“Let no one reproach you on account of your youth. Be a model to the believers in the way you speak and act, in your love, your faith and purity of life.” 1 Tim 4:12
In 2000, three years after I finished my youth camp , during one of our chapter assemblies, I heard this powerful words of St. Paul to Timothy uttered by our chapter servant.
At that time these words were just inspirational for me. It was just a simple reminder to be a good example to my family and friends. But now as a youth minister I realize that the call to be a model to the believers is not only a feel good line to read but rather a powerful and constant call of God to His young people for all time.
Witness to the World
I believe that we in CFC YFL are call by God not just to be a model to the believers but more so as a witness to the world. I always stress this point to all of our servant leaders that God has place us in a special position to testify to the world. We are place in our homes, schools, colleges and parishes to witness to the world of God’s love. We are put in the world so that in all of our interactions with people they can experience Christ.
“What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end.” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reminds us that what the world need today are credible witnesses. If that is the call of God for us then we need to understand what is a witness? We need to learn how to be credible witnesses to the world.
Let us first start by defining what a witness is…
A witness is someone who can speak with full knowledge of the facts of what he or she has seen of heard. The title of a local news show in TV perfectly explains what a witness is in filipino – SAKSI. The news reporter is a true witness because he / she is reporting what he / she is witnessing at the moment.
Thus to be a witness of Christ is to be a person who has met and heard Him. Someone who has experience His presence, forgiveness and love. Someone who cant stop speaking about what he / she has experience. Let me explain to you how we can grow even more to be credible witnesses to the world by just living out the meaning of the word.
1. Someone who met and heard Him
We can only be credible witnesses if we have a daily encounter with God. Thus we need to really set a place and a time to meet and hear God.
In CFC YFL we do this by setting our personal prayer time. At this time we stop whatever it is that we are doing and focus all of our attention to Christ. We meet him everyday as we encounter Him through the scriptures and we hear Him as we spend time praying to Him
2. Someone who experience His presence, forgiveness and love
We can only be credible witnesses if we always experience His presence, forgiveness and love. We can only speak about Christ if we know Him.
In CFC YFL we do this by maintaining a personal relationship with Christ. We know that Christ is always with us and He is not just a concept or an idea rather a real person who is involved in our lives. We enrich this relationship by visiting the Blessed Sacrament and going to Mass . During our visits to the Blessed Sacraments we are affirm of God’s constant presence in our lives and when we go to mass and receive the Holy Communion we are assured of God’s presence living in us.
We can only speak about Christ if we have felt His love and mercy. In CFC YFL we do this by going to confession. When we confess our sins in the Sacrament of Reconcilliation we are assured of God’s love and forgiveness.
3. Someone who can’t stop speaking about the experience
We can only be credible witnesses if we can’t stop speaking about Christ. St. Francis of Assisi tells us that ” We are to speak about Christ everyday and if necessary use words.” Thus we need to always share Christ in every moment of our lives.
In CFC YFL we do this by bringing our family and friends to our youth camp. The youth camp is our primary tool for sharing Christ to people. But we know that we cant invite people to our camp not unless they can see Christ in the way we live our lives. We know that only by living a life that reflects Christ values that is inspired by the Gospel can we be able to share Christ to everyone.
Couple Coordinators as Witnesses to the Young
In 1975 Pope Paul VI made the powerful comment, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”
The call to be credible witnesses is not only for the young but more so to you our beloved couple coordinators. As couple coordinators the Lord has place you in the lives of the young to lead them closer to God and to their families. I believe that the only way for all coordinators to live this call is to be good witnesses. This is not easy yet this is a call we all willingly embrace for God. This entails a lot of sacrifices and yet we know that the joy of leading one youth closer to God is worth all of our sacrifices.
In the end to be a credible witness is all about living our lives the way Jesus lived His lives.
Let our desire to be witnesses be sustain by our households and assembly.
Let our passion to be witnesses be nourish by Eucharist
Let our commitment to be witnesses be anchored only by our love for Christ.
May God be Praised!