Overcoming troubles

By  Brittney White. Youth Speak News
  • November 10, 2006
As a young Catholic going through adolescence, I did not question the motives for accepting or rejecting the Catholic faith. As I entered into the struggles of junior high and high school, I had many doubts concerning my own self-image, but my faith remained strong.

It survived peer pressure and rebellion. The Catholic practices of prayer, going to church, Scripture, even the Eucharist, felt superficial compared to my behaviour as a rebellious youth. I felt guilty and sometimes it would hit me like a brick in the chest, creating a sense of anxiety and the desire to flee from the pew and escape into the fresh air of the "real world." Eventually I would be blessed to recognize I still had these feelings for Jesus and carrying my own cross.

I do not know how long I forced myself to battle the darkness of self-doubt, maybe a year or two, but somewhere in the midst of the burdens, the hurt, the pressure and the absolute desire to be heard, my faith was revolutionized.

Through the façade of popularity, sports, experimentation and family I was unknowingly desperate. Desperate for a reason that I could not relate to. I was a well-rounded youth, but I was constantly searching to fill a void.

As an old adage says: "I wish I knew then what I know now," and how true it rings. If I could have seen through my own masked pain, I would have realized that my desperation and void in life was a self-created darkness, stemming from the lack of a deeper relationship with Christ. In fact, I had no relationship with Christ, I merely had the instruments in my hands to create one, but I was not using them to build.

"Nails were not enough to hold God and Man nailed and fastened on the cross, had not love held them there," said St. Catherine of Siena, the patron saint of illness and fire prevention who believed in the notion that everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind.

If we hold a nail in our hand in hopes of hanging a picture, but will not exert the force of a hammer, the picture will not be hung. It is up to each and every one of us to use our instruments, our gifts to their potential.

When relating to God we must make a personal decision to encounter God directly. Christ continually reveals the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth, but our purpose requires the demanding need to be both in the image of Christ and seek out the image of Christ in other people or we will continue to engage in the feelings of failed potential, dissatisfaction and in turn loneliness.

We must realize that we as powerful instruments are in God's hands; that in our missions and journeys towards a greater purpose we must trust that our proclamation of God is not our own. We must acknowledge the personal responsibility to build a relationship with God, it is not up to our friends, families or even parish priests to do so. It is essential that we acknowledge personal responsibility in satisfying our own relationship with God if we are to ever completely blanket ourselves with the graces of happiness, self-acceptance and inner peace.

(White, 21, studies psychology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.)

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