If you live in a part of the country that has seasons, you know that right now we are in fall. (If you live in Florida or Arizona, fall is when leaves change colors and girls start wearing scarves… every day.)
You may think of fall as the season of football, season of Halloween and Thanksgiving, the season of wearing cute boots, football season, the season of Homecoming dances, football season, Confirmation season, football season… No matter what fall looks like in your town and in your life, one thing is certain. Change is coming.
Change. Dun Dun Dunnnn.
Change scares a lot of us. It represents the unfamiliar. Things we’re comfortable with are going away and things we’re clueless about are heading right at us. Whether we like it or not, change is coming – and it’s not always a bad thing! The key is to embrace it. Take to heart these words from one of my favorite saints, Padre Pio:
“Go ahead! Go with courage! In the spiritual life he who does not go forward goes backward. It is the same with a boat which must always go forward. If it stands still, the wind will blow it back.”
The danger with change is to let it take you wherever it wants to. For example, some of you will be Confirmed this fall. It’s the completion and sealing of the gifts and graces given to you at Baptism. It’s beautiful!
It’s definitely a change, but how will it change your life?
Suddenly it’s no longer mandatory to be at Confirmation class or Life Night. You don’t have to write any more papers on saints. In a sense, it may feel like a graduation. You might think all the work and learning and praying has finally come to an end. You can let the wind take you farther and farther away until faith is no longer something you’re pursuing.
On the flip side, you can advance in faith. You’re fully initiated into the Church! You’re sealed with the Holy Spirit! This is hardly the time to slow down, you’re just getting started. You can use this change to grow, to reach out to others and help them grow.
The truth is, it’s up to you. There are so many new and exciting things happening! Maybe it’s your first high school dance, or you just got moved up to the varsity team. These are big changes in your life, and there will be new opportunities for virtues like purity and humility. Whether you’re headed off to college soon or still new to high school, change is waiting just around the corner.
If you’re nervous (and even if you’re not), there are three things I’d like to recommend.
1. Know your identity.
Being in the marching band, the star football player, or a great cheerleader are all really awesome things. They aren’t your identity. It’s not how you look or what other people think of you. It’s deeper than that. Your identity is that you are a son or daughter of God. No one can take that away, and it can’t fade away with time. You are a beloved child of the King. Remember that, and you’ll be fine.
Simple, right? Stay connected with Jesus. Talk to Him, and listen too – it good times and bad. When change comes, you’ll be able to roll with the punches. Confused about something? He’s your guy. Having a personal relationship with Jesus is crucial. Knowing Him is better than just knowing about Him.
3. Be Open.
Change can be a good thing. You’ll learn and grow and learn some more. God may bring you places you never imagined you’d go. He may ask more of you than you think you’re capable of. Be open to new things. However, remember to stay true to what you believe in. Jesus is the “way and the truth” (John 14:6). Hold tight to the truth, and He’ll show you the way. You might be challenged to think outside the box or to get out of your Catholic bubble. If you follow the first two steps, you’ll be able to follow the third one just fine. When you’re challenged in this area, read this quote:
“Do not be so open minded that your brain falls out… Merely having an open mind is nothing. A mind opens, like a mouth opens, so that it might close on something solid.”
There’s nothing more solid than God’s love for you.
Know that I’m praying for you.