Take a look at the list of the most popular saints in the Catholic Church. What do you see? We see saints like St. John Bosco and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who tirelessly dedicated their lives to Catholic education. We notice saints like St. Francis who sacrificed their entire livelihoods to take on a life of poverty. And then we recognize saints like St. Cecilia and St. Maximilian Kolbe, who sacrificed their entire lives in honor of love and virtue.
Our most beloved saints are saints who exemplified heroism and hope and courage and trust. We honor them because of these virtues and heroic deeds, but we don’t remember them because all of their accomplishments were their own doing; rather, we honor them for their intense love of the Lord. An intense love that was lived out in miraculous ways.
Saint John Paul II is no exception to this list of extraordinary saints. He is remembered and honored, and beloved because of his intense love for the Lord. Saint John Paul II also happened to have a gift for the spoken and written word and gratefully the platform in which to project the Lord’s message of hope to the masses. A message he often shared with the youth of our Church.
As you take a look at your ministry to teens, seek to revitalize the areas in which the Lord is calling you to find refreshment, and allow His words, through the ministry of St. John Paul II to shape your work, ultimately (and foremostly) deepening your heart with love for He who deserves our highest praise.
For those that have trouble getting started: “The future starts today, not tomorrow.”
For those who struggle with failure: “ … never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”
For those who fear the unknown: “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
For those who need encouragement to meet teens in the culture: “The Gospel lives in conversation with culture, and if the Church holds back from the culture, the Gospel itself falls silent. Therefore, we must be fearless in crossing the threshold of the communication and information revolution now taking place.”
For those who are discouraged by the continuous conflict in our world: “Do not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to teach peace, to live peace … Peace will be the last word of history.”
For those who struggle with evangelization: “This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern metropolis. ”
For those who have lost sight of teens as souls to love rather than humans to convert: “A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.”
For those who need encouragement to love well: “Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice.”
For those who need to remember hope: “The cross means there is no shipwreck without hope; there is no dark without dawn; nor storm without haven.”
For those who need to remember where the source of all love begins: “Let me go to the house of the Father.”
Post these quotes on your walls, memorize them, share them with your teens, or simply, just pray with them and hold them close to your heart. Whatever you do, “be not afraid” of this great task set before you in ministry. The Lord is holding you close and St. John Paul II has so boldly proclaimed His words of peace.
St. John Paul II, pray for all of your youth ministers and the teens who will be impacted by their sacrifices in ministry. Amen!