The Lord commands us not to worry. I struggle to obey that command. Worry is definitely one of my moral weaknesses. Yet with the fear of equivocating here, let me say this: I do indeed believe that the Lord has our every concern in his hands and that he will indeed bring good out of every situation. But when faced with a troublesome circumstance, my intellect assents to God’s providence while my emotions succumb to human frailty and fear. Hence I worry.
Without a doubt, some situations rightly weigh heavy upon our spirits. Will peace prevail over war? Will my loved one accept God’s mercy and come to conversion? Will our leaders choose justice over expediency? I’d like to think that there is a type of righteous worry. And when it comes to our youth and our youth evangelization efforts, my righteous worry is ubiquitous.
Succinctly said, I worry that the faith of our young people is being devastated by neglect: my neglect, your neglect, their neglect. Each of us, from our particular station in life, has a solemn responsibility to strive not only for our own salvation, but also for the salvation of others. The young people placed under our care need you and me to be serious about the business of evangelization and kingdom building. But I worry – hopefully from a sincere and humble heart – that we are failing.
Looking first at my own station in life and my own conscience: Are we priests standing as courageous watchmen for our youth to warn them of danger and guard them from evil? Are we too concerned about being liked and not concerned enough about being brutally honest in the face of sin and spiritual emptiness? Are we too selfish in regards to our personal time and too shamefully lazy to do the difficult work of bringing youth to Christ?
Parents: Aware that no one can give what he or she does not possess, are you working diligently to strengthen your own relationship with Christ? Are you more concerned with your son or daughter’s salvation than with their college choice or career path? Are you supportive of their desire to participate in the Church’s life – and possibly – to even follow a call to the priesthood or religious life?
Youth leaders and religious education leaders: Are you honest enough to admit that the old ways of transmitting the faith are simply no longer working? Are you praying – daily, dutifully, and devotedly – for the young people in your charge? Are you going the extra mile to seek out the lost and to save the spiritually dying?
Young people: Are you choosing pleasures and diversions over prayer, Mass, and the sacraments? Are you putting the same efforts into your faith that you eagerly put into sports, theater, and school? Are you willing to see the culture for what it truly is – falsely alluring and bent on your destruction?
Yes, I worry, but not without hope. We are all in God’s care and we are all sustained by his grace. He wants our salvation! He wants our efforts to be fruitful! He wants the love we give to heal, change, and enliven this world! Is there indeed such a thing as righteous worry? I pray there is… for my worry continues.
Be assured of my prayers,