Each week I look forward to the discussions with my fifth grade Religious Ed students. It is inspiring to be surrounded by youth that seek to grow and understand our faith. I find it exciting when I ask them to share their thoughts or interpretations of something we are learning and they get it, they really get it. They apply the day’s teachings to their lives and the experiences they encounter as young people in today’s world. This is exactly what teaching the Gospel is ALL ABOUT!
This past week we were discussing God’s Grace and how when we encounter difficulties, we should ask for guidance and grace to deal with our problems. I asked them to give me examples of a problem they might encounter and then a way that God’s grace could help them through the problem. I was impressed by their stories and examples. It made me think how as adults we often forget to admit when we need help. We tend to look at a problem and focus on the problem, not on solutions, not on other blessings. We see the smallest obstacle as a major setback.
One example that they gave was if you were upset because your team lost the championship game. Their way of using God’s grace to help with this was to congratulate their teammates for making it to the Championship Game in the first place! What a shining example of how quickly we forget how blessed we are. In those moments immediately following a loss, we often focus on the loss and not what we did right or how we could improve. We lose sight of the thing that really matters, how we played the game, what we did to train and how we treated our teammates and fellow competitors.
Another young man said if you see someone picking on someone else, ask God to give you the grace to talk them about it and point out that they are hurting another person. Then another boy mentioned that sometimes when the bully is someone close to you it is hard to confront them. And yet another student spoke up and said that it actually takes a very good friend to have the courage to tell another friend or loved one when they are making bad choices or headed down a dangerous path. He said that if you really love your friend you should want them to make good choices and you should ask for God’s grace to help guide them.
So often we lack the courage to confront someone that may be involved in harmful or reckless activities. It is important to remember that when we see someone hurting themselves or another person and we don’t speak up or intervene, it is the same as condoning their actions.
Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted. Galatians 6:1
I have found through my years of teaching Religious Ed that the most important lessons in faith are the lessons in how we apply them to our daily lives. I always stress to my students as well as to my own children that the smallest choices we make in our daily lives are the choices that effect our hearts and souls the most. If we are not willing to observe our faith in small matters, how can we expect to observe our faith in large matters?!?
We can never hide our soul from God. He created us, he knows our weaknesses, he knows our flaws. What he wants more than anything is for us to ask for His grace to help us overcome the demons in our lives. He knows we are merely humans, flawed and imperfect. The only way to salvation is through His Grace.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; in all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Whatever it may be that is keeping you from your relationship with God, pray for His grace to help you through it. Each of us has areas of our lives that we need help with, ask God for His grace today. It isn’t a sign of weakness to admit to your sins, but a sign of obedience to God. Stop and pray whenever you feel tempted or weak and you will soon find that God has graced you with strength to overcome.