I wrote this a few years ago after hearing a particularly painful incident from a young person I was serving.
If you were the only person on earth, Christ would have still suffered and died for you. (St. Augustine)
Tonight, I had a profound realization. You are the reason why we do all of this.
You are the reason why I said ‘yes’ when God called me to youth ministry, to take a job in the Church where I knew I would face certain political battles, where the pay initially barely rivalled what I could get paid at Superstore – and where no one is working for the money. You’re the reason that my pastor went out of his way, above and beyond what anyone would expect is reasonable, to make sure that I could stay here and continue to serve as best as I can. You’re the reason I’ve stayed up late nights writing papers to get this degree, for credibility.
You’re the reason that God has used imperfect people like me all over the world to build up local, national, and international initiatives to reach out to youth. You’re the reason that our late, great pope, John Paul II put all sorts of effort into spending as much time as he could talking to as many young people as possible… something B16 has carried on doing.
You’re the reason that God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, coming to tell us how much God loves us, and coming to show us how much God loves us by dying on the Cross. The Church, the Sacraments He has left behind, they’re for you. He wants you to be a part of His family. He wants you to know you’re loved, and there’s nothing you’ll do that He won’t forgive you. He wants you to know that He’s sorry you’ve been hurt – He never wanted that. You are so, so loved. And you have an important part to play in what He’s continuing to do in the world today. Take courage, and don’t give up. You never walk alone. He is with you, and He is sending me and all those who are working to the same goal as me to do all we can to help.
I know this because He has told me the same thing. He has shown me that I am loved, that I am a part of His family, and He’s called me to play this part in the world. I hope to see you discover the same thing.
For I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. (Ezekiel 36:24-26)