So here is my advice to you . . . be radical! Don’t go back to your old ways. It’s a sad trend that we go on these awesome retreats, have this amazing experience of God’s power, fall deeply in love with Him, but then leave it all behind when we toss our flip flops to the back of the closet.
What if after St. Paul had his conversion experience with God, he went back to his old ways of killing Christians? That would be weird (and tragic). Then why do we think that we can return to our old ways? You don’t have to sell yourself short. Be different.
Not going to the party makes a much bolder statement. It doesn’t mean you’re judgmental. It doesn’t mean you’re anti-fun or anti-friend. It means you’re pro-God. You might think people won’t notice or won’t care, but you’re wrong. No, the entire school might not take notice but some people will. Your courageous example to step away might be exactly what others need to see to do the same. There are others who, if given another option, would rather not be at the party.
I talk to teenagers just about every day, and the conversations are often the same. They deal with the Bible and what the Church teaches and how challenging it can be to live a holy life in an unholy culture. I’d say that most teens that I talk to are truly looking for the Lord; some, however, are looking less for the Lord and more for the “loopholes.” For instance: “I heard that the Bible doesn’t say drinking alcohol is a sin.”
“Well, no, the Bible does not say that drinking alcohol is a sin,” I respond. I then go on to explain that it does become sinful (very easily), if any of the following happen…
As the new year began, I was still jobless and doubting that it was God’s plan for me to make such a big move in just a few months. However, I went to daily Mass one day and found myself begging God to help me understand what He had planned for me. I remember praying over and over, “Lord, give me the grace to follow you, even unto death.”
Can we just have a moment of silence in respect of the creative genius that wrote these lyrics and immortalized my thoughts about purity for endless generations to come? ( ……. ) Thank you. Just put your eyes on this . . .
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
This is one of those Scripture passages that many people “know” (meaning, they’ve heard it before) but countless people fail to understand. My own parochial school teacher taught us that it simply meant God loves poor people “more.”
Ummm, to put it as charitably and bluntly as possible . . . no, that’s not what it means . . .
As a result, “loving your neighbor” has become more of a general accepting of someone for everything they choose to be and do. This idea is summed up as the great “virtue” of tolerance. On the surface, it seems like a great and honorable ideal. Everyone can do what they want without being judged and nobody hurts anyone else’s feelings.
Yet we find something radically different in the biblical vision of love. In the gospel of John, Jesus says “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
We observed workers moving rocks barefoot because they only had one pair of shoes and needed them to last. Families who lived in a landfill without electricity or running water, hoping to make a dollar a day sorting trash. As the mission director, Julia, told us, “I know that you think that you have problems in the U.S., but compared to what we have here, you live in heaven.” While we had grown up hearing about those in need, our first hand encounter was sobering.
I decided to ask one of these teens at the pool what she thought of the book, and she turned bright red when I interrupted her. She even admitted to being embarrassed because I interrupted her at “a really naughty part.” When we talked about it, she said that she knew the sex scenes were “a little much” but didn’t see anything wrong with it. “After all,” she said, “It’s not like I’m sitting here at the pool making out with my boyfriend while I read.”
Do you ever look around at all the actresses, singers, athletes and reality stars and wonder why you can’t be famous like them? Maybe you pray at night that you’ll get “discovered” on YouTube. Or maybe you want to get famous spreading God’s word. That can’t be bad, can it? After all, can’t you do more for him as a celebrity than as an average person?
When you wake up, you look at your floor, strewn with t-shirts, phone numbers of friends, and your journal. You remember the moments that challenged you, the resolutions you made to make changes in your life: to delete the songs on your computer, to change who you hang out with, and to basically be the Mother Theresa of the tenth grade.
Now that it’s well into summer you’re starting to pass from the “Yes! I don’t have to go to school!” phase into the “Wow, I’m really bored” phase. It’s a great time to start digging a bit deeper into the Catholic faith, to start growing more in your knowledge and love of God. So here’s a list of some awesome books to get you started.
Today the song “Payphone” by Maroon 5 came on the radio as I was driving. Of course since then I’ve had it stuck in my head . . . particularly the line, “If ‘happy ever after’ did exist, I would still be holding you like this.”
This line annoys me. If I could say two things to Adam Levine (the lead singer) I would tell him . . .
Oh, Tom and Katie, what went wrong? What happened that made a love so exciting, so public, so strange and sort of off-putting, end? It made me wonder about the general state of marriage; about half end in divorce. It seems more and more that marriage is a mission impossible. (See what I did there?)