Stephanie Kelly

Going back to basics to focus on our faith

By  Stephanie Kelly, Youth Speak News
  • June 1, 2011

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do? Most Catholics would say they’d donate to charities and give a hand to those in need. If only we all had time and money, we could do the things we want to do and be the good Catholics we want to be.

It’s easy to think that way, but it’s not true. We have time and we have money. The problem is how we spend them. Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the concept of what we want and what we need. This balance is especially difficult for students. We don’t think twice about spending $4 on a coffee, but hesitate to give a homeless person our spare change. We say we can’t afford to sponsor a child overseas, but we all have laptops and iPods.

It’s all about setting your priorities. There’s nothing wrong with having possessions, but they shouldn’t hold us back from living our lives for others. In a society that pushes us to be the best at all costs, we can easily be distracted by greed and vanity.

We need to go back to the basics and never lose sight of what really matters: our relationship with God.

It’s important to strip away what is temporary and artificial, to cleanse our lives and to focus on living for others.

It may sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of browsing Facebook, call a friend who needs guidance. Bring your own lunch to school once a week and give a few extra dollars to the collection plate. Change begins with small, individual steps.

Jesus told us, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

The reality is that we live in a material world and those words are harder to follow than ever. We are bombarded with messages every day that tell us to indulge ourselves.

Amid the storm of advertising, we need to be careful not to put too much value on things that are temporary.

At the end of the day, it is our faith and character that matters, not the model of our car or the brand of our clothing.

There is no doubt we live in a fast-paced world. Most of our day is taken up with work and school. It’s easy to convince ourselves we are too busy to volunteer or to lend someone a hand.

Sometimes we are so focused on our own lives, we forget about others and we can even forget about God.

My father once told me, “I’m not afraid of the things I did in this world, it’s the things I didn’t do.” If we all spent a little less time online and watching TV, we could always find time for prayer, time for thanksgiving and time for helping those in need. If we make every minute count, we have all the time in the world.

(Kelly, 20, is a journalism student at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B.)

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