In the post below, I wondered:
How often do we complain about the church (or praise it) or seek something from it, but do little-to-nothing to raise up a new generation to serve it?
If our kids are serving the church, they’ll never get rich. And they will struggle daily on that wire between earth and heaven, along with the church — and sometimes they’ll slip because that struggle is maddening and certainly humbling — but they will grow a perspective of Eternity that will prevent their ever becoming slaves to a moment or a passing trend. They will understand the futility of building a society that is prosperous and over-materialistic but so profit-obsessed and spiritually bereft that an economic downturn leaves them all-undone and anxious.
They will understand that possessing MacPro’s but not the Master, being dependent on the iPhone, rather than the I AM, leaves nothing to fall back on.
They will have escaped the trap of finding their consolation in material things, because they will not have conferred upon their things the power to reassure and to affirm their self-hood.
Which means they will be free in ways that too many of us — and particularly our young — are not.
Speaking of encouraging our children to serve the church, the BBC is looking at the slow but steadily-increasing numbers of young women investigating the consecrated life:
Catherine describes herself as “a girly girl” who loves to be pampered. She has also wanted to be a nun since she was four years old.
Like many of her contemporaries, the 25-year-old has spent the last few years travelling, partying and studying for a degree in languages at King’s College in London.
She also worked as a model, but for her it was an unfulfilling experience and left her thinking again about devoting her life to God.
“I went to castings, they always wanted me to do catwalk shows,” she says. “I remember after my first professional paid show, going home and feeling really empty. Feeling like ‘is that it’? ‘That’s not great as I thought it would be’.
“I love people and I love having a good time, but that’s not all there is.”
The program is airing tonight in the UK, and hopefully we’ll get to see it online, or something. As some are realizing that our lives have become cluttered by empty this all sounds pretty interesting:
Producer Vicky Mitchell spent six months filming women such as Clara, 24, as they prepared to become nuns . . . In the programme, Clara is seen graduating, socialising, praying and shopping for long-sleeved, blue nightdresses and slippers that won’t squeak in the convent’s corridors.
Before she researched Young Nuns, Mitchell assumed that the current generation of women would be looking for a more “relaxed” and “modern” style of religious life. “What was surprising was that most were actively seeking something much more traditional. They wanted a lifestyle radically and distinctively different to everyday life.” But, she adds, they didn’t meet the pious stereotype. The women had friends, strong family bonds and active social lives. They dated and had career prospects. “What surprised me was how much like me they were.”
More information here.
Speaking of youth and service, Patheos is launching a look at the Future of Seminary Education, which you might want to check out. Currently it is pretty “Protestant-packed” but expect some Catholic perspectives to be added over the next few days, from both clergy and layfolk!
At First Things: Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez writes on “Defending Our First Freedom”:
Catholics have always believed that we serve our country best as citizens when we are trying to be totally faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Church. And since before the founding of the American Republic, Catholics—individually and institutionally—have worked with government agencies at all levels to provide vital social services, education, and health care.
But lately, this is becoming harder and harder for us to do. Just last week, the federal government declined a grant request from the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services agency. We are not really sure why. No reason was given. Our agency has been working well with the government since 2006 to help thousands of women and children who are victims of human trafficking.
Recently, the government had been demanding that our agency provide abortions, contraception and sterilizations for the women we serve. We hope our application was not denied because we refused to provide these services that are unnecessary and violate our moral principles and religious mission.
And this is not an isolated case.
Indeed, it is not. We’ve been talking at this site about the government encroaching on religious freedom for a while, now. We keep getting told we’re “alarmist”.
Also related: One way to support young people who want to pursue church service — from the consecrated side — is to help them pay off their student loans. Sadly, the world still demands cash up front.