Firstly I'd like to begin with stating how lonely it can be for some/most young Catholics. I love my faith, it makes me who I am; but every now and again one can't help but feel so very lonely. I once went to World Youth Day and had an amazing time. Holding vigil with the Holy Father and seeing over a million young Catholics all praying together at Holy Mass, but soon after the return to the UK the immense feeling of togetherness vanishes and you realise that once again you are alone.
No where is this more realised than at Holy Mass, be it during the week or on a Sunday. On the whole one looks around and you see old people, families (with children sometimes forced to go) and sometimes you see middle-aged singletons... after Sunday Mass i often reflect on what happened? where did all the young people go? And I'm reminded of this song:
...but maybe that's the wrong question. We should not be asking where, but why. Why did all the young people go? I've heard it often blamed solely on Vatican II and the changes that followed...but i think it's something much deeper than that.
No. It is something a lot deeper. You can't tie the loss of faith to Vatican II, you can only tie the loss of faith to ourselves. To those of us who still attend Mass and are only truly Catholic or Christian for those couple of hours we spend in worship. How does it look to those who don't attend regularly/or at all, and then see supposed Catholics rolling out of pubs at the early hours or generally behaving in an un-Christian manner to our neighbour?
I might just be speaking for myself, but i know for a fact that on the whole I act like a very bad Christian, most of the time. I look down on people, I pre-judge people, I occasionally drink in excess, and I don't do nearly as much charity work as I should - but then I wonder, would that be enough?
Well sure it'd be a start. I've acknowledged my faults, but what do i do now? Now I have to change...and is this what Lent is all about? Changing yourself, for the better? I think it is. Lent is a time when we look at ourselves and think "huh, maybe I could do this or that" but why restrict it to Lent? Why not offer it to God as a personal penance? Giving up something you love, is there any great gift?
...Moving on before I bore you. Friendship. Having mentioned loneliness and the feeling of isolation above, I find it fitting to talk of my friend Joe who's moving to Canterbury for a few weeks. It'll be nice to have someone to pray Vespers and Compline with and of course attend Sunday Mass with. Please pray for us both at this time, as we are praying for a sign of what the Lord may want of us.