Station Four: His mother’s love

James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons

James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus meets His mother

BY CLARE BEKKERS
Youth Speak News

Mary, you watched Jesus suffer with more agony than anyone else. Even though it pained you to stand back and observe your Son as He was tortured and ridiculed, you knew it was God’s will. Your only Son was covered in blood, sweat and was burdened by the weight of the cross, yet you still found the strength to believe that God had a plan for you. Continue reading

Station Three: a weak and frail Jesus

James Tissot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus falls for the first time

BY ERIN JAMIESON
Youth Speak News

In this station we encounter a weak and frail Jesus, who has crumbled under the combined weight of His cross and His fate. In this moment, as Jesus falls for the first of many times, we begin to see the great sacrifice of God the Son.

As the crowd jeers, as the guards abuse and prod, and as He looks forward to the long road ahead, Jesus manages to pick Himself up and continue on. He knows it is likely that He will fall again. He knows that, in reaching the end, He will die. And yet He rises and in doing so, He represents the great virtues of courage in the face of challenge and faith in God’s plan. Continue reading

Station Two: No greater love than this

(Wikimedia Commons)

Jesus takes up His cross

BY JEAN KO DIN
Youth Speak News

The wood of the cross is heavy. In this station, Jesus is often depicted embracing the cross and therefore, embracing our sin. This station reminds me how rare this kind of love is. How many people in my life can I name that would embrace my shortcomings the way that Jesus embraced the world? Continue reading

Station One: On faith and responsibility

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

(Wikimedia Commons)

Jesus is condemned to death

BY JEAN KO DIN
Youth Speak News

This is the hour when the battle for our souls begin. Pontius Pilate is cast as a main character in this station. He is the one who is often blamed for sealing Jesus’ fate. But, in him, I see all the times I’ve washed my hands of responsibility for a fellow man.

I think about the time I passed by a homeless man begging for food and I had an orange in my bag that I didn’t eat for lunch that day. I think about the time I chose not to speak up in defence of a friend because it was none of my business and I really shouldn’t get involved.  Continue reading

Lenten Contemplations: a reflection on the Stations of the Cross

Just last week, Pope Francis gave us a lesson in contemplative prayer. He encouraged us to spend 15 minutes each day to read the Gospel, imagine the scene and talk to Jesus. He said that by doing this, we keep our sights on God and not on negative distractions from our neighbours. By keeping the Gospel close to our hearts, we will grow in hope and improve our relationship with Jesus. On Ash Wednesday (Feb. 18), Youth Speak News will be launching a Lenten blog series. As we countdown to Easter, this year’s YSN team will contemplate on the significance of each station of the cross every Wednesday and Friday. We invite you to join us as our youth writers reflect on what this Lenten season means to their faith. Continue reading

God is service

Photo courtesy of Steubenville conferences

Photo courtesy of Steubenville conferences

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13: 35

By Emma Kendrick, Age 17

Mike Gormley, who is affectionately known as ‘Gomer,’ shared with youth and adults at the Steubenville Toronto 2014 conference that the foundation of discipleship is authentic love that is active and alive. Gormley highlighted the importance of an intimate relationship with God that begins with prayer.  Connecting with a God who is always present and welcoming His grace is the foundation of our faith. Gormley was raised by devout Catholic parents and while he attended daily mass, prayed the rosary every day and attended adoration, he did not know how to speak with God. In his senior year of high school he felt a growing desire to pray—to pray with his whole heart. His desire to grow closer to God reveled that service—engaging and being present in the lives of his brothers and sisters in need—was in fact an act of praying with his whole heart.

Jesus’ encounters with the poor, unclean and marginalized remind us that we must be a people of love, and demonstrate that love everyday. As Gormley explained, Jesus wants for us to “live below” money, power and wealth. In doing so we will have the energy and spirit to invest in living simply and growing in relationship with others. Through a commitment to prayer and welcoming God’s grace, our love for God will trump any worldly concern for wealth, power or “stuff.” The choice to build up God’s Kingdom over our own kingdom, Gormley suggests, is a conscious choice that we make each day.  Aligning our beliefs and actions with God’s is honouring and building His Kingdom rather than building a life rooted in material and worldly goods.

Through our interactions with God’s creation around us we are presented with a challenge to integrate our beliefs into our daily lives. Do we practice the Catholic social teachings through the purchases we make or are we supporting unethical treatments and practices of corporate business? Are we aware of the marginalized in our community and do we support them? Do we recognize that those who have wronged us are created in God’s image, just as we are?

Serving our brothers and sisters is at the core of our being as loving members of a greater family. Our loving relationship with God gives us the grace and love that we need to grow with others and live as disciples of Christ.