(Delivered at UHAS, Ho- 14/10/16)
Who is a youth? (General discussion)
It is without doubt that we, here present, belong to the category of “youth” no matter the criteria we use-age, appearance or state of energy, at least from our responses.
I would say simply that the expectation of the Church is that we perform our roles as catholic youth. So in discussing this topic, we shall merge both the expectations and roles, and discuss just a few of them.
1. We, like all others, have the universal call to Holiness- “You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. (Lev 20:26; cf 1 Pt. 1:16).
We can attain this through prayer, the proper use of the sacraments (especially Eucharist, Penance and Reconciliation) perseverance (Lk 9:23)
2. The Church expects us to be Catholic! One of the greatest misfortunes that can happen to anyone is to lose or be ignorant of his/her identity. For lack of self identity, many have lived in fear and slavery all their lives (story of the eagle which was hatched among chicks and lived its whole life in a state of lost identity)
In a world of hostility against the Church in varied ways, are you ready to stand out and say that “I am a Catholic”? Even if it means being mocked, disgraced, insulted and abused? This is what the earliest Catholics went through but they were strong in the Church. If they had given up, the faith wouldn’t have survived till today! Are you ready to proclaim boldly that you are Catholic? Are you ready to make the sign of the cross or pray the rosary in public?
3. Be worthy and exemplary ambassadors of the Church. If some have suffered, and even shed their blood to keep the faith, we who have it now must be ready to carry it on. It must not collapse “on our head”! We have a duty to God and mankind to hold on to the faith, teach it, live it and spread it.
4. But dear friends, how do you hold on to, teach, live and spread a faith you are ignorant about? We have the famous Latin adage which says, “Nemo dat quod non habet.” (No one gives what he has not). So the Church expects us to be people who are ready to be taught, and to be people open to learn the doctrines of the Church. It is the hope of the Church, therefore, that we will use all available means to know about the Church and our faith.
Many are those who accuse the Church and her leaders of not teaching us. But is this wholly the case?
My brothers and sisters, we are doubly blessed in our generation. (Can I see your phones?) We have the latest phones and other sophisticated gadgets to aid us in research!
Interestingly, most of us are only interested in WhatsApp, Facebook etc and maybe academic research. I just want to say that all that we need to know about the Church are in those gadgets! (The only caution here is to be careful about the sites and make sure they are authentic catholic sites).
5. Pursue academic and professional excellence in our fields of endeavour, balancing it with our faith, especially when it comes to the many thorny issues in health like abortion, euthanasia and so on. It is the pride of the Church when our youth excel in their various fields of study and work.
We can achieve this through hard work, perseverance and the proper use of time. Time is a gift to everyone equally but the quality of your output depends on how conscientious you use your time. That is what makes the difference.
I end by saying that, we should at all times be good ambassadors of the Church. Let’s avoid anything that will tarnish the image of our beloved Church, which is God’s precious gift to us, and do only those things that will promote her.
In a special way, I appeal to you to be preachers of peace in this electioneering times. Do not endanger the peace and do not allow yourselves to be manipulated by any selfish politician to foment trouble!
May our blessed mother continue to intercede for us.
God bless us all!
(WhatsApp number: +233 541 859198)
(You may whatsapp your questions and contributions for further clarifications)