Shaping the future PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 24 August 2015 12:03

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

If we want to see the future now, what we have to do is to look at our youth today. Yes, the youth indeed hold the key to what is to come. How they are now determines to a certain extent the character of the world in the next generation. And so we need to see to it that our young ones receive the proper formation now.

This is the challenge we, the elders, have. Preparing the youth for the future is a task that is becoming more exciting, more daunting, precisely because of the complicated issues that practically wrap the world today.

As recent Popes have been saying for some time now, the world ethos today seems to be saturated with what is more technically known as moral relativism. It’s an attitude, a mentality, and even a lifestyle and culture that banishes any moral absolutes, while making tolerance an absolute law to follow.

It ultimately boils down to denying the existence of God, and to the belief that things just depend completely on us. So, morality or what is to be considered good or bad would just be a matter of opinions, consensus, and would just be based on such criteria as practicality, popularity, convenience, and the like.

In the end, we are making ourselves our own God. We deny that we are creatures, that our existence is something given and received, not self-generated. We deny that we need to be with God always, to put our mind and heart on him.

With this mindset, a good part of the world, especially the more developed Western part, has gone to the extent of legalizing abortion, mercy-killing, same-sex marriage, etc.

If we are not careful, this scourge is going to enter our own country also. There are already clear signs. The RH Law, touted Divorce bill that some groups are pushing, the same-sex marriage buzz that we hear around—these are symptoms of an emerging moral confusion that threatens to be made part of our law and culture.

We have to give due attention to our youth today, equipping them with the means that would help them tackle the great responsibility before them. I was happy to learn that a big group of young people went to a UN conference sometime ago and made their voices heard. They were complaining about a document, still in the making, that contained precisely questionable moral positions. That’s a good sign.

In fact, we need to reclaim the original meaning of morality, human sexuality, marriage, etc., in order to help the youth extricate themselves from the elaborate spin used by those with the mindset of moral relativism.

Caring for the youth is no easy task at all. My own experience with dealing with young college students for many years indicates that they need abiding attention, a lot of patience and understanding, a good amount of flexibility and creativity, and at the same time, an unwavering hold on the faith and the doctrines that go with it.

Each one has to be handled in a very personal way. Away with putting them in boxes and branding and stereotyping them. Once this personal relationship is established, then things can be expected to go far.

The young people need constant encouragement. They sometimes strike me as toddlers who are still learning to walk properly—in the moral and spiritual life. They can be up one moment, and down the next moment. But they have a lot of energy to go on.

We just have to make sure that they are given the solid dose of formation in all its aspects—human, spiritual, doctrinal, apostolic and professional. We have to make sure that these aspects are properly integrated through the impulse of a genuine love for God and for others, because only then can they acquire a life and creativity of their own.

Caring for the youth actually never stops. It’s not just one stage in a life-long process. We just have to make it clear to them that our life requires continuing formation, continuing conversions and renewals.

In their weak moments or when they are down, we have to be quick to re-motivate them, showing them new horizons and strong reasons to hope. We have to show them the way, getting practical ourselves and not just remaining in the theories.

We should try to adapt ourselves to them, and if possible to speak their language, without abdicating our role as elders and teachers. In the end, we can only help them properly if we ourselves take care of own spiritual and moral lives. We can’t give what we don’t have.