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Greatness? Now? Really?

Greatness? Now? Really?

By:  Erin Madden August 21, 2021
#AmazingNation, #Faith, #hardasnails, #Winning, #youreamazing

“The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Nothing about the world has been comfortable over the past year and a half, that’s for sure. Masks, social distancing, online learning and working from home are all fundamentally un-comfortable. It’s a good thing we weren’t made for comfort, we were made for greatness. This is a call that all of us must heed, especially our teenagers and young adults.


Thriving in Comfort?

The world thinks that this is your time to shine. Generation Z has grown up in the digital age for so long that you all should be more prepared for the digital shift brought on by the pandemic than any other generation that came before you. By all accounts, kids and teens alike should be thriving in this upside-down, mostly-digital world - “should” being the key word. This is your comfort zone, after all. But you aren’t thriving. You are tired. You are struggling and you are hurting. Your computer/tablet/phone screen has become your classroom, your church and your main source of community, and it was never supposed to be that way. 

I want to tell you that I’m sorry. I see that your digital burnout is real and I see that you are hurting, and there is nothing that I want to do more than to help you. Unfortunately, I’m not with you in the classroom, digital or in-person, and I don’t hang out with you and your friends, so I’m of little help when it comes to those two things. But I do know a few things when it comes to youth and the Church. You desire an encounter to come face-to-face with the person of Jesus Christ. You want to know God, to see Him and to hear Him speak to you. Those kinds of encounters, the ones you are seeking out, just don’t happen over screens. So you do one of two things: you seek Him out in new and different ways or you fall away.


Looking Past the Glass
The opportunities for encounter are still there, past the screen of your tablet or phone. God is still present to us in the midst of chaos and darkness and social isolation. Church doors are (mostly) open. Masses are (mostly) being celebrated. I urge you to go to Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, whether at Mass or just by being present and sitting quietly in front of the tabernacle. Those moments will fill your hearts with the peace and comfort you are so lacking in this time. Maybe you aren’t comfortable returning to your church building yet. That’s okay, you can still seek Jesus out in other ways. Go to Him in the silence, in the tabernacle of your heart, and offer Him all of your tiredness and burnout and hurt in prayer. Dust off your Bible and turn to the words of Scripture. Every time we open our hearts to God in these ways, we come to an encounter with the One who knows our hearts and loves us deeply.

God is bigger than this pandemic. God is greater than quarantine and distance learning and online church. If we are called to greatness, shouldn’t we turn to the one who is great Himself? Let me promise you one thing. There is greatness within you, even and especially when you might not feel it. Your greatness comes in many ways, shapes and forms - in the way you are making the most of your education when, day-by-day, you’re not sure if your classroom is in-person or digital; in the way you keep finding new and creative ways to stay connected with your community; and, most especially, in the way you long to encounter Jesus. Saints are being made during this time. Yes, you are becoming a saint, a great saint. Embrace this call to greatness and let the world see who you really are.

Photo Credits:
"Laying on the couch" by slewelling is licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Hand.Bible.RonBrown.WDC.10apr96" by Elvert Barnes is licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Confused" by CollegeDegrees360 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

About the Author Erin Madden

Erin is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville and now serves the Catholic Church as a full-time youth minister in the Diocese of Cleveland. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, writing blogs and feature stories and watching college sports.


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