REFLECTION:Forming the youth PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 April 2014 13:58

One of the occasional advantages of being a senior citizen is to see the welcoming sight of talents emerging among the young people in the different fields of human interest.

Young prodigies can be seen in the fields of arts, sciences and technologies, definitely warming the hearts of the elders among us. Even in the fields of business and politics, sensational personalities among the youth are coming up.

This gives us a very uplifting and reassuring feeling that the world continues to be in good hands, and the prospect of further development, advancement and progress becomes clearer.

That high, exhilarating feeling, of course, is accompanied by the ardent desire that there be more of these talents, and that they really pursue and develop their gifts properly, that is, for the common good and ultimately for the greater glory of God, since nothing can be good and proper for us unless it is related to God.

This truth has to be made clear always. We cannot depend on mere philosophies and ideologies, and, much less, on good intentions alone. God has to enter into the picture. In fact, he has to be given the pride of place, since more than us it is he who is the real engine of human development. He is, after all, the Lord of History. Divine providence permeates in a mysterious way the whole human history.

We cannot deny the fact that many times these precious human treasures that give us so much joy, get wasted on idle and selfish pursuits, or worse, are employed for destructive, if not immoral purposes. History, so far, can attest abundantly on this sad phenomenon.

Many of the game-changing and trend-setting characters through the centuries, who in their youth were driven with passionate idealism with matching capabilities, aiming at excellence and leaving mediocrity behind, though their motives might not have been pure, have caused more harm than good.

They might have put the people of their time under their spell, but after sometime their ideas and contributions were found to be destructive or corruptive. They managed to embody a certain spirit of the times that was actually not a good spirit, but one that often was highly deceptive.

This can only mean that God’s providence continues to work effectively regardless of our sins and violations to the divine plan. Anything bad or false, no matter how attractive, popular and useful at least for a while, would sooner or later be exposed, usually with some drama or bloody and violent events as reagents.

We need to form our youth so that they may really have a vital relationship with God, a living encounter with Christ, an abiding and synching union with the Holy Spirit. This ideal should not be in the abstract anymore, detached from the prevailing conditions, but rather translated into concrete, breathing and functioning reality.

The problem we often have is that many of us consider this business of developing a relationship with God through Christ in the Holy Spirit to be too spiritual, or too personal and individualistic, that nothing tangible, practical and systematic can be made out of it.

It’s true that this ideal is spiritual and personal, but it does not mean that it has no material, practical and systematic manifestations and possibilities. Since we are both spiritual and material, individual persons and social beings, this ideal of having a living relationship with God should meet the requirements of those conditions. Otherwise, that ideal would just be a fantasy.

We have to train the youth in the art of developing and keeping a living relationship with God. We have to introduce them to the gospel and the truths of faith. We have to teach them to pray, to see the great value of sacrifice, the virtues and the sacraments.

We have to see to it that Christ to them and to all of us is a living person who is with us here and now, and not just a historical figure or a slogan. Everyone should realize that only in him would we have the fullness of our humanity.

We just have to learn how to bring Christ to our life and to our concerns. We have to know how to discern and follow the many flowing implications and consequences of his presence, will and action in all our human affairs. To be sure, Christ always intervenes in our life.

In this way, we can expect the youth to know how to read the signs of the times and generously respond to the current challenges and needs, whatever the cost!