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Lent:
Time to Review Your Life

by Michael J. Daley

(A summary of this month's Youth Update)

Mother Teresa called herself a "pencil in the hands of God." During Lent, this Youth Update invites you to look at what God has "written" thus far with, through and in you.

Lent is an especially appropriate time in which to take the journey back in time to trace your life story, your autobiography. An excellent guide for such a journey is the person upon whom the season of Lent centers: Jesus. The parts of Jesus' journey parallel your own. In this edition of Youth Update, author Michael J. Daley guides you through the life of Jesus, inviting comparison to your own.

1. Your background. You'll need to look at your background: where you grew up, your parents and friends, what you did when you were younger. Look at these parts in the life of Jesus and reflect on what is similar between your two journeys.

How have your surroundings shaped you? What's happening right now? Where is there division in the world and in your life?

2. Your public life. You are part of a neighborhood, a parish, a nation and a world. In this context, you have had experiences of grace. You have been called to consider the purpose of your life. You have had to wrestle with those who have blocked your achievement of your goals, your purpose.

Who has helped you on your journey of faith? As baptism was for Jesus, what has been a "God experience" in your life?

3. Your mission. Jesus' mission was to establish the Reign or Kingdom of God. He knew that he needed to gather a community of helpers. How do you see yourself responding to Jesus—as an admirer or as a follower? Are you doing your best? How have you put your faith into action? In what ways have you resisted the call of Jesus to follow him?

Young people from St. Mary Parish in Alexandria, Kentucky, read the entire text of this Youth Update and posed these questions.

 

Q.

I'm a little afraid of this journey with Jesus. I know my path isn't even close to that of Jesus. Won't this practice discourage me even more?

A.

Hope not! You should already be encouraged, because you've encountered two important themes of your life journey: gift and responsibility. When Jesus says, "Come, follow me," it is always in a spirit of friendship, love and growth. He never uses intimidation and fear. Perhaps you hesitate because of the responsibility required by this gift. Saying yes to the journey with Jesus calls for actions that aren't easy. But you aren't asked to act alone. Jesus will always send you the help you need to continue walking with him.

Q.

Is it really possible that my life can be like that of Jesus? This seems like a big stretch to me.

A.

But life is about stretching! Lent is a time when we see the human side of Jesus. He was truly tested—and tempted to turn away from the will of God—yet he remained faithful. His example can help you in this "stretch" of Lent. You are not to admire Jesus from afar; you are to follow him. He did human things well, and you can act as Jesus did in your own life. How? Ask him! Believe me, you will find answers.

Q.

Aren't I a bit young to be looking back already?

A.

Are you too young to think about your future? This looking back is to get you ready for that future. You've changed physically, socially and spiritually in the last year or two. Your relationship with Jesus has changed as well. You need to look at that—often. This can be an affirming look, but you might be called to make changes in your attitudes and behavior. If you wait your whole life to look back, you won't have time to change ways in which you are not following Jesus' example.

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