Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Praying with the Pope: April Intentions

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

It's a new month -- April, the month of spring showers that will rinse away the dust and dirt and grime of the world and bring forth things that are green, growing and alive. It's a time the world seems young again, as new buds lay with their promise of beautiful greenery on the branches of the trees, as shoots of green grass spring up from the ground. We've seen plenty of robins in our yard, happy little fellows with beautiful red breasts hopping around looking for a snack. And the geese are back -- we've seen them flying in their V formation, back from warmer climes to enjoy their spring and summer here.

With all this new growth and promise, it seems completely appropriate that Pope Francis' prayer intentions for this month focus on young people. To be specific, the Apostleship of Prayer website notes the Holy Father's prayer intentions for April as follows:

That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.

I'm 30 now, so I don't think that counts as a youth anymore. I still feel pretty young -- and I guess I could still be considered a young-ish adult, but I'm certainly not a youth. In my mind, a youth is anyone from around the teenage years to around 25. And I think it's absolutely essential in the world we live in today that we pray for the people of this age group -- especially young Catholic men and women.

The world is an ever-changing place, and sometimes it can be frustrating seeing how far things are going, in the Western world at least, in the name of "progress" and political correctness. We are seeing huge changes in morality and what is acceptable and unacceptable as far as society's values go. It must be confusing, discouraging and scary for young people today.

But in the midst of all of the world's shifting fads and fashions and virtues, the word of God stands as truth. We need to cover all young people in prayer so that they can rise up as a generation blessed by the Lord. And we need to especially pray that young Catholic men and women can hearken to God's voice and clearly hear what He wants for them -- whether it is to enter the priesthood or consecrated life, whether it is a vocation to marriage and a family, or whatever path that God has chosen for them.

In a world that places less and less value on faith, where going to Mass is less a weekly event and more something that is done a few times a year, where praying the rosary is practically unheard of in anyone under the age of 60, we need to ensure we pass down the beauty and truth of our faith to the younger generations as much as we can. It's best to start young, when your children are small, but it's never to late to have an impact on the faith of the youth of today. And that starts with prayer.

I pray that young people the world over will experience a renewal of faith, a shifting of morality back to the Bible's teachings, and that the world will become a better place for it, where Christ is preached as the Saviour of the world, and where His Church is revived, renewed and refreshed. I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to these young people and show them the path they are to follow. In Jesus' name.

photo credit: d_t_vos <a href="">On Request</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

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