Dear Young Friends
How wonderful that we are able to meet in this virtual space in order to share the word of God. The internet and social networks make it possible for us to stay connected to one another, to share in each others’ lives, thoughts and feelings. Those who are fortunate enough to have access spend a lot of their time surfing the net and therefore we as Christians should utilize this opportunity to spread the Good News of salvation. This is the reason why three successive Popes have encouraged Christians to use the social communication networks and the internet for the common good and the proclamation of the Gospel. However it does not end there.
God also has an “interconnected network”. In fact, all of creation is a network of inter-dependable relationships. God himself can be described as an interconnected network of Persons. The Church is Gods way of staying visibly connected to us through word and sacrament and also his way of connecting us to one another through his Spirit dwelling in us and making of us the Body of Christ. The Church is that sacred space where people who would otherwise have no or very little contact with each other, can experience real community, friendship, forgiveness and healing. For this reason we sometimes have to escape from the virtual world and engage ourselves in the present physical or “real” world. We need to spend time “logging in “to God through prayer and sacramental encounter and to do what the word asks of us. Young people are powerful- we have the most time at hand and the most energy- to do good deeds.
However, from our experience of modern technology and the internet, we realize that no system is perfect. Sometimes our computers crash for unknown reasons or it contract viruses. Our mobiles freeze from time to time, hackers gain access to our accounts and can make life difficult for us. In a similar way (and I do not presume to exaggerate the similarity) the “network of faith” the Church fails to serve all our needs. This is due to the fact that we are the Church and we are all imperfect, unseeing, un-cooperating, unbelieving, unloving at times. This is when we fail to connect, to tap into the loving presence of God who has created this Divine –Human community for our wellbeing and eternal salvation (= the fullness of life).
What further complicates the matter is that we as young people have much more of a technological vocabulary and understanding than we have for instance a spiritual or theological understanding. Since all things are connected in the bigger scheme of things, we need to know and to some measure understand the “science of faith”. In this regard the YOUCAT can be of great help to us. In fresh and contemporary language it speaks the ancient words of faith to us, carrying eternal truths deep into our hearts. This is a great gift of the Church to her young, helping them to become, and remain connected to the Ultimate Source of life and the truths that God has transmitted to the community of believers.
Today, we celebrate the feast of St John Bosco, educator of the young. He believed that Christ’s love and our faith in that love should pervade everything we do- work, study, and play. When we allow this to happen, then and only then, are we fully connected and fully alive!