THE late Holy Father, John Paul II, stated in his book Rise, Let us be on our Way, ‘challenges and high ideals are attractive to the young’.
The question arises: Do young Catholics of today recognise the challenges and high ideals inherent in the practising of the Catholic faith?
If the Mass attendance of our young people is an indicator, it would seem that they see more challenges and high ideals in activities which do not involve their religion.
There seems to be an attitude abounding in some Church quarters that gaining eternal life after death will definitely happen to all of us because of God’s merciful love. The implication being that to take up the challenge to change our sinful ways is unnecessary.
However, Ecclesiasticus 5:5 warns us, ‘Do not be so sure of forgiveness that you add sin to sin’.
This gives us a dire warning of the awful consequences of taking God for granted.
We are told in Galatians 6:7, ‘God is not mocked’
I get the impression that these days the high ideals set before young people involve the perishable things of this world.
Jesus tells us (Luke 12) that we should first seek the Kingdom of Heaven, and (Matthew 13) that seeking the Kingdom of Heaven is so vital that we should be like a man looking for treasure who sells everything in order to obtain it.
I understand the teaching of the Church to be that to overcome our attraction to sin, we must seek God’s help through prayer and penance and the sacraments. This certainly is a challenge.
If young people were given the opportunity to absorb some of the late pope’s teachings given in encyclicals, letters, books etc, I maintain more would accept the Catholic faith as the means of ultimately obtaining that great prize which is the Kingdom of Heaven.