Education is an important aspect of life, particularly in regards our secular existence in a very complex and busy world. Religious education is also very important as it lays a solid foundation upon which our faith can be built. However, there is an even more important aspect to our Christian faith and this is the lived experience of it! This includes both the experience of receiving God’s grace and Spirit in our lives and responding to that grace and seeing its fruits. Without a lived experience our faith is liable to wither and die in this world of instant entertainment and experiences. It is perhaps one of the reasons why so many of the ‘Born Again’ Churches seem to be easily able to poach young Catholics over to their churches – they emphasis very strongly the lived experience of their faith and work towards bringing that experience into the lives of others!

 

As Catholics we can tend to rely upon age-old formulae and practices that in many cases demonstrate little immediate relevance to the youth of today. This is a problem that youth ministries in our parishes and communities must seek to redress. I am not saying that an emotional high is all that we need, however it does have a place in the schema of evangelization. It is important that we recognize that human beings are emotional beings and that it is possible to use our emotions to the advantage of the Gospel proclamation.

 

Pope John Paul II and his successor Benedict XVI have called for a New Evangelization in the Catholic Church. What they means by this is that we need to discover new ways to reach out to those who have never heard the Gospel and also to those to whom the Gospel who, for one reason or another, has lost its relevance. Why do we experience less than 15% of Catholics regularly attending Sunday Mass? If you know the answer to this question please contact me and let me know!

 

There are enormous challenges ahead for the Church and that means for you and me, let us not lose heart but give our all in seeking to the best we can to bring alive the Gospel of Christ in the hearts of all men and women.

 

What changes do I need to make in my life in order to allow myself to grow more deeply in and be committed more deeply to my faith?

 

Jesus, you fixed your heart upon the goal of your Father’s will. Help me to do the same and to never lose sight of what you call me to do daily – namely live the truth of the Gospel.