When I was a young boy in Catechism class I was often told that children should be seen and not heard. I remember a particular incident in a Catechism class where I passed a joke and the nun pointed at me and told the class, ‘Look at him, everyone. At the moment he is the devil’. You can imagine as a little boy from that day on I was petrified to ever open my mouth in a Catechism class as I didn’t want to be the ‘devil’. Another common scenario was that if I were in a room with only adults and I wanted to express something, I would be hushed. A phrase that I often heard was; ’sssshhhh the adults are talking’.
Therefore you can imagine as a small Catholic boy I always kept my thoughts to myself, and thought that one’s relationship with Christ was strictly personal and should never be talked about in public.
This all changed when I got a bit older. I joined a prayer group, and the teachings were so different. I was told that we all need to talk about Jesus, that our story is unique and we need to share it. I had never told my friends that I was going to a prayer group. I was too shy. As I grew older and personally had a radical change in my life I could not but share my experience. Jesus became so real to me that I could not just ‘shut up’ about Him.
Today I truly understand the importance of speaking up. The great importance of sharing our experience, and the great importance of encouraging others to share their own experiences no matter how young they are, became of vital importance to evangelise. We all have a story, and we all have an experience, being either small or radical, that can impact this world.
There is a great impact on one’s life when someone your own age shares what is happening in his life. That is why I want to encourage anyone who is reading this to be part of this ‘fearless generation’ to share with others what God is doing in his/her life. Imagine if at school your friend encourages you in this way when you are going through a hard time. Imagine how touching it would be to you if you would happen to be sick and your friends would offer to pray over you.
Sometimes as young children we are hushed, or we are told ‘you are too young’. But in fact you are NOT too young. You can impact your generation today, you are not the future generation, but you are part of THIS generation now! Whenever I get discouraged or think that I am too young I read the words God spoke to Jeremiah; God says “Do not say, ‘I am too young. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you” (Jer 1,7) and if God spoke those words to Jeremiah, He also speaks them to you. We are all called to be Christ in this world, we are told to live “On Earth, as it is in Heaven”.
It is beautiful to understand this when we are young, to realise our potential in Christ Jesus. God does not look at our age or at our ability, but He looks at our heart. He looks at our effort. His hope is in us. Always keep in mind what 1 Timothy 4, 12 says; “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
We are all called to SPEAK OUT no matter our age. Be bold and share your experience of Christ with someone today.