The extreme sacrifice she sealed with her life testifies that only those who have the courage to give of themselves totally to God and others are able to fulfill themselves." Gianna’s situation is perhaps pretty unusual; even so, she has important lessons to teach us. So here are three things to learn from St. Gianna Molla.
I thought about what a youth night or small group looks like in many parishes. I recalled conversations with youth ministers about how hard it was to recruit male core members and encourage male teenagers to participate in youth ministry. Most of our youth groups don't look like that picture of the 90s grunge scene in Seattle, but they could. We just need to adjust our thinking about how we reach young men.
Not only did I fail at caring for my body nutritionally, but I'd quickly get lost in my day and forget to prioritize prayer. You guys! I had an adoration chapel steps from my office door, so what made it so hard to make the time to be with Jesus? If I didn't hold myself to this perfect standard, I'd just let the ball drop more quickly. "Oh, I didn't make it to the chapel last week, so I guess this is my new expectation of myself."
I always think about how Jesus would react to middle schoolers. Every time they misbehave, I imagine that Jesus would say to them, "You have no idea all that I have done and will continue to do for you." And so I aim to love them just as Christ does.
This raises an important question: how does a teen like Kyle find a way to be committed to sports, academics, and his faith while so many other teens struggle? In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says, "Where your treasure is, there also your heart will be." If our Catholic faith and our relationship with God is something that is truly a treasure in our lives, we then place it at the center of our lives.
A legitimate concern for parents over social media use is the accessibility that companies and strangers might have to their teens. This is a valid concern, and we'd love to address a few privacy features available on each of the most popular social media platforms among teens.
I worked in church ministry for a long time, positioning my involvement in proximity to middle school youth ministry. (I have the evidence documented in retreat and camp T-shirts.) I was just close enough to develop a genuine appreciation for the youth ministers and core members but not close enough to commit to a year-round official association with Edge.
"Do you think we spend too much time on our phones?" we asked them. They agreed immediately. "We think so too. We're adults, with fully developed brains, pretty well-formed consciences, and years of practice controlling our impulses…but we still struggle not to let these devices consume our lives. It doesn't seem fair to ask you to try to regulate your technology use when we can't even do it well ourselves."
Saint Joseph was a virtuous guy, and that was key to the awesome life he lived. For us men, virtues can serve as a guideline. They’re sort of like a long string of lights that we can be confident will lead us home if we follow them. They are standards of moral excellence that we should try and imitate. They are characteristics we should try to adopt. However, it’s important to remember that our faith is about more than following the rules or doing the right thing. The virtues themselves are brought to their full potential and power when stemming from a love of God.