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Youth Ministry Corner

Fifteen Things I'd Tell My Teenage Self

November 12, 2021
By Jessica Lemoine

Hey y’all!

I’m sorry I didn’t post last week - I was home sick, and it slipped my mind. 

This week, I want to talk about adult life. Whether you’re excited about it or scared of it, one day, you’ll be an adult. “Adulting” brings with it a whole host of joys and sufferings, both expected and unexpected ones. It brings responsibilities and decisions, and it brings freedoms and opportunities. It’s overwhelming and exhausting, but it’s also an exciting adventure. 

I wish someone had told me this. I wish I hadn’t spent my teenage years resenting them and dreaming of adulthood. I wish I had instead been preparing - laying the groundwork to be the most successful adult I could be. I want to help you avoid some of my mistakes. So without further ado, here are 15 things I’d tell my teenage self:

  1. Pray. Pray every single day. For at least 30 minutes. No matter what.
  2. It’s not actually cool to disrespect your parents and teachers. They care about your well-being, and they’re trying their best.
  3. Adults don’t actually have it all figured out, especially those in their 20s.
  4. Wait to date. Seriously.
  5. Start saving money and budgeting now. 
  6. Put the phone down. Those texts can wait.
  7. Stay away from social media for as long as possible.
  8. Set boundaries, and stick to them.
  9. You’re never going to be perfect; mistakes are part of life and part of learning.
  10. Stop letting others determine your worth. You were made in the image and likeness of God - He determines your worth.
  11. Call your family members and friends who you don’t get to see often. It’ll be good for both of you.
  12. God is the only constant. Things change. Try to accept that.
  13. It’s okay to ask for help.
  14. Maintain healthy habits. If you think it’s hard now, just wait 5-10 years.
  15. Expect the unexpected.

I know some of these things are clichés, but they are true nonetheless. Maybe none of this will be helpful to you, and that’s okay. I would encourage you to ask the adults in your life this question: “what would you tell your teenage self?” Take note of their answers. Something someone says will probably be able to help you. 

I don’t want you to dread adulthood, but I don’t want you to resent adolescence either. Be realistic, be grateful, and be prepared. No part of your life is going to be perfect, but it’s all good, and it’s all a gift. What you do with that gift is up to you, but I encourage you to take care of it.

That’s all for now. Know of my prayers for you and your families, and please keep me and this ministry in your prayers.

Peace of Christ,

Miss Jessica

A.M.D.G.

What is Love? (Baby, don't hurt me)

October 29, 2021
By Jessica Lemoine

Hey y’all!

First of all, I really hope you get the reference in the title of this post. If not, I'm getting too old...

In the Greek language, there are many words for “love”. There’s eros for romantic love, philia for deep friendship, storge for familial love, and agape for empathetic, selfless love. What kind of love is God? What kind of love does He call us to? If you said agape, you’re correct.

St. Thomas Aquinas said that to love is to will the good of another. Everyone has the same ultimate good - eternity with God in heaven. So if we truly love somebody, we both desire their salvation and work to help them achieve it. What does this mean? It means putting the needs of others before our own. It means having tough conversations when our loved ones are engaging in sinful behaviors. It means doing what’s actually best for someone instead of what will just make them happy in the moment. 

The term “God is love” has been used to justify all types of sin, even though it’s straight out of the Bible (1 John 4:8). This is ironic because true love detests and destroys sin. If we love others the way God loves us and the way He calls us to love, we won’t do anything or want anything that leads them to sin. 

So why is the love of God agape? This is the case because of the cross. The love of God shown on the cross is selfless, empathetic, sacrificial love. It’s a love that goes beyond what is easy and convenient. It’s a love that doesn’t rely on emotions. It’s a love that is true and steadfast and good. We are called to this kind of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to desire and work towards the salvation of others in all we do and say. Agape is the love that our Lord talks about in Mark 12:28-34 when He gives the greatest commandment. All of the other commandments, all of the Beatitudes, and all of the teachings of the Church stem from agape for God and others. 

I encourage you to reflect on all of your relationships, including your relationship with God. Is agape present? If not, how can you incorporate it into these relationships? Is there something you need to do or stop doing? Is there something you need to say or stop saying? Is there an apology you need to make or a person you need to forgive? Remember, love is not based on emotions - it’s an action word. When we truly love someone, we choose to desire and work towards their good again and again, even when it’s difficult.  

That’s all for now. Know of my prayers for you and your families, and please keep me and this ministry in your prayers.

Peace of Christ,

Miss Jessica

A.M.D.G.

Pride of a Father

October 22, 2021
By Jessica Lemoine

Hey y’all!

I heard the song “Pride of a Father” by Hillsong Young & Free for the first time back in August, and it hit me like a 2x4. I encourage you to listen to it. I’ll post the lyrics below too:

Verse 1:

I could run a thousand miles to win the race of life But what's the value without You? I could write a thousand psalms to captivate Your heart But more than offerings Lord, You seek the depths of me

Chorus:

When You see me, You see my heart Through the eyes of Your mercy In the light of Your Son You love me with open arms And the pride of a Father

Verse 2:

I was once a prodigal, burdened by my shame Till You came running to remind me Your love is unconditional And in Your eyes I'm worthy of forgiveness What was lost is now redeemed

Chorus:

When You see me, You see my heart Through the eyes of Your mercy In the light of Your Son You love me with open arms And the pride of a Father

Bridge:

Who am I that You love me? Who am I that You saved my soul? Who am I without You, Lord? Who am I to be worthy? Who am I that You're mindful of me? Who am I that You called me yours?

Chorus:

When You see me, You see my heart Through the eyes of Your mercy In the light of Your Son You love me with open arms And the pride of a Father

I don’t really know how I can follow that, so I’m not going to try. This week, I want you to reflect on these lyrics. Know that God, your Father, your Abba, delights in you. No matter what you’ve done, He loves you. Live in that love.

That’s all for now. Know of my prayers for you and your families, and please keep me and this ministry in your prayers.

Peace of Christ,

Miss Jessica

A.M.D.G.

What is the State of Your Room?

October 15, 2021
By Jessica Lemoine

Hey y’all!

What is the state of your room? I don’t actually need to know — that would be kind of invasive — but just think about your answer. Is it clean? Is it dirty? Does it appear neat but hasn’t been vacuumed in ages? Do you have piles in your closet or random messes stuffed under your bed? What is the state of your room?

The reason this is important is that the state of your room often reflects the state of your soul. It’s true that our outward behaviors, appearance, and environment can both reflect and affect what’s going on inside us. For example, someone who’s depressed might not shower for several days. The uncleanliness of their body reflects the inner turmoil of their mind. On the other hand, that person’s therapist or loved one might suggest that they take a shower, and it might help them feel better. The feeling of being clean on the outside might help the person feel better on the inside.

This concept applies to our spiritual health, too. The things we do and say, the way we present ourselves, and how we keep our environment can reflect the state of our soul. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but if there’s a mess around us, it can mean there’s a mess inside us. 

What does this mean? Does it mean that if my room’s a mess, I’m going to Hell? Absolutely not. It just means that our behaviors, appearance, and environment can be a signal, both to ourselves and those around us, of how we’re doing on the inside. We should pay attention to these signals, and if we notice something that troubles us, we should do something about it. If a friend who’s usually a clean-freak is suddenly super messy, check in on them. If you’re usually very respectful, and you start talking back to your parents, ask yourself why. 

Also, if you want to clean up on the inside, I encourage you to try cleaning up on the outside. The adage “fake it ‘til you make it” does have some merit. Maybe you don’t feel happy, healthy, and holy right now. If you act like you are these things, eventually they will become your reality. So put on a nice outfit, clean your room, and try to use positive language. Maybe it won’t do anything for you, but you won’t know until you try. 

I encourage you to reflect on the state of your room and how it relates to the state of your soul. Is there a mess that needs cleaning? Is there a wound that needs healing? If there is, run to Jesus in prayer and the Sacrament of Confession. He’ll fix you up.

That’s all for now. Know of my prayers for you and your families, and please keep me and this ministry in your prayers.

Peace of Christ,

Miss Jessica

A.M.D.G.

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