Monday, November 3, 2014

On raising saints and realizing we are all sinners...

This weekend one of the alumni from my youth program was suppose to take pictures of my boys.  He couldn't because my John Paul got sick.  It was a bummer because his pictures are really beautiful and I need to get some done for the Fall, so I'll need to reschedule.

You didn't need to know that last part, but I didn't want you to worry that pictures wouldn't be taken.

Anyway, in our text message conversation he said, 'I can meet after 8:00 am church'.  And it made my heart happy.  Because he is still going to church.  He is fancy and becoming a doctor- and yet, he still goes to church at 8:00 am.  Isn't that cool?

The thing is, I have a LOT of alumni who aren't going to church.  Those who have rejected faith completely.  Social media is an amazing thing isn't it?  Maybe ten years ago, I wouldn't have noticed- but now, I keep in touch with a lot of the young people I have had the privilege to serve. I'm gonna break it down for you, a lot more have rejected faith than are living it.  It's just the truth.  And this bums me out more than I can possibly express.  There was this one, who posted on this page about how he explored Catholicism (his family's faith) and decided it wasn't for him.  He decided to convert to another religion, since being Catholic never made sense...and I'm all like, 'but homie, you never even talked to me'.  Then there are the young adults who are living lives contrary to the values/morals we talked about at 'youth group' every week.

And man. This bums me out.  SO MUCH. I cant even tell you how much.

doing my ministry thang
But then I hear the voices who remind me what my job was/is.  In ministry, we hopefully plant seeds, and sometimes they are watered and sometimes they are not.  The influences of society are so strong, so intense, to be a young Catholic takes so much perseverance, so much fortitude.  Honestly, if I didn't have the support structures in place that I did (family, faith community, friends, college of faith, etc...) I don't think I could have done it.  I know that I only had very limited exposure to the kids I worked with, but sometimes I am so stuck on the fact that I know I could have done more.

Then I think about my kids.  My three boys. And how desperately I want them to be saints in heaven one day.  When I do presentations with parents, and they come up to me, often with tears in their eyes, explaining how their children have rejected the truths of faith they tried to instill, I get so.scared.  When I see the social media pages of young men I have been blessed to serve and see how many of them have fallen prey to the messages of today, and how few of them are comfortable being men of faith.  It terrifies me. I worry about my children so much.  The futures they will have.  I worry about the decisions they will make during those key years (7th and 10th grade being the most important). I worry they won't find the right friends to encourage them. I worry they will be influenced by the wrong thing. I worry about how to expose them to the reality of our society while still keeping them sheltered from the terrible things that come with it.  I worry all the time... and I think my worry is intensified by watching the social media of the teens I have worked with in my 12 years of ministry.

I see that only a small number of them are living a faith of any kind, and only a handful or two are living lives of discipleship (I know, I know, I can't make that judgment....but you know, you know, we still do).

And om lowercase g...I get kind of overwhelmed.

I got to work with these girls at Mercy.
Now they be a campus and youth minister!
But then I think of that alumni who said, 'I'm going to church at 8 first'.  And the young adults who message me with questions of faith and experiences of living as adult Catholics. I think of the alumni who are volunteering with teens and oh my gosh, a couple of the kids who I once knew are now youth ministers!  Can you believe that?  There's a teen I worked with when I first started that's getting his PH freaking D in Jesus (well, not really in Jesus, but in Jesus things)I remind myself that faith is hard, but not impossible.  That living it is a tough life, but not so much that no one is choosing it.  I remind myself that my only job is to love and pray that love helps people of all kinds, including my children, see who the person of Christ is.

But jeez, that's tough too, the loving part.  I mean, it probably wasn't super loving when I told lil' A to stop touching me at 5:45 am (oh my gosh, fall backward sucks) this morning.  But then again, I followed it with, 'I'm just kidding, get over here and snuggle me...but take it down a notch'.

Anyway, there's no real point to this post except to say...

I thought being a church worker was tough in terms of the millstone around my neck, but that ain't got nothing on my responsibility to the three little dudes God has entrusted me with.

And it's just so hard to raise saints when I am such a sinner.

You feel me right?

Thanks for letting me share.

1 comment:

  1. I feel like I should start talking about starfish on the shore and all that... ;) You do amazing work, Mary. It is so hard when we realize that others reject Jesus or just aren't ready to change their lives for Him. So much humility and faith to just present Him (as best we can) and then let them make the decision ESPECIALLY with our own kids. In a way, though, it's freeing, too. It's not ALL on our shoulders and His grace is sufficient, provided we do our part, too.