Greetings and blessings in Christ my friends!
Blessed John Paul the Great had a profound interest in building up and nurturing the youth of our Church. He was convinced, as am I, that the future of the Church is in the youth. As much as this seems like an obvious statement, I look around and see how we are preparing the youth of our Church, our country, and the world for the future and I shudder. Our youth are no longer coming from healthy, happy unified homes. Our youth are coming from broken homes; they are coming from abusive homes; they are coming from homes with two mommies or two daddies; they are entering high school having already lost their virginity; they are already partying, drinking, and doing drugs before they even reach college; many of them have lost friends and family to gang violence or addictions; teen suicides are at an all time high; religious education is falling by the wayside and our youth have less and less theological background to the faith that they profess; parents aren't encouraging their children to go to church; moral relativism has been packaged in a neat pretty bow and shoved down their throats in school as the only truth; parents let their daughters go to school in hardly anything. It goes on and on. The youth of our Church wake up every day and must prepare themselves for a battlefield.
But there is hope! I just had the privilege of volunteering at the REZ (Resurrection) Retreat for the churches in my area. This is the first time I have been to a retreat as an "adult" (I use that term loosely) helping run the show for teens. It was a completely eye opening experience. It was also an extremely encouraging one. We had teens who hadn't been to the Sacrament of Reconciliation in years coming out of Confession with tears of joy in their eyes. We had teens who rarely go to Mass receive our Lord in the Eucharist with profound reverence. We had teens who had never been to Adoration kneeling inches away from the monstrance with passion and love for Christ that I sometimes don't even see in myself. How absolutely incredible! How absolutely beautiful!
Now, I could go on and confess my worry and sadness for the teens that will go back to broken homes, abusive homes, and the enormous challenges of life and will not remember that time they spent with God this weekend. But the awesome love and mercy I witnessed God pouring down upon these youth over the weekend was just too incredible. You want to talk about something positive! This wasn't just one small positive experience. This was an entire weekend of positive explosion!
The youth are the future of the Church. We must nurture them and encourage them so that they can overcome their struggles. More importantly, I implore anyone who reads this, no matter what denomination you adhere to, I beg you brothers and sisters in Christ, pray. Please. Pray for the youth, that they may find peace and joy and love in Christ and that it will sustain them through whatever struggles they are going through! Pray that the Grace of God will overflow upon them and give them strength and courage! Please pray for the youth!
God bless you and stay positive!