July 30, 2010

Seeking the Face of the Lord

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is a model for young adults

Last week, in a reflection on the peer-to-peer opportunity of teaching the art of Christian living, I wrote about Italian Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati as a model of one who embraced the art of Christian living and empowered his peers to do the same.

He was named by Pope John Paul II as the saint for young adults of the third millennium. He exemplifies those characteristics of Catholic living for which our young people thirst.

Blessed Pier Giorgio is an ideal model for young adults in contemporary times. His life bears witness to our culture that one can stand tall in opposition to secular and materialistic values.

I mentioned last week that he lived a preferential option for the poor as he gave his lunch money and allowance to buy second-day bread to feed the homeless. He was an accomplished athlete, and used this gift to bring his peers into relationship with Christ and his Church. He was an avid believer in the power of the sacraments and, as a young man, began to attend daily Mass and frequent the sacrament of reconciliation.

Blessed Pier was a youthful evangelizer, not only in the witness of his life but also in word. As I noted last week, forthrightly he once stated to his peers at a young adult Church rally, “… I urge you with all the strength of my soul to approach the Eucharistic Table as often as possible. Feed on this Bread of the Angels, from which you will draw the strength to fight inner struggles, the struggles against passions and against all adversities, because Jesus Christ has promised those who feed themselves with the most Holy Eucharist eternal life and the necessary graces to obtain it.

“And when you become totally consumed by this Eucharistic Fire, then you will be able to thank with greater awareness the Lord God who has called you to be part of his flock and you will enjoy that peace which those who are happy according to the world have never tasted. Because true happiness, young people, does not consist in the pleasures of the world and in earthly things, but in peace of conscience which we can have only if we are pure in heart and in mind” (cf. A Man of the Beatitudes by Luciana Frassati).

Our young adults desire and seek this true happiness. They are gifted, generous, and desire to serve the Lord and his people. Many are natural leaders and desire to be true disciples.

As Church, it is our opportunity and our responsibility to raise up capable and talented young adults to be leaders and disciples through peer-to-peer relationships. I know that we can do that. How often I have been inspired by the good witness of young adults as they seek to “lay down their lives” for others (Jn 15:13).

In conclusion, I invite all young adults to seek true happiness in Jesus Christ and his Church. I invite all people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to embrace our young adult brothers and sisters, and confidently and joyfully bring them to Christ and his Church.

“All of the Church’s energy must be directed to the New Evangelization,” proclaimed Pope John Paul. There is no soil more fertile for sowing the seeds of evangelization than the campuses of American universities and within our young adult communities.

As archbishop, I have been and continue to be in awe and wonder at the hunger for truth and virtuous living in the lives of our college students and young adults of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. They need our ­encouragement and support.

Now is the time to re-claim, re-invigorate and re-establish our commitment to our young adults, who are starving for the nourishment of the sacraments, seeking the understanding of the Catholic Tradition, and searching for the supernatural love and presence of Jesus Christ in a confusing and misleading secularized culture.

They deserve, indeed have the right, to receive the opportunities offered by the gift of our Catholic faith and tradition. These thousands of young people are not only the Church of the future; they are the Church of today!

This is mission territory, and the harvest is great. With Mary as our patroness and model, let us set out to meet our young adults and invite them to truth through Christ and his Church. No soul should ever be lost; we must encourage one another today, while it is still today (cf Heb 3:12-13).

Let us pray to the Master of the harvest to send forth workers for his bountiful, young adult harvest (Mt 9:38), and help us make disciples of all nations and peoples (cf. Mt 28:19).

I extend this invitation with a Father’s pastoral love. †

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