Somebody once pointed out that the task of youth is heroism. Youth long for a cause they can die for. It’s what JPII recognized and why he started World Youth Day. His words to youth were always a call to heroism and self-sacrifice for Jesus:
“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
“What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything is useless.”
“Genuine love … is demanding. But its beauty lies precisely in the demands it makes. Only those able to make demands on themselves in the name of love can then demand love from others.”
“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.”
“There is no place for selfishness and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice”
“There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already born for us, and does not now bear with us.”
“Darkness can only be scattered by light, hatred can only be conquered by love.”
“The way Jesus shows you is not easy. Rather, it is like a path winding up a mountain. Do not lose heart! The steeper the road, the faster it rises towards ever wider horizons.”
“The future is in your hearts and in your hands. God is entrusting to you the task, at once difficult and uplifting, of working with Him in the building of the civilization of love.”
“Dear young people, let yourselves be taken over by the light of Christ, and spread that light wherever you are.”
“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.”
“It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”
“God has assigned as a duty to every man the dignity of every woman.”
“The most beautiful and stirring adventure that can happen to you is the personal meeting with Jesus, who is the only one who gives real meaning to our lives.”
“You perceive it in the depths of your heart: all that is good on earth, all professional success, even the human love that you dream of, can never fully satisfy your deepest and most intimate desires. Only an encounter with Jesus can give full meaning to your lives.”
“The question about the value of life, about the meaning of life, forms part of the singular treasure of youth. Still more so, when youth is tested by personal suffering, or is profoundly aware of the suffering of others; when it comes face to face with the mystery of sin, of human iniquity (mysterium iniquitatis). Christ’s reply is this: ‘Only God is good; only God is love.’”
“Yours is the gigantic task of overcoming all evil with good, always trying amidst the problems of life to place your trust in God, knowing that his grace supplies strength to human weakness. You must oppose every form of hatred with the invincible power of Christ’s love.”
It’s an instinct that can be perverted as Hitler demonstrated. The heroic desire to die for something great can be twisted into the desire to kill for something big:That is why I say that grave evil always cloaks itself in the language of courage.
But the raw material is straight from God and, in the case of the victims of Parkland, the kids are responding to the Spirit magnificently. I feared they’d fold under the Gun Cult lies and smears. Instead they have responded beautifully. They have confronted the President. They have confronted the Florida legislature. They have pushed back hard against their accusers (and only in the American Gun Cult Freak Show do you find people accusing young victims of trauma and trying to destroy them). They inspired giant corporations to pluck up the courage to cut ties with the moral lepers in the NRA. And they are inspiring a growing horde of other kids to take responsibility for the common good–because it is crystal clear the GOP does not care if they live or die. And they have used their social networking savvy to humiliate powerful cowards, such spreading the meme that AR-15s should be renamed “Marcio Rubios” because they are so easily bought.
And not just them, of course. Their parents and the loved ones are not going to take it anymore either:
And they are not slowing down. No weapon the Gun Cult has tried has prospered against them. Death threat just make the Gun Cult look like the violent moronic losers they are. Social media campaigns? These kids eat, sleep and breath social media and know how to make mincemeat of the dolts who accuse them of being “crisis actors”. Straight up lies like “16 year olds are not mature enough to have opinions about gun laws” get instantly sliced to ribbons when the same liar who says this then declares that it’s fine to make guns available to 18 year olds because “I knew how to handle a gun when I was 16 years old.” The kids don’t miss a trick.
We’ve been praying for passionate good kids committed to the common good. We’ve whinged and moaned that These Kids Today are selfish snowflakes and not awesome like the Boomers of Generation Narcissus. Well, here they are! Will we welcome them, support them, and pray for them? I, for one, am delighted to see them. I thank God for them. If they can participate in the March for Life, I see no reason whatever than they cannot organized the March for Our Lives.
The only sad thing about this glorious moment is that it is necessary because we are ruled by nihilist predators.
But I choose to see the light here, not the darkness.
Thanks be to God for them through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Image by Lorie Shaull on Flickr; CC BY-SA 2.0