Top 10 lessons of a young Catholic (part two)


  1. Don’t sit back

Firstly, don’t sit back! Some people can get caught thinking that God will do all the work, He will take care of it, leave it to Him it’s all in His hands. In many ways this is true, but I have come to realise that God needs our hands to do His work. Whether that is work for ourselves, or work for others.

If I don’t feel that I know enough about the faith then it is up to me to start some reading or undertake a course. If I am looking for that special someone, then it is up to me to get out and about and meet people. If I pass a homeless person on the street then it is up to me to offer assistance if I can.

The power of us working together with God will definitely move mountains. The power of us sitting at home watching Netflix won’t even move the dirt on our floor mats. So the next time there is a call at your parish for volunteers, put your hand up. The next time you hear of a sad situation, work out how you can help. The next time you feel there is a part of your life that you are not happy with, make a change. 

As Catholics we need to stand up and do the work that God needs done. In return he will reward us.

  1. Step Up

Once we have begun to do God’s work then we shouldn’t be afraid to step up and jump into leadership positions. While these roles can be challenging, there will be nothing you won’t be able to handle with God providing the support.

There are many people who stay in leadership in our Church for too long because there is nobody to take their position. There were many amazing ministries that no longer exist because there was nobody to step up and take on the leadership. Maybe there is a need in your parish or school or community for someone to start the ball rolling on an initiative. I have witnessed the growth of many ministries that remain strong due to people being willing to step up and take on a position of leadership. It might be your turn.

  1. Discern a vocation

As young people it is our responsibility to discern our vocation. In taking the time to discern our vocation we are finding that place where God wants us to be in life.

It is viewed in our Church that a vocation is finding our place within the states of single life, married life, consecrated life or ordained ministry. For some this will be a simple process. For others it will require much prayer and discernment, swaying back and forth.

Discernment will involve heartache and doubt, excitement and happiness, fear and disappointment, contentment and peace. All of this is the rollercoaster that is discernment.

At times our choice of vocation will not be God’s choice. Our hopes and dreams for a life well lived will not be where God wants or needs us most. It will possibly never be totally clear the vocation you are called to, but we rest assured that God will never abandon us in our choices.

If we remain close to God during our time of discernment, then the vocation that we eventually embrace will lead us to true joy. If, after much prayer and discernment, the standout vocation for you is a scary one, then trust in God. If God is calling you, then there is nothing to fear. Go for it!

  1. Prayer is the foundation to faith

A key aspect of the life of Jesus was that he was a man of prayer. In explaining this aspect of Jesus, I urged parents to encourage their children to pray and for the parents to pray with them because prayer is the foundation to faith.

I reminded them that there is no wrong way to pray and that prayer is an option at any time of day or night. To pray is to open ourselves up to God and to make room for God to move within us.

In today’s world there is too much noise. This noise usually comes from our digital devices. We are always listening or watching or reading or scrolling. We are never encouraged to just sit and be.

For us as Catholics, that point where we just sit and be, are our moments of prayer. Prayer comes in different forms and for a vibrant prayer life we need to encounter them all.

From the prayers of the Church to community prayer, from silent prayer to liturgical celebrations, we are able to find ourselves in moments of prayer. It could be through music, artwork, nature or volunteer work that we find ourselves at prayer.

Our life of prayer is a journey where we are always discovering more about ourselves. This makes sense because as we pray we discover, and as we discover we learn more about who we are and feel the urge to be the people we are called to be.

  1. Christ is paramount

The last lesson is the most important of all. Christ is paramount! All these lessons I have learnt point to one person, Jesus Christ.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est on Christian love summarised being a Christian perfectly in the opening paragraph: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”

That person is Jesus Christ. As Catholics we come to know God through His Son, who was born to us as a baby and grew up as a man to provide us with a true example of how best to live our lives.

In any argument I have had with people about the Church being obsolete, I quickly refer them to the person of Jesus and ask if what He teaches is bad or incorrect. Very few can hold a strong argument that what Jesus taught about love and forgiveness and how we should act towards our fellow human beings should be ignored.

In being involved in our local Church, taking on positions of leadership, discerning a vocation and bringing everything back to prayer, we are following in the footsteps of Christ who undertook all of these steps during His life.

Christ provides a model for life and through prayer we are open to the inspiration that Christ will provide.  

All of the 10 lessons I have suggested find their base in the person of Jesus Christ; without Him they make no real sense at all.

  • This article was first published in Melbourne Catholic June 2017 edition.
  • Brendan Lindsay is a former youth ministry director who had three years studying for the priesthood. He is now studying a Masters of Teaching at Australian Catholic University. At 34, he is facing the reality that he is coming towards the end of his young Catholic years and into the next phase. It is a transition which is he is looking forward to. Here he looks back on the main lessons he has learned during his time as a young Catholic.