Recently, I have been gracefully blown away by the realization that my Catholic twenty-something friends and peers are changing the world. They are young, vibrant, radiant people in love with God, who want to share that love with others through their various vocations. Some are directly involved with “Jesus work” as missionaries, youth ministers, seminarians, and Catholic school teachers. Others work the daily nine to five grind but then make time for God and others by hitting daily or Sunday mass, popping into the adoration chapel to say, “Hey!” to the Big Guy, volunteering, or reading up on the faith in their free time.
These twenty-somethings are sometimes told “It’s nice to see someone so young interested in her faith” or “I wish my son would take an interest in his faith like you.” Yes, I am interested in the faith, and yes, I wish your son was too. In fact, I wish more people would take advantage of their age as a means to learn about and bring Christ’s joy to the world. Let’s be honest, the older and busier you get, the harder it seems.
Building a firm foundation as a young adult is pivotal for one’s Catholic identity to survive. Without this foundation, the changing winds of daily life easily sway a twenty-something to and fro, and usually it is to the temptations of the evil one and from the graces of the Almighty One. How do twenty-somethings build the foundation then? Here are four tools that I have found helpful to begin with.
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
If you want to begin to get to know the details a celebrity’s life, then go to the biography section of your local library to pick up a book about them. If you want to begin to get to know your Lord, then pick up a bible basically anywhere books are sold... even the Dollar Store.
The bible is the living Word of God. It is alive with the dialogue of Jesus and his twenty-(and thirty-) something peers. It is one of the sources of the Church’s rich history and tradition. It breathes life into the depths of our intellect and soul, because we can connect to the stories it contains, stories directly concerning our past, present, and future. What a gift Scripture is for us! Don’t just wait for Sunday mass to chew on a passage.
“When you approach the tabernacle, remember that He has been waiting for you for twenty centuries.”
St. Josemaria Escriva
You may not be able to celebrate all of them within your lifetime, but take advantage of the ones available to your state in life. The two most commonly practiced, Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation, are amazing in and of themselves. Not a fan of one or the other? Pick up a book or listen to a talk about the background and importance of them. It will change the way that you participate, because yes, you are meant to actively partake in each of these sacraments, not just go through the motions and recite the words like a robot. Plus, really devoting time and effort to Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation will better prepare you for the other possible sacraments in your future... wuddup Matrimony and Holy Orders?!
“If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze.”
St. Catherine of Sienna
Having faithful friends, who are striving for the same type of foundation, is key as a twenty-something.Praying for each other, staying in contact regularly, and holding each other accountable are acts of love that bind friends together.Then, when possible, getting together for a good laugh over a pint by the backyard fire pit (my ideal get-together, obviously) will be as natural as any other day, as if no time has passed since last seeing one another.Keep each other in mind and prayer, and you will never be far apart.
One on One Time
“Prayer... is the key to God’s heart.”
Fellowship with fellow fellas is great, but don’t forget the Big Guy.One on One time with our Father is special.I was reminded of this as I sat in adoration alone last night, a rarity at my parish chapel.Looking at my God and Him looking at me, not saying much, just enjoying each other’s company... It’s a beautiful moment when you can sit with a friend and be comfortable in each other’s silence.Such was my one on one time with God.I have to say, it took me a good deal of time to learn to just sit and be with Him. Some days are easier to do so than others, but He delights in our time together.He delights in your time with Him too.
Using these four tools never cease to make my foundation stronger and bring me truly fulfilling joy.If and when I am able to squeeze all four into one day... look out world, a saint is in the making! But seriously, we are all called to sainthood and holiness. So, be a Catholic twenty-something, who is striving for humble greatness, and share that joy that sets the world ablaze!
All of the quotes from saints in this article were taken from Saints, written by Carolyn Shields.