Celebrating with youths is always delightful - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Celebrating with youths is always delightful

Today’s schedule (March 21) is a lively one. It always is when our young people are a part of it. This morning at Aquinas Institute in Rochester I presided at the Eucharist to mark their 100 Day Celebration, i.e., the number of days before their graduation in June. (In reality, the students told me, it’s only 86 days from today.)

This evening at St. Patrick’s in Victor we’ll enjoy the last of four Hands of Christ celebrations at which we recognize high-school seniors who have been nominated by their parish communities because of their generous participation in the life of the parish.

Being with such lively, gifted and generous young people is always delightful and life-giving. Over the years I have gone to a great many such celebrations. I approach all of them with a spirit of joy and happy anticipation. But I confess to you that over the years I have approached this event or that feeling tired, cranky or preoccupied. Inevitably, as soon as I enter the company of the young people, their kind presence and happy spirit call me away from self-concern to share the event for them.

To be with our wonderful seniors this year has provided for me an especially rich invitation to pray and reflect on life. They are in the midst of an exceptionally important transition in their lives and, therefore, have many important questions spinning in their heads. What will I do next? College? Military service? Workforce? What do I want to do with my life? What is God calling me to do? Do I have the gifts to help me realize my goals? Am I focused and gifted enough to take on more difficult challenges?

That means that like our high-school seniors, I will be looking at some significant questions I, too, need and want to ask. To what is God calling me at this new stage of my life? Of what must I let go? What should I take up? Am I up to it?

Such questions carry challenges and excitement for the seniors and for me. And, by the way, my guess is that there is probably not one reader of these words who cannot name a transition — large or small — that you are going through at the present time. Change is a constant element in our lives. It’s when we stop changing that people find our names on page two of the B section of the newspaper.

So what do we do about these changes, especially the big ones? We think and pray about them. We seek the advice of people who share our experiences and care about us. Using such resources we make as prudent an assessment of the situation as we possibly can. Then, we have done all that we can. I can think of few things better to do than to open the Gospel of St. Luke to Chapter 12, verses 22-31 and spend some time praying that text. You know — it talks about the birds in the sky and the lilies of the field. It really helps to place our questions, our unknowns and our best efforts in a healthy and life-giving perspective.

Peace to all.

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