The idols in our life: If you aren’t praying to God, who are you praying to?
This is a really powerful video that demonstrates a lot of what is going on in the world today. It’s not that these teens’ hobbies and activities in the video are bad; actually they are very, very good! But when they are done without any greater purpose, they become a means to a end— that end being putting one’s hobby on the altar. Whether you realize it or not, we all pray. The question is to whom or to what are we praying to.
When watching this video it is easy to ask, well does God just want to take everything from me that I enjoy? That is not what the video is saying. In fact, the Father actually knows our hearts so intimately that He understands what will lead us to true fulfillment, true joy, and true love. From this intimate knowing—this infinite love— comes the commandments. A guide for our hearts to be perfectly fulfilled… “I am the Lord your God… You shall not have other gods beside me.” (Exodus 20:2-3).
The only way to experience true joy is to be free from things of this world. Being free does not necessarily mean living a life of extreme poverty, but sometimes the Lord asks us to give things up in order to draw us closer to His heart. But why does an all-loving God take away? St. Augustine’s example reminds us that what the world has to offer will never be enough for the God-sized hole in our hearts, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” God invites us to a life of greatness, not comfort, and asks us to move beyond measuring ourselves by our talents, our looks, and our intelligence. He asks us to look at Him rather than what is around us. Instead of putting our identity in what we can merit, the Father asks us to put our identity in His free and total love.
Only with God, does life have direction and purpose. This video reminds us that Christianity is not about putting everything that we place on the altar in the trash, it is about discovering the bigger purpose for these things in our lives. But how can we do this?
Building on a strong foundation… an encounter with God
When we encounter God, we encounter the One who actually intimately knows and understands the reasons that we have inclinations towards certain music, hobbies, sports, and art. This encounter of love completely transforms us and helps us to discover that we are called to swim against the tide and to “be” a certain type of person rather than “do” a certain type of activity. A true encounter with Christ opens our hearts to total fulfillment, security, and joy. Jesus tells us “I came that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). With Him, suddenly playing sports becomes so much more. Suddenly, listening to music is not about filling the silence. Suddenly, everything has meaning!
Living like we are in love
Christianity does not strip us of what we love, it actually does the exact opposite and stretches our hearts in ways we never imagined possible. When we begin to live like we are in love, everything naturally falls into place. We don’t have to give up all of our hobbies; they instead find their appropriate place in our lives in relation to God.
When we live like we are in love, what we do is not about us anymore; it’s about the One who knows our hearts intimately. Living like you are in love is doing everything for the greater glory of God… Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
Pope Francis continues to challenge all of us, but he directly addressed the youth during World Youth Day in Brazil. Do we have the courage to take up his invitation and pursue something more than what the world offers us?
“Today, it would be good for all of us to ask ourselves sincerely: in whom do we place our trust? In ourselves, in material things, or in Jesus? We all have the temptation often to put ourselves at the centre, to believe that we are the axis of the universe, to believe that we alone build our lives or to think that our life can only be happy if built on possessions, money, or power. But we all know that it is not so. Certainly, possessions, money and power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy, but they end up possessing us and making us always want to have more, never satisfied. And we end up “full”, but not nourished, and it is very sad to see young people “full”, but weak. Young people must be strong, nourished by the faith and not filled with other things! “Put on Christ” in your life, place your trust in him and you will never be disappointed! You see how faith accomplishes a revolution in us, one which we can call Copernican; it removes us from the centre and puts God at the centre; faith immerses us in his love and gives us security, strength, and hope. Seemingly, nothing has changed; yet, in the depths of our being, everything is different. With God, peace, consolation, gentleness, courage, serenity and joy, which are all fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22), find a home in our heart; then our very being is transformed; our way of thinking and acting is made new, it becomes Jesus’ own, God’s own, way of thinking and acting. Dear friends, faith is revolutionary and today I ask you: are you open to entering into this revolutionary wave of faith? Only by entering into this wave will your young lives make sense and so be fruitful!”
You can read the entirety of the Pope’s homily here.