Dear Young Church,

I want you to know that when I see you, I see my brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t see young people who will one day grow up to be actual Christians. No, I don’t just see the Church of tomorrow… When I see you, I see the Church of today – right now – as you are. I see you and I’m reminded of young saints like Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, and St. Maria Gorretti. Passion. Courage. Boldness. Life with a fierceness. And it is…awesome. And you know what? Each one of you have it: that burning, blazing torch of desire for life to the max. I know you know it – you feel it. 

There are three quotes that I want to share with you today that I believe shine light on our theme for this year: T H R I V E. 

The first quote is from Pope Benedict XVI who once spoke to the Young Church of the world reminding them that: the world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness. I love that. It’s so counter cultural and captivating. It’s the idea that life grows, not in the smoothest or calmest parts of our lives, but rather in the risk and adventure of life’s many challenges. Learning to love your enemies isn’t comfortable – but it’s good. Speaking up on behalf of the poor and outcast isn’t easy – but it’s good. Choosing to be a Creative rather than a Consumer isn’t convenient – but it’s good. 

It’s clear we admire those who lean into challenge with joy and bravery. Why don’t we lean in more often? With all of your dreams and desires, I ask you: who are you not to be great.

The second quote is from our Lord, Jesus. Speaking to his disciples about how He is the Good Shepherd who always protects his sheep (hint: we’re always the sheep), Jesus said “the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Abundantly! A lot of it! Mucho life! Have you considered what abundant life looks like for you? I invite you today to consider that true holiness, becoming a Saint, is simply the full-blossoming and revelation of what makes you – you: the you that God thought of when He created you.

Finally, the third quote is from St. Catherine of Siena who once said that if you are “who God meant you to be, you will set the world on fire.” Young Church, the world is hungry. But it needs more than what you can do – it needs who you are – fully alive in Christ. Many times, when we’re dreaming of how we can make a difference, we consider the many problems of the world: poverty, corruption, addiction, climate change, abortion, persecution… the list goes on. Where do we start? Here’s an idea and a bonus quote: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive” (Howard Thurman). 

Today, thinking of you, I encourage you to be tireless in your pursuit of Jesus and the life He promises you. He loves you, He is for you, and He is tirelessly devoted to helping you THRIVE.

Jesus, I ask that you speak to our hearts like you spoke to Lazarus when you raised him from the dead. Awaken us to be your living Church. We give you permission to lead us ever closer to you. Jesus, we trust you. Jesus, we love you. Jesus, we thank you. Amen.

This blog was written by Tim Jara, Coordinator of High School Youth Ministry here at St. Francis of Assisi. If you’re interested in writing a blog for St. Francis of Assisi, please contact Joseph at [email protected].