the best about me and others? Would I stand up in front of my entire school and announce what I’m about to write on the world wide web?
However, the truth is this: the most commonly used birth control pill is nothing more than a mask.
Just like make up only covers up a pimple, the birth control pill only covers up the symptoms of a woman’s menstrual issue. Sure the pill might make a woman’s cycle seem regular, but in reality, it is only fooling her body and her mind.
I want a love that’s strong enough to wait for marriage and commitment. Someone who wants what’s best for me and my body. I’m not looking for someone who’s okay with me chemically altering my body for the sake of pleasure without consequences.
I want the consequences – but I want them in marriage where they’re supposed to be. I want to feel bonded to another person, body and soul (Genesis 2:24). I want to be faithful to one person and give myself fully, freely, and allow that to bear the fruit of children.
Women, you deserve so much better. You deserve to be honored and treasured as living, breathing miracles that reveal God to the world in a way that men never could. Scripture says that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and your bodies reflect God’s glory and his life-giving power in such an amazing way (1 Corinthians 6:19).
The day I saw those two lines indicating a positive result, my whole world completely turned upside down. I was living every young girl’s worst nightmare. I was pregnant. At the time I found out I was pregnant, I was single, alone, and afraid. I literally felt I had no one to turn to. The weight of my own embarrassment, shame, self-hatred, and loss of self-worth was too much to bear and I never told a single soul I was pregnant and scheduled an abortion even though I knew to my very core it was wrong.