Hi, I’m Sinead. I’m a young Catholic living in Ireland. I am Catholic because I was introduced to faith from a very young age by my parents. My parents love me very much and through them I came to know of the gift of God’s love.
During my time in college I would go to mass but not on a regular basis. I went to mass when I felt like it. I prayed when I felt like it. The main problem for me was I was always putting my social life in front of God. I would plan to go to mass and then end up going out instead. I soon I realised I wasn’t being honest with my friends, with God, or myself. I wanted the best of both world’s I wanted to go out but also have God but have God at a time convenient for me rather than him. God is always present to us because he loves us so much. But we are not always present to him. Jesus is always standing there waiting for us to go to him and to talk with him as a friend, to tell him our desires, our wants, our needs.
As I have got older I have started to understand more and more about my faith. I gained understanding by attending mass more, attending faith conferences, going on retreats, becoming involved in youth 2000, going on pilgrimages to Lourdes, San Giovani, Medjugorie. These events changed everything for me and made me realise what my faith meant to me and how God can do amazing things in my life. All these things have allowed my faith to grow a great deal and allowed me to develop a personal relationship with God instead of just turning up to church once a week.
Being a young Catholic today has become increasingly more difficult with pressures to conform to a very unreligious society from which young Catholics can feel alienated and like myself are persecuted for their faith, and the challenge is to listen to what Christ said, “if they Persecuted me, they will persecute you too” (John 15:20). Christ gave us these as a warning and is a reference to all who believe in Christ that you will endure hardships in the name of Christ which is the struggle of being a young Catholic today. This message however is of great hope and comfort that Christ was telling us of how with His Crucifixion he shares in our sufferings and hardships. Moreover, the confrontation he had throughout his ministry when dealing with society.
We are all called to follow Christ but speaking from experience there are times where as a young person you can find yourself amercing yourself into society as it seems the easiest option and seems the most desirable. To do this we are indirectly rejecting Christ by accepting a society which has rejected Him. I have always believed that as a young Catholic I need to answer the question do I love God and if the answer is yes then I need to show him rather than reject him.
Modern society makes us feel that religion shouldn’t be in your life. I use to think that my religion was a small part of my life, to be put in a box and taken out once a week for an hour on Sundays. But looking back on my life so far, I have realised that Catholicism has been surrounding every aspect of my life. I was raised Catholic, I went to Catholic schools and my family are practising Catholics. Also I was looking through my ‘friends’ list on Facebook and well over three quarters of my contacts are Catholic and I have made life-long friends from being more involved. Hence, life without my faith wouldn’t make sense to me. I am thankful for the gift of faith and for gift of God’s love.