Photo Courtesy of Oscar Rethwill
Keeping the faith in high school can be extremel difficult, no matter what school setting you may be in. For some, it might be fortunately easier to openly pray than for others to do so. But, in a Catholic high school, how many people on a daily basis take for granted their ability to pray whenever they wish to do so.
Maybe it deals with peer pressure of thinking prayer is uncool, but have you ever thought about Jesus being by himself in the chapel and seeing not even one student acknowledge his presence?
Being able to keep your faith in high school may be incredibly difficult. You can be discouraged by peers, tempted by immorality around you, or not excited about the faith anymore.
There are ways to keep your faith strong and to improve it everyday during your high school years.
Hopefully you have had or now have a desire to keep and improve your faith at a Catholic high school since you’re reading this article.
The first thing that comes to my mind is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There isn’t really anything that should be as central as the Mass should be in your life. At mass, we get to receive the Eucharist, one of the most amazing things we can ever partake in. If you are at a high school that offers mass once a week, or daily, I hope you do not take that opportunity for granted. There are many people that are unable to attend a mass, so while we still can, why don’t we? When we receive the true Body and Blood of Jesus, are we really mindful of what happens during the mass? Sometimes an important question is, do we even know if we’re in a state of grace? Especially during this beginning of the Year of Mercy, let’s remember to partake in the sacraments!
The sacrament of reconciliation is something that is often disregarded, but with it comes many graces. When you go to confession, be honest and make a wonderful confession. Don’t just go abruptly because you have to, it’s necessary to take time and do an examination of the conscience beforehand.
Sacred Scripture is undoubtedly important in our Catholic faith because it embodies the way a true Catholic should live. Spend some time, maybe just twenty minutes everyday to truly study the word of God. There are numerous Catholic resources online and offline to help you, but build up a strong habit of taking time to read scripture. Other religious books can be of great help as well.
You can begin by reading a challenging book like Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas or the Confessions of St. Augustine, or you can start by simply reading the lives of the saints. There’s nothing more important than being an informed human being, but being an informed Catholic is even better. Know the teachings of the Catholic Church!
I am not saying you need to become a theology major or a brilliant apologist, but be someone who can defend the faith vehemently. Today’s society needs youth that are zealous about their faith, especially those who appreciate the beauty of our Church’s history and tradition.
In a society where Christianity, especially Catholicism, is so misunderstood and disliked, be informed and demonstrate to people what Catholicism is actually about. Among those things listed, prayer is also very important.
Prayer embodies someone’s entire spiritual life. You can go to mass every Sunday and participate in sacraments, but without prayer, your faith will slowly weaken. There are numerous ways to pray, so you don’t necessarily have to stick to one all the time, although there are some great forms of prayer like the rosary which is good all the time. In times of disasters, we usually hear of the need for prayer, and although it can become a fleeting word from our mouth or some mere thought to try and convince God of something, there is more to it.
Prayer is one of the ways we can connect with God. We can tell him how our day is or what we’d like to have, but many forget that prayer is also taking time to listen. It’s important that we listen during prayer in order to hear God’s voice.
When we listen, we may discover things we’ve never been able to hear before, it might even be what our vocation is!
Being able to keep the faith in high school isn’t just limited to the things I mentioned before, there’s an abundance of ways!
Simply refusing an act of vice is a step in having firm faith. Obviously, faith is something that cannot be done overnight, it takes consistency. Fr. Mike Schmitz talked about consistency always triumphing over intensity, and that rings true in the habits and virtues that we build during our high school years.
Saying no repeatedly to vices such as drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. can help strengthen our fortitude and faith. In conclusion, some possible first steps of keeping a solid faith in high school is through the Eucharist, prayer, knowledge on the Catholic faith, and other sacraments. But, there’s an unlimited amount of other ways, too; adoration, Liturgy of the Hours, etc. So…what is it going to be?
Are you going to take steps in keeping your faith strong in high school and continue building a powerful foundation of your faith?
Or are you going to let vices knock you down and take you slowly away from the immense love and mercy of God.
Let us be the ones that will not stand for injustice, innuendos, and lukewarm faith, but will be the strong faithful Catholics filled with the Holy Spirit that the world needs today.