That informing power or spirit is God And is this power benevolent or malevolent? I see it as purely benevolent. For I can see that in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists. He is the supreme Good. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God. Instead of an intellectual search, there was suddenly a very deep gut feeling that something was different On the return trip home, gazing through , miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious.
Every hardship; every joy; every temptation is a challenge of the spirit; that the human soul may prove itself. The great chain of necessity wherewith we are bound has divine significance; and nothing happens which has not some service in working out the sublime destiny of the human soul. Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from. It is through solving problems correctly that we grow spiritually.
We are never given a burden unless we have the capacity to overcome it.
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If a great problem is set before you, this merely indicates that you have the great inner strength to solve a great problem. There is never really anything to be discouraged about, because difficulties are opportunities for inner growth, and the greater the difficulty the greater the opportunity for growth. Spiritual opening is not a withdrawal to some imagined realm or safe cave. It is not a pulling away, but a touching of all the experience of life with wisdom and with a heart of kindness, without any separation.
Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you. They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you learn perfect patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion. Qualities like love and compassion are not just abstract virtues that are the property of saints and adepts. Anyone can develop these qualities in themselves by doing spiritual practices. As the Buddha said, Come and see.
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- Part Three: Themes and Components for a Comprehensive Ministry with Adolescents.
- Footsteps Of Faith: Following The Call?
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It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye. What is a loving heart? A loving heart is sensitive to the whole of life, to all persons; a loving heart doesn't harden itself to any persons or things. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always hopes, always perseveres. It is an awareness that I is not separate from thou , that whatever is happening to the planet, or to another person, is happening to me.
Compassion is total empathy, an absolute sense of connection. Empathy is the life of the soul, I think, because the soul that allows us to see the one in the other is the soul that finds joy. The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?
Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment. Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself. Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Saint Francis de Sales. Other people do not have to change for us to experience peace of mind. Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.
Inner peace is found by facing life squarely, solving its problems, and delving as far beneath its surface as possible to discover its verities and realities. If peace is our single aim in all we do, we will always know what to do because we will do whatever will protect and deepen our peace. Every time we experience a single day of inner stillness and joy, we are empowered to expand it into a second and a third day.
A space opens in our hearts, and when two hearts recognize and acknowledge each other, a connection happens. It happens again and again as other hearts are joined in this stillness.
Charles Ringma | Encouraging Faith Guides & Companions
We need silence to be alone with God, to speak to him, to listen to him, to ponder his words deep in our hearts. We need to be alone with God in silence to be renewed and transformed. Silence gives us a new outlook on life. In it we are filled with the energy of God himself that makes us do all things with joy. True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. Silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere--in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals.
To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me.
But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars One might think the atmosphere was made transparent Love's tender dialogue Between the soul and God. Prayer at its highest is a two-way conversation--and for me the most important part is listening to God's replies. Prayer is the most powerful form of energy one can generate It supplies us with a flow of sustaining power in our daily lives.
They who have steeped their souls in prayer Can every anguish calmly bear. When thou prayest, rather let thy heart be without words than thy words without heart. He prayeth best, who loveth best All things both great and small; For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all. Become aware of God, in whose presence you are while you pray.
Then take a formula of prayer and recite it with perfect attention both to the words you are saying and to the Person to whom you are saying them. One of the most powerful ways to pray, and a method used throughout the world, is the repetition of the name God. Using an inspirational passage Whatever we drive deep into consciousness, that we become I usually recommend the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi:. Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console, To be understood as to understand, To be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life. Meditation is to be aware of what is going on - in our bodies, in our feelings, in our minds, and in the world. Yet the sunrise is beautiful, and the rose that bloomed this morning along the wall is a miracle. Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects.
Please do not think we must be solemn in order to meditate. In fact, to meditate well, we have to smile a lot. When one devotes oneself to meditation, mental burdens, unnecessary worries, and wandering thoughts drop off one by one; life seems to run smoothly and pleasantly. A student may now depend on intuition to make decisions. As one acts on intuition, second thought, with its dualism, doubt and hesitation, does not arise. Looking deeply at life as it is in this very moment, the meditator dwells in stability and freedom. Meditation is not a means to an end.
It is both the means and the end. People seek out retreats for themselves in the country, at the seaside, on the mountains Make use then of this retirement continually and regenerate thyself. Half an hour's meditation is essential except when you are very busy. Then a full hour is needed. Promoting the growth of young and older adolescents means addressing their unique developmental, social, and religious needs and nurturing the qualities or assets necessary for positive development.
It also means addressing the objective obstacles to healthy growth that affect the lives of so many young people, such as poverty, racial discrimination, and social injustice, as well as the subjective obstacles to healthy growth such as the loss of a sense of sin, the influence of values promoted by the secular media, and the negative impact of the consumer mentality. The Goals in Action. Research and pastoral experiences have demonstrated that there are particular assets—knowledge, values, skills, and commitments—that can make a significant difference in promoting the faith development of young and older adolescents.
These assets focus our ministry by naming what the Church seeks to achieve in the lives of young people. They provide specific directions for effective pastoral practice that is guided by the three goals. These assets are nurtured in the home, in the Catholic school, in the parish community, and in the community at large through schools and organizations. We offer the following assets as a foundation for healthy faith development and growth in adolescents.
Since the s, the Church has learned a great deal about ministry with adolescents. Through the hard work of countless leaders in parishes, schools, and dioceses across the United States, we have discovered effective approaches, strategies, programs, and activities. We also have learned that no one strategy, activity, or program is adequate to the task of promoting the three goals for ministry with adolescents and that families, parishes, and schools cannot work in isolation if the Church is to realize its goals.
We have learned that it takes the entire Church to achieve the three goals we have established for ministry with adolescents. Today, we propose a framework for integrating the Church's ministry with adolescents that incorporates a broader, expanded, and more comprehensive vision. First articulated in A Vision of Youth Ministry and developed more fully over the past two decades, the comprehensive approach is a framework for integration rather than a specific model.
The comprehensive approach is not a single program or recipe for ministry. Rather, it provides a way for integrating ministry with adolescents and their families into the total life and mission of the Church, recognizing that the whole community is responsible for this ministry.
The comprehensive approach uses all of our resources as a faith community—people, ministries, programs—in a common effort to promote the three goals of the Church's ministry with adolescents. The goals for ministry with adolescents help to keep our vision focused on the objectives. The themes provide a continuous thread that ensures that ministry with adolescents utilizes all available resources and is all-inclusive.
The components highlight specific areas of ministry for a comprehensive approach. By offering this framework, we seek to provide direction to the Church's ministry and to affirm and encourage local creativity. The comprehensive framework for ministry with adolescents is designed to. Human development and growth in faith is a lifelong journey.
My Journey of Faith: "Faith is the soul seeing what the eyes can't"
Renewing the Vision builds upon the growth nurtured in childhood and provides a foundation for continuing growth in young adulthood. Effective ministry with adolescents provides developmentally appropriate experiences, programs, activities, strategies, resources, content, and processes to address the unique developmental and social needs of young and older adolescents both as individuals and as members of families.
This approach responds to adolescents' unique needs, focuses ministry efforts, and establishes realistic expectations for growth during adolescence. The assets proposed at the conclusion of Part Two are offered as a way to promote developmentally appropriate growth during adolescence. Ministry with adolescents recognizes that the family has the primary responsibility for the faith formation of young people and that the parish and Catholic school share in it.
The home is a primary context for sharing, celebrating, and living the Catholic faith, and we are partners with parents in developing the faith life of their adolescent children. The Church can contribute significantly toward strong, life-shaping families for young people see Goal Two.
The changes in family life, such as the increasing diversity in family structure, the pressures of family time and commitments, and the changing economic situation, challenge us to respond to family needs and to develop a variety of approaches, programs, activities, and strategies to reach out to families.
The home is the Domestic Church, the "first and vital cell of society," the primary educators of faith and virtues. Since the family is the first place where ministry to adolescents usually occurs, the Church is at the service of parents to help them enliven within their children a knowledge and love for the Catholic faith. The family has the mission to "guard, reveal, and communicate love. Therefore, the Church's ministry with adolescents should lead young people into a deeper faith life within their own families.
In other words, ministry with adolescents should not take adolescents away from the family, but rather foster family life. Ministry with adolescents becomes family friendly by incorporating a family perspective into all parish and school policies, programs, and activities so that all ministry enriches family life in a way that affirms the sacramentality of Christian marriage and the mission of Christian marriage and the mission of the Catholic family in today's world and also is sensitive to the reality of families today. Ministry with adolescents also helps families at home, individually, and with other families by providing programs, activities, resources, and strategies designed to enrich and to promote family life and faith.
Ministry with adolescents recognizes the importance of the intergenerational faith community in sharing faith and promoting healthy growth in adolescents. Meaningful involvement in parish life and the development of intergenerational relationships provide young people with rich resources to learn the story of the Catholic faith experientially and to develop a sense of belonging to the Church.
Ministry with adolescents can incorporate young people into the intergenerational opportunities already available in the parish community, identify and develop leadership opportunities in the parish for young people, and create intergenerational support networks and mentoring relationships. Age-specific programs can be transformed into intergenerational programming and new intergenerational programs that incorporate young people can be developed.
Adolescents today are growing up in a culturally diverse society. The perceived image of the United States has shifted from a melting pot to a multihued tapestry. The strength and beauty of the tapestry lie in the diverse colors and textures of its component threads—the values and traditions claimed by the different racial and ethnic groups that constitute the people of the United States. Ministry with adolescents is multicultural when it focuses on a specialized ministry to youth of particular racial and ethnic cultures and promotes multicultural awareness among all youth.
First, ministry with adolescents recognizes, values, and responds to the diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds and experiences that exist among adolescents and develops culturally responsive and inclusive programming to address these needs. A fully multicultural approach to positive adolescent development and faith growth views ethnicity and culture as core features of identity and behavior.
It helps youth identify and explore their own ethnic roots and cultural expressions in order to understand their own and others' ethnic practices. It recognizes that the specific content of adolescent tasks and competencies varies by culture, such as the way young people attain individual autonomy. It also recognizes the impact that family ethnicity has on adolescent development in areas such as decision making and social relationships.
Ministry with adolescents helps young people develop their identity by affirming and utilizing the values and traditions of their ethnic cultures. Specifically, it welcomes and empowers all young people; it develops leaders who reflect the ethnic characteristics of the programs' participants; it trains all staff to be competent culturally; it includes young people and their families on advisory councils; and it develops program content that is culturally appropriate and relevant to the needs of participants.
In stressing with our young Catholics the importance of multicultural awareness, and awareness of difference and diversity, we should take care to balance this awareness with the concept of their belonging to a universal Church, that is, with the concept of unity in diversity that characterizes the universal Church.
Second, all ministry with adolescents needs to incorporate ethnic traditions, values, and rituals into ministerial programming; teach about the variety of ethnic cultures in the Catholic Church; provide opportunities for crosscultural experiences; and foster acceptance and respect for cultural diversity. This approach helps young people learn about, understand, and appreciate people with backgrounds different from their own. Ministry with adolescents needs to counteract prejudice, racism, and discrimination by example, with youth themselves becoming models of fairness and nondiscrimination.
In addition, programs in racism and oppression awareness are needed to foster effective communication skills in a multicultural context and to help young people develop skills for dealing with and overcoming social barriers to achievement. The Church's concern for the civic community includes advocacy on behalf of young people when public issues that affect their lives need to be addressed. Ministry with adolescents involves creating healthier civic communities for all young people.
This involves networking with leaders in congregations of diverse faith traditions, public schools, youth-serving agencies, and community organizations to nurture a shared commitment to promoting healthy adolescent development and a healthy community; to develop mutual respect and understanding; to share resources; and to plan community-wide efforts and programs. Building these relationships can open doors for sharing resources and co-sponsoring training, programs, and advocacy efforts. Community-wide efforts are needed to serve the marginalized young people who lack the support and nurture of congregations and community and who are often the most vulnerable in our community.
Part Two: Goals for Ministry with Adolescents
Community collaboration means building partnerships among families, schools, churches, and organizations that mobilize the community in a common effort to build a healthier community life and to promote positive adolescent development. Ministry with adolescents mobilizes all of the resources of the faith community in a comprehensive and integrated approach: This approach involves a wide diversity of adult and youth leaders in a variety of roles necessary for comprehensive ministry.
Ministry coordinators have a central role in facilitating the people, programming, and resources of the faith community on behalf of a comprehensive ministry effort with adolescents. Coordination is stewardship—overseeing the resources of the community so that they are used wisely in ministry with adolescents. Ministry coordinators alert the whole community to its responsibility for young people, draw forth the community's gifts and resources, and encourage and empower the community to minister with young people.
Of special importance to effective ministry with adolescents is cooperation among the leaders, ministries, and programs in a faith community as they work together in a common effort to achieve the three goals of the Church's ministry with youth. Ministry with adolescents creates flexible and adaptable program structures that address the changing needs and life situations of today's young people and their families within a particular community. The comprehensive approach incorporates the following elements in developing ministry programming for adolescents:. Ministry with adolescents utilizes each of the Church's ministries—advocacy, catechesis, community life, evangelization, justice and service, leadership development, pastoral care, prayer and worship—in an integrated approach to achieve the three goals for ministry, discussed in Part Two.
Today, in light of our National Strategy on Vocations, we add vocational discernment to the "essence" of ministry with adolescents. These components provide a framework for the Catholic community to respond to the needs of young people and to involve young people in sharing their unique gifts with the larger community.
They provide a structure for the Church's ministry with adolescents, while encouraging local creativity in developing programs, activities, and strategies for each component. Each ministry component supports and enhances the others. A comprehensive ministry with adolescents provides balance among all eight components. This balance can be achieved throughout a year or a season of programming. Even a single program or strategy can incorporate several of the ministry components, as in the case of a retreat program. Open your mouth in behalf of the [mute], and for the rights of the destitute; Open your mouth, decree what is just, defend the needy and the poor Prv We seek to shape a society—and a world—with a clear priority for families and children [adolescents] in need and to contribute to the development of policies that help families protect their children's lives and overcome the moral, social, and economic forces that threaten their future.
As believers and citizens, we need—each of us—to use our values, voices, and votes to hold our public officials accountable and to shape a society that puts our children first Putting Children and Families First , pp. The ministry of advocacy engages the Church to examine its priorities and practices to determine how well young people are integrated into the life, mission, and work of the Catholic community. It places adolescents and families first by analyzing every policy and program—domestic, parish-based, diocesan, and international—for its impact on adolescents and families.
Poor, vulnerable, and at-risk adolescents have first claim on our common efforts. The ministry of advocacy struggles against economic and social forces that threaten adolescents and family life, such as poverty, unemployment, lack of access to affordable health care, lack of decent housing, and discrimination. The ministry of advocacy supports policies and programs that support and empower adolescents and their families and works to overcome poverty, provide decent jobs, and promote equal opportunity. In all advocacy efforts we must remember to focus on adolescents and families with the greatest need.
This is the "option for the poor" in action Putting Children and Families First.
As a Church, we need to provide strong moral leadership; to stand up for adolescents, especially those who are voiceless and powerless in society. We call upon all ministry leaders and faith communities to use the resources of our faith community, the resources and talents of all our people, and the opportunities of this democracy to shape a society more respectful of the life, dignity, and rights of adolescents and their families.
The ministry of advocacy encourages the Church to examine its practice of fully integrating adolescents into the life of the Church. How are the voices of young people honored and heard in the Church? How are the gifts, talents, and energy of young people respected and utilized within our faith communities? It is imperative that the Church models what it advocates for society.
Quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the totality of the Church's efforts to make disciples, to help people believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, thus building up the Body of Christ Catechism of the Catholic Church no.
The ministry of catechesis helps adolescents develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and the Christian community, and increase their knowledge of the core content of the Catholic faith. The ministry of Catechesis also helps young people enrich and expand their understanding of the Scriptures and the sacred tradition and their application to life today, and live more faithfully as disciples of Jesus Christ in their daily lives, especially through a life of prayer, justice, and loving service. Genuine faith is a total response of the whole person—mind, heart, and will.
The ministry of catechesis fosters growth in Catholic faith in all three dimensions—trusting heart , knowing and believing mind , and doing will. The goal should be to have all Catholic youth involved in some program of catechesis. The ministry of catechesis with adolescents has several distinct features that give direction to catechetical programming.
Specifically, catechesis with adolescents. The ministry of catechesis most effectively promotes the faith development of young and older adolescents when the curriculum is focused on important faith themes drawn from the teachings of the Church and on the developmental needs and life experiences of adolescents.
The following faith themes have demonstrated their significance within the context of lifelong faith development and learning. Their selection is designed to "shed the light of the Christian message on the realities which have great impact on the adolescent" GCD This framework, organized around the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church , is offered as the basis of developing a catechetical curriculum for younger and older adolescents.
Additional faith themes may need to be included to address local needs. The Church is the Body of Christ. Through the Spirit and his action in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist, Christ, who once was dead and is now risen, establishes the community of believers as his own Body. In the unity of this Body there is a diversity of members and functions. All members are linked to one another, especially to those who are suffering, to the poor and persecuted Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. The ministry of community life builds an environment of love, support, appreciation for diversity, and judicious acceptance that models Catholic principles; develops meaningful relationships; and nurtures Catholic faith.
The content of our message will be heard only when it is lived in our relationships and community life. To teach compassion, generosity, tolerance, peace, forgiveness, acceptance, and love as gospel values and to identify ourselves as Christians require us to live these values in our interactions with young people and in our community life. God's reign was proclaimed through the relationships Jesus initiated, and it continues to be heralded every time we witness our belief in him through the relationships in our community.
The community life of the first Christians was a sign to everyone that Christ was in their midst see Acts 2: The ministry of community life is not only what we do activity , but who we are identity and how we interact relationships. Community life is nurtured when the atmosphere is welcoming, comfortable, safe, and predictable—one in which all adolescents know that their presence is welcomed, their energy is appreciated, and their contributions are valued. Community life is enhanced when leaders promote and model an attitude that is authentic, positive, accepting, and understanding—assuring all young people that they are valued and cared for as gifted individuals.
Community life is encouraged when our actions are inviting, supportive, and gospel-based. Community life is created when activities build trust and encourage relationships, and are age-appropriate. The ministry of community life with adolescents has several distinct features that give direction to community life programming. Specifically, community building with adolescents. Its essence is the proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ and the response of a person in faith, both being the work of the Spirit of God Go and Make Disciples , p.