Recently I had to run an errand at Tysons Corner Center on a busy Sunday afternoon. I needed to grab lunch and shortly after sitting down, found myself across from two young college students. They seemed a bit shy but friendly, and I could sense the Lord prompting me to start a conversation. This was confirmed almost immediately as one of them bowed their head to say grace and made the Sign of the Cross. “Hi, I’m Tiffany,” I said with a smile, and the conversation evolved naturally from there.
We talked about where they go to school, they asked what I do for a living, and we talked about where we are from. Having learned they both grew up in Vietnam, I asked them what the one thing they found the most different when they came to the United States. Until this point, the conversation had mostly gone back and forth between myself and one of the girls. Now the other girl answered so quickly and definitely, I was almost startled. “It’s so lonely.” There was a long silence and three pairs of eyes looked down as we digested the honesty and pain in her statement and in our own memories. The words of St. Teresa of Calcutta flashed through my mind “America suffers most from the poverty of loneliness.” “Back in my home country,” she continued, “everyone opens their doors in the morning and you see your neighbors.”
“The only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love.”
–St. Teresa of Calcutta
This is one of the reasons it seems so providential that we have been called not just to form Women Youth Apostles, but have a vision to minister to young people in a way that helps them become community for each other. Please pray that every one of our ministries will continue to help young people see that they are not alone, but rather are known, loved, and have great reason to be filled with hope in God’s promises.
Sincerely in Christ,
Directress, Women Youth Apostles
In 1997, I was privileged to make a pilgrimage to Paris for World Youth Day, my first time The group that I accompanied was the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and Youth 2000, two communities that were joined only because of the Eucharist and leading youth to Christ. What an awesome experience to be with them and celebrate with the Holy Father in France. After World Youth Day was over we had the opportunity to travel to Lisieux and to the site of St. Theresa’s birth, death and communal life in the Carmelites. What a joy to spend time in prayer where she prayed and lived. Her life was so short but so eventful and prayerful. She literally craved community! She begged the Pope to let her enter community life because she was able to listen to what God had in store for her. Even though she only lived a short 23 years, her love of community and the sacraments were such that it led her to be the great Saint and Doctor she is now.
I read “The Story of a Soul” many years ago and was touched by her discussion of community life and what it was like to be with those she loved and struggled to love. We all know that there are people in our lives that we love more than others and there are those that we struggle to love. After all, God said we had to “love one another” not “like one another” right? She struggled to be in community it appeared every second of every day, yet she stayed there because she knew it was what God wanted for her. Her struggles and joys were such that it led others in her community to be closer to God and even Saints! Isn’t that what we are called to do? Shouldn’t we be doing that in Community as well?
Community life is difficult but the Sacraments can overcome any difficulty. The more we celebrate our community life with one another and join together in the sacraments, the closer we grow to God and what He wants for our Community. It brigs us closer to each other and helps us to love one another even more. As it is said in “Les Miserables”, “to love another person is to see the face of God”.