Friday, May 9, 2014

Finding New Meaning

Youth in Korea are faced with many questions that an older generation did  not have. Jobs are not easy to come by; competition is fierce; the families are stressed, and living is not easy. The diocesan bulletin  recounts the story of a young man who was placed in a home for rehabilitation by the court. A Salesian priest recounts the problems he faced and the results of his stay at the home.

He was a good-looking young man with an attractive personality. He was well-liked by all who  knew him. His family  did not give him the love he needed, which was the cause of his trouble; he ran away from home, associating with his friends. The love he received was compensation for what he didn't have in the home, but he was all mixed up. He was looking for what he didn't have. This distorted kind of love that he received did not prevent him from getting into trouble, ending up coming to the home of the Salesians.

While at the home he was shown love by the religious brothers and little my little he began to feel comfortable and adapted well to the life at the home. He realized that he was given another chance and took advantage of the opportunities at the home. One day he went to the brother in charge of the home and asked if he could be baptized. He wanted to start living a new life he said, and began studying. Since he was only going to be at the home for 6 months and then be released, he did promise to do all that would be necessary before baptism. After release he would return for the lessons and the retreat that was required. And with great joy received baptism.

The young man enjoyed riding his motorcycle, and  he promised to blow his horn three times consecutively any time he passed the home; which he did as a greeting to the brother who believed and trusted him. The brother responded in prayer for the young man. For all those who knew him this was a great  joy.

When educating the young, and even more so when they are on a journey of faith, there is a need for them to discontinue one  way of life and to make a leap to another. One needs to move from the person he was yesterday to the new meaning and values that he has  today. Changing is what is meant by the word repenting. The development that is taking place is a change from the way one lived to another way of living. It is opening oneself to a new horizon of meaning and values.

The story of the rich young man in Matthew 19:21 is an example where the young man was not able to make the change and the leap to another way of life.

It is good to remember, says the priest, that the time of youth is when they want to grow in character. They want to grow internally and spiritually and put aside the various ways in which they feel oppressed.  What will help them make this leap are not long lectures or interference but acceptance, trust and love.

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