Swaddled tightly beneath a star-blanketed Bethlehem sky, God breathed gently yet powerfully. The acceptable time had come. The prophecies were now — at last — fulfilled. The Creator had invaded His creation on a mission of love and for the next three decades, peace and joy would be breathed and received in tangible new ways. Atop the blood-covered stones of Calvary, Love breathed mercy upon hearts filled with hate. Three days later, Love breathed again within the darkness of a tomb… and then, soon after, Love breathed forgiveness and purpose to fear-filled followers huddled behind locked doors.
Through it all, the divine life of God was communicated through each human breath. Put simply, God breathed not solely so that He might live but that we would.
It’s fascinating how something so small, a breath, roughly eight ounces of oxygen or carbon dioxide, forms the line between life and death. The Latin word for breath — inspirare — is where we get the term “inspiration”; it literally means, “to breathe [life] into.” Inspiration, however, is far more than a biological word or concept, it is a deeply spiritual reality; God’s inspiration animates our Christian souls, guides our steps, and offers us both a mission and a purpose.
Since you began reading this you’ve probably taken between twenty and thirty breaths (fifty if you’re reading it on a treadmill, which isn’t safe but hamsters applaud your effort). We know, of course, that inspiration is not only vital for our bodies but also for our souls. It’s when we realize how desperately we need oxygen that we come to appreciate it more.
It’s how our story began. Life began because God spoke; He breathed the word (Genesis 1:3) and creation spun into existence. It was when God breathed life into Adam, however, that things got even more interesting (Genesis 2:7). Creation would now bear the ability to inspire: to bring life in God’s image.
We often speak about the people and the things that inspire us. Heroic characters, timeless tales, heart-stopping and soul-stirring moments ironically bring us life by taking our breath away. Truly inspiring stories and characters, however, all have truth and beauty in common; authentic inspiration is a gift from the God, the giver of all good and perfect gifts (James 1:17).
We, at Life Teen, feel called to celebrate God’s enduring inspiration in our ministry, our world, and throughout the history of our Roman Catholic Church. In 2014, our Life Teen theme — Inspire[d] — will focus on the ways that God has inspired us over time, and it will celebrate the people and places through which He breathes life into us daily.
We will spend the year unveiling and unleashing new ways to inspire the Church, young and old, in their personal and communal walks with our Eucharistic Lord. As St. John reminded us, “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). By extension, we’d submit that we inspire because He first inspired us.
Inspired by the amazing ministry we see in our parishes around the world, our prayer is telling us to go even deeper as Staff and Missionaries… and we’d like you to continue forward with us into the deep waters for a catch. Throughout our events and resources, camps and catechesis, mission work and ministry training we will refocus our hearts to inspire others as we have been.
Now would be a good time to take a deep breath, actually, because in 2014 we’re giving the Holy Spirit the permission to breathe through this movement even more powerfully than ever before.