Displaying items by tag: YSN

Think of the most beautiful experiences in life. Holding a newborn baby. Feeling the waves of the ocean crash at your feet. Sunsets. Christmas morning. Cheeks that hurt from smiling. A first kiss.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

This semester, I am enrolled in a course on the History of the Reformation, the 16th-century movement led by Martin Luther which caused a break in the Catholic Church and resulted in Protestantism.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

TORONTO - High school students are receiving a reality check on the dangers of drinking and drug abuse.

Published in Youth Speak News

TORONTO - My friends have seen my agendas, year after year, filled from the front to the back with to-do lists, various events and other little notes. With all of this organization and planning, it seems out of character for me to suddenly switch the university program I applied to for another right before the application deadline, making my future harder to visualize.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

This past December, I had the privilege of helping feed the homeless at St. Francis Table on Queen Street West in Toronto with five of my Grade 12 classmates.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

TORONTO - At first, it was awkward. The Grade 10 students from St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High School weren’t really sure what to do, so they stuck to the perimeter of the room. The St. Jude’s special needs clients, however, weren’t as shy. They swayed their hips and pumped their fists to music that praised God.

Published in Youth Speak News
January 11, 2013

Mass entertainment

It’s 10 a.m. on a wintry Sunday and you’re sitting in a solid wood pew. The priest has stepped down from the pulpit to stand between a Nativity scene and an Advent wreath with half-melted candles counting down the weeks before Christmas. He’s speaking warmly as he delivers a heartfelt homily.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

When Lindsay Rigby hears her phone beep in the wee hours of the morning, she knows it isn’t a work e-mail or a friend messaging her about going out for lunch. The little beep indicates that the rich tradition of the 2,000-year-old Catholic Church is being delivered to her iPhone.

Published in Youth Speak News
December 21, 2012

Hope for homeless youth

Family abuse, prostitution, teen parenthood, rejection because of sexual orientation and aging out of foster care without family — these are just a few reasons why 1.6 million young people are homeless in North America.

Published in Youth Speak News

Last week I went out to do a bit of shopping and, to my dismay, found myself at a store early in the morning surrounded by too many people. I had difficulty manoeuvring my shopping cart around shoppers, strollers and the odd employee re-arranging displays. Occasionally, I would overhear a grumble of frustration from another shopper. The experience was so overwhelming that I returned home with a headache.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

OTTAWA - Motion-312 may have been shot down in the House of Commons, but Stephen Woodworth hasn’t given up.

Published in Youth Speak News

Catholic Christian Outreach will open up its annual Rise Up conference to more people this year by hosting events in two locations.

Published in Youth Speak News

Crushes are all consuming when you’re a teenager. It’s all you can think about; it’s all you can talk about.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out
November 30, 2012

Fortitude and faith

It is all too easy for young people seeking acceptance and recognition to be attracted by the glitz and glamour of a pleasure-seeking lifestyle. The idea of sainthood or even martyrdom at a young age seems unfathomable and difficult to comprehend. Why suffer for an idea?

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

During elementary school, my smile was a dental nightmare. The question was not whether I needed braces, but when I would get them. The answer to that was Grade 10. And although I was afraid and uncertain about how this would all play out, hindsight has shown me that dental treatment complemented my faith life.

As soon as I received my braces, I was slapped with a list of things that I could and could not eat, and habits I would have to pick up to make sure my teeth were taken care of properly. After appointments with my orthodontist, my teeth and mouth would ache for at least a few hours, sometimes for days. On top of that, I was told that I would have to wear braces — and all the rules and pain that came with them — for at least two years.

As time passed, luckily for me, things became easier to bear, and I began to notice that my dental work shared similarities with my faith. Sometimes people think that being Catholic restrains you because of all the different rules you’re asked to follow. I knew these rules were far from restraining; they were guiding principles that led me towards goodness and God, the greatest good. I realized that, like the commandments, the rules given to me with my braces were there for my benefit, to prevent me from hindering the treatment. Unless I followed them, the braces would leave scars or be ineffective.

I better understood St. Paul when he wrote, “You are not under law but under grace” (Rom 6:14). That’s not to say that we can disobey the commandments, but it means that by grace we can live a faithful life within the boundaries they set. Realizing this changed my prayer life, as I began to pray often for the grace to make certain good actions habitual.

Reflecting on the pain I sometimes felt because of my braces, I understood that suffering in my life ultimately made me a stronger person. Just as my teeth were only straightened after enduring pain, my virtues were tested and strengthened by trials and suffering. I could only trust in God’s wisdom during these times, and this trustful surrender to Divine Providence became a source of great peace for me.

Having braces also taught me that change comes slowly. It may have taken two years, but God definitely made my crooked teeth straight. As St. Francis de Sales said, “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.” Growing in patience, in my prayer life, in my trust in God and in any virtue takes time to accomplish. I won’t be able to make good habits and positive change without a continual effort, but “Patience obtains all things,” said St. Teresa of Avila. “The crooked shall be made straight” (Lk 3:5) if we’re patient enough to let God straighten what needs straightening.

(Pereira, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Brebeuf College School in Toronto.)

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

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