December 19, 2012
By Father William Muench
My thoughts about Christmas in a Year of Faith:
I hope that this prayer service will be an invitation and encouragement to make prayer acceptable for these students. I want them to take up the challenge to become people of prayer, that they will not just say prayers but truly be prayerful people.
I am aware that this must all begin with God. Prayer will only make sense to these high school students, if they have faith in God. These young people have studied about God before. They have received First Communion and, we hope, Mass has been part of their lives.
However, I do not know if they have truly established a relationship with God. Only then will their faith be strong in their lives.Faith is a gift – a gift that is ours through Baptism in which we are immersed in the death and resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Jesus needs the test of experience.
Faith is a gift. These young people know of gifts – like presents at Christmas and birthdays - but, they have been gifted in other ways, much like God’s gift of faith to them.
I am thinking of the gift of love that is evident in the sacrifices that their parents make for them. I am also thinking of the gift of a dedicated teacher or coach who gives of themselves to make their students better people. These are truly gifts. And God gives us the gift of faith, the faith to live with confidence through the Spirit and love of Our Lord. This is a faith that guides us to make good decisions, to live better lives, to truly make the world a better place.
A good and strong faith – that is constantly strengthened each day – can give each one of these students the power to make them outstanding people. I believe that we need a good prayer life that will strengthen our faith and give us a close and good friendship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Finally, I know that the best demonstration of the power of faith is by pointing out to them examples from real life. My first thought is the many wonderful people I have known who have experienced difficult, dreadful, challenging experiences that could easily have destroyed them, like a terrible illness or the death of a loved one. After, they explain to me “if wasn’t for my faith, I could not have made it.” However, these are usually older folks – they may not impress the students. So, I will mention the wonderful, faith-filled young people, I have known who have accepted challenges with strong faith.
I am thinking of the young people who are involved in the Mission of Hope or those I have met in South America, who volunteer a year or two after college to work in a mission program or those I know right here in town who have accepted a task in their parish or community. These are real people – real young people. They demonstrate a strong and alive faith. They are inspiring people and I hope they will inspire our young Confirmation students.
These faith-filled young people certainly inspire me.