Youth want a challenge. No, strike that. YOUTH WANT A CHALLENGE!
Our young people are striving to be called to live a faith that is bigger than them. They long for a worthy cause to sacrifice themselves for.
I've said it countless times, and I really wish our Catholic clergy would listen en masse. They don't want to be told that it's ok to compromise. They don't want to be told that the rigors of the Gospel can't always apply in the modern world.
I finally found somebody who agrees with me.
Everybody, check out this post from The Way Of The Fathers. This guy gets it. Snippet:
They [the early Church Fathers] promised young people great things, like persecution, lower social status, public ridicule, severely limited employment opportunities, frequent fasting, a high risk of jail and torture, and maybe, just maybe, an early, violent death at the hands of their pagan rulers.
The Fathers looked young people in the eye and called them to live purely in the midst of a pornographic culture. They looked at some young men and women and boldly told them they had a calling to virginity. And it worked.
Why can't we duplicate that again? I think we will, and are. Our youth are looking so intently for Truth that they are starting to find it. I'm seeing it all around me. They are gathering not for a Friday night youth group meeting in the Church basement once a month. They are gathering three times a week (or more) for prayer, for worship, for community. They are signing up in droves for Eucharist adoration. They've even found a few priests to drag along with them who are not infrequently intimidated by the enthusiasm around them.
Our Church history is filled with young saints from all ages. The writer of the aforementioned article refers to one St. Tarcisius, who protected with his own life a pix containing the body of Christ. Here are some more (plucked from this site, as featured in my sidebar):
- Six year old St. Gabriel Gowdel, of 18th century Poland, who was a martyr known for his piety and prayer.
- St. Symphorian of 2nd century France, who refused to deny Christ and was martyred in the presence of his mother - who provided him with encouragement!
- St. Maria Goretti of Italy in the early 1900's, a 12-year old who was raped and stabbed, but forgave her attacker before dying, and who lovingly appeared to him in a vision after her death. He converted and testified in her favour at her beatification cause.
- St. Agnes of Rome, whose feast is on my birthday. She was martyred around 13 years of age for refusing to consent to marriage in a pagan ceremony, preferring Christ as her spouse.
- St. Pancras, a fourteen year old boy martyred in 4th century Rome for publicly proclaiming his faith.
- Fourteen year old St. Philomena, of whom we know virtually nothing except that her bones have healed countless people and caused devout souls to experience spiritual ecstasies.
- St. Solange, who walked into her 9th century French village holding her severed head in her hands, and preaching to the people.
- One of my favorites, twenty-two year old St. Lucy of Syracuse, who was denounced as a Christian by her spurned pagan fiance when she chose Christ over him in the early 4th century. She was sentenced by the Roman authorities to a life of prostitution, but could not be moved from where she stood, even by a team of oxen. She was then tortured and her eyes were ripped out. They tried to burn her at the stake but the wood would not stay lit. As she was stabbed to death, her eyesight was restored.
This type of devotion is not lost to the world. Youth want to know Truth. Around the world, they seek a god, and the only god that can satisfy them is the God of Truth - Jesus Christ himself.
Please... don't discourage them.