Published August 24, 2011
Catholic , Discerning Men , Discerning Women , eVangelizer , Inspiration
Tags: Discernment, Discipleship, fidelity, Madrid, Pope Benedict XVI, Spain, World Youth Day, WYD, young women religious, youth
When Pope Benedict XVI met with young women religious at World Youth Day last week, he said, among many other beautiful things, that “the Church needs your youthful fidelity, rooted and built up in Christ.” It seems like such a simple statement, an obvious reality. But as I have sat with this since last week, I have been struck by his use of the word need.
I have the privilege of spending lots of time with young women who are either contemplating a religious vocation or have recently begun the formation process in religious life. I experience their “youthful fidelity” on a daily basis, and it is always—always—a source of inspiration and encouragement to me. There is a freshness and a vitality to their love for Christ that rekindles my own “first love” and reminds me of just why I have committed myself to Christ in the service of the Church for a lifetime. I think the Pope was 100% on-target with his use of the word “need.” The Church does need the witness of youthful fidelity to Christ, as a confirmation that boldly proclaims that all we have been promised by God is trustworthy…and that God is worth the gift of our lives!
The Holy Father went on to say to young women religious: “Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter.” It all starts with a personal relationship with Christ…and from there, if we remain open to his love, he can transform all that is fearful within us to trust, all that is anxious within us to courage, all that is doubtful within us to deep, deep faith. May the Christ who knows each of us so personally, through the power of his Spirit, fill you this day with the love of his Heart.
I am somewhat saddened by the fact that I will not be able to attend the World Youth Day festivities in Madrid this week—but I am looking forward to being there “virtually” through the wonders of cable and internet. What a brilliant notion Blessed John Paul II had in inaugurating this type of gathering, highlighting the faith life and spiritual potential of young people throughout the world. Thank you, Holy Father—and know of our special prayers for you and all those who will be gathering in Spain this week!
Yesterday, I went with several of my sisters to spend the day in New York City. We had a glorious set of experiences, ranging from walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to visiting Mother Seton’s shrine to celebrating Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. As we were driving home, we decided to recite a “litany of gratitude” of sorts, remembering the day’s blessings, and in particular the different people (strangers and friends) whose paths had crossed our own. It amazed us, as we went on for close to twenty minutes, remembering by name or description, all the individuals we encountered, either casually or conversationally. The day held so many opportunities to touch and be touched by others—but how easy it is to not notice those opportunities! What a genuine grace and blessing it was for us to help each other remember even the smallest gesture of kindness or the slightest head-nod from a passing biker—each of which served to brighten our day and bring joy to our experience.
All you pilgrims in or en route to Madrid, may your multiple experiences of one another as the Body of Christ provide untold blessings for you, particularly as you join together in celebrating our faith in Him who is our Head! Pray for us—we are praying for you!