Mass seems boring. Christmas isn’t magic anymore. I want this or that. These are common complaints among young people. It is often a challenge for youth ministers to help these young people to connect with their faith in a way that will fulfill them and keep them interested. However, like most things in life, what we put in is what we will take out. This change in focus, from the magic to the mystery, may help young people to discover a deeper faith and a renewed joy.
The main difference between a childlike faith and this deeper understanding and commitment to what the Church teaches is found in changing one's point of view. As Saint Paul states, “When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11 )
There are two major changes that young people go through, when growing in their faith. The first is in seeing Jesus as an adult, their Savior, as One who was called to serve and One we are called to serve. The other change is in focusing externally rather than thinking others will meet our individual expectations internally. Looking outside of ourselves can give us new joy and increased dedication to the faith. In other words, “Love the Lord God with your whole heart…… and Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39)
Here are some ideas to help the youth experience their faith in a whole new way:
- View the movie, "The Fourth Wise Man." This movie follows one of the Magi from trying to find Christ as a baby to encountering Him on His way to Calvary. This movie beautifully explores both the desire for Christ, the love of Christ and love for others.
- Review the Nativity story and ask the young people to put themselves in Mary and Joseph’s positions. What did it feel like to take that huge leap of faith, risking the ridicule of others, loss of friendships and perhaps even your way of life? Examine situations in which they can take risks for faith. For example: standing up for pro-life or abstinence issues.
- Encourage the youth to work on a service project to help the community during the holiday season. Provide food to a local shelter, visit the elderly, or read to young children.
In learning to live the greatest commandments our young people will mature in their faith and find the mystery and the joy of Christianity.