TO THE YOUTH OF ST CHARLES BORREMEO PARISH OCT. 16, 2016
When Dawn called and asked me to speak to the Confirmation Class. I hesitated a few seconds. I was a little scared. I’m intimidated by teenagers. You’re so smart. You know so much about computers and phones and IPods and IPads. I’m confused by all that stuff.
But I look at your faces now. I’ve seen you in Church with your parents. You’re not scary at all. I KNOW YOU AND YOU KNOW ME!
So when Dawn asked me to speak to you, I hesitated that few seconds but then I said yes, because I knew God was calling me to do this.
How do I know God called me to speak to you? You see, last weekend I went on a retreat. At the retreat I spoke privately with the director of the retreat, Father John. I told Father my faith wasn’t always as strong as it is now. Now that I love Jesus so much I feel like Jesus is calling me to tell people about him. Jesus wants me to tell people how much he loves us.
I told Father John that I’m frustrated because I’m not doing what I’m being called to do. I told Father that I don’t know how I’m supposed to talk to people. So Father John gave me a few tips. Most of these were things I’ve already thought of like be a good example. But the best tip he gave me was this. He said when I wake up every morning I should say, “Lord, today use me as you will.”
So THIS MORNING I PRAYED, “LORD USE ME AS YOU WILL!” SO HERE I AM!
I’m going to ask you a few questions.
DO YOU HAVE JESUS? (Everyone yes, yes, yes, yes, and so on)
DO YOU HAVE JESUS WITH YOU RIGHT NOW? (yes, yes, yes, yes, yes)
I have Jesus and the Holy Spirit with me right now. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have the courage to talk to you.
IS JESUS IN YOUR HEART? DO YOU TALK TO JESUS? This next question might seem a little weird. DOES JESUS ANSWER YOU WHEN YOU TALK TO HIM?
Jesus does talk to us but we can’t hear his voice. Why not? Jesus has other ways of speaking to us. Some of the saints talked to Jesus like Saint Faustina (short story of St. Faustina and Divine Mercy). Yesterday was the feast of Saint Teresa of Avila. She’s also called Teresa of Jesus because she spoke with Jesus a lot.
Why can’t we all hear Jesus talking to us? I think the reason we all can’t hear that voice of Jesus is because God wants us to have faith in him. To have strong faith in him even if we don’t receive what I call signs and wonders or hear Jesus speak to us.
What are some ways Jesus might talk to us? One girl said Jesus guides her throughout her day leading her to do the right thing. I told her it’s wonderful that she’s aware of the presence of Jesus guiding her.
Remember we have the Bible, The Word of God. This morning at Mass Jesus spoke to me from the Mass readings which come from the Bible. Reading 2 Tm 4:1-2 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.” Does Jesus want me to be persistent in telling others about him whether it is convenient or inconvenient?
Jesus speaks to us through the gospels. We have the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we have Father Adam guiding us. You have your parents and grandparents and you have Luke helping you and teaching you and telling you what Jesus wants you to know.
Today is Mission Sunday. After Mass, I spoke to the visiting priest who is a missionary in Africa. I told Father Nana I was giving a talk to our youth today and he said, “You are a missionary also!” All this and so much more has come to me since I started praying every morning for God to use me as he will!
I want to tell you that Jesus has spoken to me. I know I told you that we can’t hear Jesus speaking to us. I’ll explain.
There’s a prayer written by Padre Pio that I like to prayer after receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. Here’s part of the prayer:
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You with me so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company.
Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to remain faithful to You.
Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit.
Because I love You I ask no other reward but to love You more and more.
Father Eric our last pastor was liked a lot by everyone. Who remembers Father Eric? (Everyone remembers him) Did you like Father Eric? (Nods and yeses.) Do you like Father Adam? (More nods and yeses.) This is not a contest of which pastor we like better. That’s not what my story is about.
I was upset that Father Eric was being transferred to another parish after being with us for only 2 years. I prayed about it but it was hard to accept. Father Eric only had a few weeks left before he was leaving us. I watched him during Mass one morning. I was sad and distracted. After receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, very clearly in my heart, I heard these words, “stay with me!” again “stay with me!” I told Jesus, “I didn’t say this. Why am I hearing this? I didn’t say that prayer today.” Then I felt Jesus letting me know that it was him saying “stay with me” to me. Jesus was asking me to stay with him, because I was more concerned about Father Eric leaving than to be with Jesus. Especially after just receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. I felt sad. I understood that it didn’t matter if Father Eric left because I would always have Jesus. And when Father Adam is called to leave us, Jesus will still be with us.
Since this first happened, I now sometimes feel Jesus say, “Stay with me!” whenever my mind starts to wander during Mass. After that holy moment when Jesus spoke to my heart Jesus continues to remind me to bring my mind back in focus with him. I’m grateful to Jesus for this reminder.
I tell Jesus that I want him to stay with me all day long, but he reminds me that he never leaves me. Jesus tells me, “It’s you who leave me.” This is true. Jesus is always with me day and night. I’m not always aware of his presence but, when I have a few quiet moments, it’s like BOOM, he’s right here. That’s why I like to drop into the chapel at least once a day.
Now, I’m going to give you the testimonial I promised. It’s very short but it could be pages and pages long. The long version is very involved but I’m going to tell you the short version.
Do you have bad days? (I took the time to look each boy and girl in the face – it was evident in their nods and expressions that they all have bad days) I continued: I see you have bad days. Everyone has bad days. About 11 years ago I had a lot of bad days. Every day was a bad. I suffered from depression and anxiety. I was physically, mentally and spiritually sick. This lasted about 2 years.
Just when I needed Jesus the most, I quit going to Mass and I couldn’t pray. There were a lot of things in my life going on that I couldn’t deal with. I cried and cried all the time.
I had one friend that I felt like I could talk to about this. She was the person Jesus picked for me to talk to because she told me about the Sisters of the Poor Clare’s inKokomo. Have you heard about these Sisters? (No one had so I told them about the Sisters, the Monastery, their cloistered life and vow of silence, their life of solitude and prayer.)
My friend told me to write to the Sisters of the Poor Clares. So I did. I told the Sisters all my worries. I said that I was so sick I couldn’t even pray.
I got a letter back from Mother Miriam. She told me that she and the Sisters started to pray for me right away. She told me that if it was too hard for me to pray I should just say the name of Jesus over and over. So I did this, I said Jesus, Jesus, Jesus many times a day and I did get better and started going back to Mass and my faith got stronger.
I almost lost Jesus. I’m so grateful to the Sisters of the Poor Clare’s for praying for me, that I go to Mass at their Monastery every Saturday morning. I asked Jesus again, “why did you leave me.” Jesus says, “I never left you, but you shut me out of your life!!” I never want to get that far away from Jesus again. I have many reminders to help me not lose faith.
My advice for you is to love God with all your heart. You figure out what that means. Listen to Father Adam. Listen to Luke, and listen to your parents.I hope I’m invited back again. Thanks for the pizza and the atomic fireballs.