Friday, December 03, 2004

What's the cost of loss of faith?

Just got off the phone with my 16 year old nephew. His good friend committed suicide. This is the first death that's ever directly affected my nephew.

Is the incredible increase in suicide among the young a result of more than the disease of depression that afflicts so many? Why are so many teens and young adults depressed?

I wonder if some of the underlying difficulty is a lack of faith, a chronic absence of hope, an inability to trust, in oneself, family, friends, community, society... God.

We have to strive to provide our young people with the strength they need to meet the inevitable difficulties and suffering that every human person experiences. Faith, a realistic, relational, religiously practiced and expressed faith, is a way for God to be a powerful presence in young lives. Such faith can serve as to help young people confront the nihilism and meaninglessness too many teens and young adults experience as a crushing burden.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Campion's Brag

December 1st, Feast of St. Edmund Campion.

Here's a portion of Campion's famous "brag" in which he defied the might and power of England, and chose to freely live and preach the Catholic faith in a realm where to do so was forbidden.

"And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league—all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England—cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored."

What inspired such faith? What could do so today? Campion was offered a prime position in the Church of England, by the Queen herself,if he wopuld recant his position. Yet he refused and went to his death instead. He believed. How can we exemplify such faith today without linking it to denominational fundamentalism? How can we firmly believe and preach the truth of Christ while remaininmg open for dialogue and conversion wit those of other faiths? The challenges of the 21st century are fascinating, but never easy.

As we enter fully into Advent, let us pray for peace.