THE LIFE NIGHT
Last night, Cindy and Mike Bowman spoke to us about a program called TEC (Teens Encounter Christ). TEC is an international program that hosts retreats for high school students throughout the year. A few of our Divine Mercy teens have attended and also shared their experience. It was a good night filled with good information and good food. Cindy also provided us with a good batch of jambalaya! If your child asks about attending a TEC retreat, their website is tecneworleans.com. Cindy and/or I would be happy to answer any questions.
WHAT INSPIRED ME
At the beginning of her presentation, Cindy asked us, "What helps your relationship with Christ?" The room was silent. Eventually she fostered some discussion by asking some more specific questions like, "Does coming here help? Your parents help? Etc. Those questions are much easier to answer. Most of us simply nodded. Of course those things help our relationship with Christ. So why did no one speak up at first?
For teens, having a relationship with Christ can be somewhat of a foreign idea. Let's face it, most of the time when they are at church or school (if attending a Catholic school) is spent listening to someone teach them about church teaching, practice, and Tradition. These things are important and understanding them are essential to us as Catholics. Often times, however in teaching the beauty of our faith, we can leave out the part that explains that a big reason why we believe and practice in such ways is because Jesus wants a very real relationship with us.
On the way home I listened to Catholic Radio 690AM. Fr John Riccardo was on and was talking about this very idea of being in relationship with Jesus. He said that our understanding of death is pretty simple. It happens to people we know, and eventually it will happen to us; and when it does, it's permanent. "I've been ordained for 15 years, have done hundreds of funerals, and not once has any of the dead people sat up! It just doesn't happen," he explained. He went on (I'm paraphrasing); the idea of Jesus suffering, dying, and rising from the dead is something that many of us simply swallow at a young age. We don't ask questions, but when you think about it, scripture tells us that real, historical people saw him after he rose; and not just his disciples, but also those who hated him, none more notable than Paul. These encounters with Christ completely changed them and compelled them to go out and share the good news, which for most of them was a decision that would eventually lead to their martyrdom.
So now the question is, have I really encountered the living Christ? That's a BIG question for all of us. This week, share with your family a time that you encountered Him and had a real experience of his mercy, peace, and love. You may find yourself not having had such an encounter or have lost your joy due to some of life's hardships, as this happens to us sometimes. Be encouraged...
Ryan began using his gifts for the church shortly after high school starting with music ministry at his parish and then on to campus ministry at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has since also served as a parish youth minister and Coordinator of Adolescent Formation. Ryan shares the good news of the gospel hoping to compassionately inspire a response to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him and "become fishers of men." Ryan currently serves as full time Youth Minister here at Divine Mercy Parish.