There are so many things worthy of mention, but one of the coolest parts about being Catholic has to be the Tradition. We’re a Church built on a 2,000 year old foundation, y’all – with Christ, Himself, as our Founder and “cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:6).
There are a lot of opinions and conspiracy “theories” floating around about the next pope and the papacy, in general, these days. No doubt there is an author somewhere preparing to rewrite history, once again, in a best-seller telling us all about “what’s really happening” behind the closed doors of this papal election.
We, like the Samaritan woman, continually ask God, “Where have you been?” or “Where were you?” when relationships or life don’t go the way we planned.
The thing is God never asks us, “Where have you been” because He knows where we’ve been. He knows the websites, the parties, the rooms we have entered, and the bottles we have opened to satisfy our thirst. He knows the relationships we have been in and the lines we have crossed emotionally, physically, and sexually. And yet, He sits at the wall of the well waiting for us to discover Him and accept His mercy and love.
Life is stressful, right? Between school and work and relationships, it can be exhausting, and Spring Break is the perfect way to blow off some steam and finally relax. And over the next few weeks, countless teens and young adults will make very, very poor decisions – some that they won’t remember, and some they won’t be able to forget, because they’ll regret them for the rest of their lives – all in the name of freedom.
Think about the coolest thing you’ve ever made and how excited you were to show it to your friends and family. You didn’t find your best creation to be boring, stupid, and ugly. If you had designed the iphone 5, you’d be pretty stoked to show the whole world your handiwork.
Now imagine you had the power to create a person who could think and feel . . . and possibly love you back. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty obsessed with my person.
Saint Peter died defending a faith that wouldn’t submit to any empire. The witness of millions of martyrs over the past 2,000 years gives testimony to faith that is unflinching and love that is stronger than death.
Today when you walk toward St. Peter’s Square, you can’t help but notice the obelisk that was once a sign of Rome’s power. In the past two millennia, empires and kingdoms, presidents and dictators have risen and fallen . . . but the Church remains standing.
The idea of discerning our vocation can cause a lot of anxiety. Wondering if we are called to be married, enter religious life, who we should date, if we should visit convents or try out seminary can be overshadowed by fear – fear that we’ll do the wrong thing or that God will plant us somewhere that will make us miserable.
So often I grasp for more and more. Things are good but I want them to be better. I have so much . . . why do I always want more?
This week has taught me to slow down and receive what God is giving me, and not complain that I want more or less. He knows what I can and can’t handle today. And He won’t give me more than I can handle – with His grace.
You see, more isn’t always better. I used to always focus on achieving, but now I want to focus on receiving. Our Lord is the Giver of all good gifts.
Now it is time to have all of the cardinals gather for the conclave. The conclave is a secret meeting of all of the College of Cardinals, in which they are locked in a part of the Vatican palace, where all access is walled off except for one door only (which once the cardinals enter is locked from both the outside and inside).
Figuring out what to do in the future is one of the things that most young people struggle to figure out. Now that you know your identity, you can remind yourself that God, indeed, has a purpose for you. You were created for a reason, and figuring that reason out will be one of the most exciting things you ever do.
Discernment is simply seeking and discovering God’s will in your life. It’s an adventure with God and it begins with bringing a question to the Lord. It’s easier if the question that you ask isn’t an open-ended question.
You know religion comes from the word “religare” meaning “to bind” – something we may not like. But you know sin? The word sin comes from a German word “Sünde” that means “to sunder” . . . to tear apart . . . to be divided.
And I don’t know about you but I have a sundered heart. I have a divided heart. I have a heart with sin and so I need religion because I have division and I need to be bound back together. I need some binding of my own. And I think God’s people – we’ve been sundered – we need religion, we need religare – we need to be bound.
The word “infallible” does not mean that the pope is perfect. It also does not mean that the pope knows everything. Instead, infallibility only applies when the pope speaks about solemn, official teachings on faith and morals, and he can’t ever change, add, or subtract Christian doctrine.
He only helps define or explain what we already believe, and he doesn’t do it on his own. The infallible teachings of the Pope are the result of many years – sometimes hundreds of years – of consultation with the other bishops and theologians of the Church. He is, in effect, voicing the belief of the whole Church.
As a teenager, my neat little idea of home was damaged and changed by my parents divorce. So many people go through life feeling homeless. Many people, through loss of job or one unfortunate event after another, end up with no place to live. Even people who live in big houses may still feel like they have no home. Other people, who feel like no one in their house really knows them or understands them, feel as though they have a house but no home.
“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 . . . “
I want a lot of things out of life. I want to be happy. I want to feel like I have purpose. I want to be loved. I want to make a difference. I want to live a life I’m proud of. I want to be a saint. I want chocolate and tacos but not at the same time.
But I don’t know where to find those vague and lofty desires. Are they only talked about in poems and songs? Because so many people around me aren’t happy with their lives, or haven’t found their purpose, or are settling for counterfeit love and a bottle of booze.
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.”
First, while the prophecy is supposed to have been written down by Saint Malachy in the 12th century, it was never spoken of even once before it surprisingly appeared out of nowhere at the very end of the 16th century. For a prophecy that supposedly predicts the Apocalypse in great detail, that’s an amazing fact! Would a true prophecy really go more than 400 years without being mentioned even a single time? I don’t think so.
Second, while the prophecy proves to be rather accurate about all the popes before the 16th century, it is extremely vague and inaccurate for the popes who came after.
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.