What if I want to be different?

A few days ago, I decided to talk to a classmate about the Faith… I actually have no idea if this girl is even baptized, but by her words I understood that the best thing I should do was hide my Faith. Talking about God was strictly forbidden and was only going to cause problems. She made her rejection obvious.

Deep down, what was happening was that the subject made her uncomfortable. She wanted me to hide my Catholic identity and could not realize that it’s the source of my happiness and hope… it’s the reason behind who I am! She didn’t want her friends to know that I believe in God because that could mean that they probably wouldn’t accept me. What was my reaction? I said, “Praise God!” If someone is rejected for remaining faithful to the Lord, those are bonus points for Heaven.

Honestly, this girl’s reaction doesn’t surprise me. In many cases, the manipulation and indoctrination in our society, from schools to the media, have succeeded in reversing the most fundamental scale of human values. They make what is truly good appear evil—like maternity—and value things that are degrading in themselves (pleasure for the sake of pleasure), as if that were going to bring us true happiness and freedom.

In relation to this, and going back to the conversation with my classmate, she said that it was weird for someone our age to worry about his or her spiritual life and to live according to things as old as the Ten Commandments.

But what worries me most isn’t that a girl who doesn’t even know that she has a soul to save thinks this is weird. What’s really disturbing is that people who supposedly have had a personal encounter with the Lord and are practicing Christians are influenced by what the world thinks. Saint John, in the second chapter of his first letter, says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world is not of the Faither but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16). This worldly mentality leads these people to even affirm that the Church is not a place for youth.

Why do they want us to believe that God can’t dwell in our soul? Why do we have to act like puppets when we’ve received God’s grace, which is what makes us free? And most importantly, why are they so adamant on distracting us so that we don’t do God’s will?

There are people who seem that their life’s purpose is to uproot the life of faith in others. I ask myself, Why? It’s alarming how they want to snatch away our hope and joy, thinking they’re helping you when they entice you to sin. Their arguments are always the same: “You’re wasting your life, that happiness isn’t real, it’s not suitable for your age, it’s better for you to take drugs like everyone else so that you don’t clash,” etc.

Well, I, along with Saint Paul, shout from the rooftops that “NOTHING NOR NOBODY WILL SEPARATE ME FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST” (cf. Romans 8:35-39). This is our only true security, strength and joy.

Guys, don’t be afraid. Proclaim the Gospel. The devil wants us to be quiet because he doesn’t want souls to be saved. He tries to discourage us because he doesn’t want us to be happy. But even if weariness comes, God’s grace is always there. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. We are on the winning team and we have to save our souls and those of the people around us.

-Ana Pérez