Last night I had the great opportunity to pray and visit with the junior and senior high students of our Cheyenne parishes. I was very mindful of a comment made this week by one of the Synod Fathers gathered in Rome this month for the Synod on the New Evangelization. He said: “Bishops should spend time with our young people. They like us and we need to develop our relationship with them.” I agree wholeheartedly!
After a brief ‘introduction’ to Adoration, we exposed the Blessed Sacrament, reflected upon Sunday’s Gospel and took about 20 minutes of quiet for prayer. For such a large gathering of young people, I was impressed with their ability to enter into the silence and remain relatively focused. Afterwards, many of them mentioned how much they enjoyed the prayer experience.
A great challenge for most of us in today’s highly stimulative culture is to develop the ability for adoration and contemplation. In a culture with so much visual and audible stimulation, it is critical we learn to listen with the heart, where the Lord draws us into the communion of Divine Love.
One of our great pastoral challenges today is to make sure that our young people make the connection between Christ and His Church. It is important that these young people not simply accept the culture’s understanding of the Church, but that they allow the Church, the People of God to form that understanding. It is critical for parents to help keep our young people connected to the Church through Sunday Mass, youth ministry, religious education, retreats, service opportunities and sacramental preparation.
Jesus made a promise to remain with us always. His Church is that abiding presence of Jesus in the world. It is through the Church that we come to know Jesus. It is through the sacraments of the Church that Jesus takes up His intimate dwelling within each of us. It is through our faith in Christ and the grace of the sacraments that He forms us more and more into His image.
In this Year of Faith, let us open our hearts to Jesus. Let us freely and fully answer His invitation to the rich man in Sunday’s Gospel: “Come, follow me.”