When I was fifteen years old, my family was spending the weekend at my Grandparent’s house in the beautiful city of Menlo Park, California. Sunday mass we went to my Grandparent’s church and that Mass gave me perspective on my vocation as a young Catholic.
When it came to the homily the deacon stood up in front of the church and spoke. He started off saying that our generation is changing and we as Catholics should be a witness for Christ through love and sacrifice.
To me this was good and all, but the next words he spoke enlightened me.
He looked at my family sitting in the front row and said,
“You youth are the next generation.’’
These words ran through my head a million times, like a catchy song you’ve heard for the first time. I realized that he was right, this is OUR generation. Catholic young people, I am talking to you!
Just think about it for a minute. Our parents and Grandparents have lived most of their lives and now this is our time to show our culture the truth about faith and the beauty of life.
I can only speak for myself, but not to disrespect my parents at all but they’re getting up there in age, if you know what I mean. This means they grew up in a whole different generation than ours. Therefore, I wanted to get my parents perspective on living in the sixties and seventies generation.
I first asked my Father who grew up in Los Angeles, California in the 1950’s and 60’s about how it was to live in that generation. In the 1950’s the Catholic Church was respected and well accounted for. People were simple and descent. Also, Hollywood was making films that were uplifting and wholesome. He continued to say that things changed during the 1960’s and also the seventies which was a confusing time to live in especially as a young person.
After talking to him I asked my Mother her experience of living during this time. My Mother grew up in Northern California in the 1960’s and 70’s. She told me the Church had wavered in the orthodox teaching and the teaching of the faith was dumbed-down and degraded. She continued to say that what really changed everything was the sexual revolution. She emphasized that contraception changed families, men, women and the true meaning of freedom. Therefore, people lost a sense of God, his law and the true meaning of love. This led to violence and abortion which is the greatest evil. Finally, she said my generation was a time of confusion and chaos. Yet, God knew it was going to happen because he knew that the next generations will rise up and begin a new generation of life, love and faith.
Alright, now let’s see where we are as a generation today.
To put it simply, our generation is a generation of technological advancement and information. Also, we are living in a generation of relativism. People are refusing religion and not infringing on other people’s beliefs. Moreover, we as a culture are drawing a line away from God. Belief in God is considered weird, outlandish, and eccentric. Catholics are being influenced by the culture, a culture which has turned away from God and his son, Jesus. Therefore, we’re seeing a decline of baptized Catholics participation in the sacraments.
Alright, now young Catholics on fire for your faith, what are you going to do to make a difference? Well, glad you asked!
Here are five simple steps to keep in mind and help you get started.
- Prayer: Involvement in the sacraments and deep conversation with God.
- Tools: Use the tools we have to share truth.
- Action and example: We must be an example of faith and love wherever we go.
- Perseverance: We need to never give up on our faith and trust that God is in control.
- Knowledge: We need to know our faith backwards and forwards so we can defend it.
Young people it starts now. We need to grow in faith and courage to seek God’s will! Once we discover our vocation then we must do everything for Jesus, we must offer our work to him who can use it for good.
Remember, with God’s help we can bring truth, beauty and goodness back into our world.
Grace Meihaus is studies film producing at John Paul the Great Catholic University (Class of 2015). Grace loves Jesus and his holy Mother to the core. Her other loves are fashion, dance, music and Napoleon Dynamite.