“I worry when I see young people who have ‘thrown in the towel’ before the game has even begun, who are defeated even before they begin to play, who walk around glumly as if life has no meaning.” -Pope Francis
At World Youth Day, we were blessed with multiple opportunities to hear Pope Francis speak. He spent a lot of time encouraging us young people not to indulge in “sofa-happiness,” meaning we should not be laying around and just let things happen; we shouldn’t let our future be decided for us. We need to get up and make the change that we want to see.
“Dear young people, we didn’t come into this world to “vegetate”, to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. No, we came for another reason: to leave a mark. It is very sad to pass through life without leaving a mark. But when we opt for ease and convenience, for confusing happiness with consumption, then we end up paying a high price indeed: we lose our freedom.”
I had to let that one marinate for a while: “Leave a mark.” How are we supposed to leave a mark on this world? We can feel so small in such a large world, but from being with the 2 million other young Catholics I soon realized we were doing just that. We were leaving a mark not only on Kraków, but we made a statement to the whole world. Our faith is so important to us that we were willing to endure countless hours on airplanes, stand in seemingly-endless lines, and walk for miles and miles (I blew my 10,000 step goal with a whopping 36,000!). We were willing to rely on a couple hours of sleep and limited food in order to strengthen our relationship with Christ and our Catholic community. What was truly amazing was that even though everyone was tired and even suffering from heat exhaustion- everyone was so full of life and joy. The pope addressed this energy that he had also noticed:
“Nothing is more beautiful than seeing the enthusiasm, dedication, zeal and energy with which so many young people live their lives. It is beautiful. It is the source of beauty. When Jesus touches a young person’s heart, he or she becomes capable of truly great things.”
“He or she becomes capable of truly great things.” It makes sense. We can only make a mark on this world (the mark that matters, that is) with His help. We are not in this alone. I have been thinking of some practical ways that we as young adults can make a mark on this world. Seeing the effects WYD made, clearly we are stronger in numbers. So why not:
- start a rosary group or find a group that is already formed
- join or start a bible study with a couple friends
- teach Faith Formation or volunteer with youth groups from the area (you may never know how much you can influence kids)
- get a group together and go volunteer; or join a group like the Knights of Columbus
If you are in the St. Cloud area, a young adult group just started and you can keep in touch with us on Facebook under: St. Cloud Metro Young Adults. We hope that by connecting as young adults through this group we can help each other to make our mark.
At the vigil Pope Francis used the neatest analogy. He told us to get off our couches and put on our shoes – better yet, our soccer cleats! He said this world needs starters, not reserves. It’s so easy to expect others to make the change we want to see, but we can only win the game if we get out on the field.
“So today, my friends, Jesus is inviting you, calling you, to leave your mark on life, to leave a mark on history, your own and that of many others as well.”