Quick reality check, as of the date of publication it has been 89 days since we wrapped up Steubenville Week 1 or 82 days since Steubenville Week 2. Regardless of which weekend you attended, both conferences wrapped up with a speaker presenting a challenge. You can go back and listen firsthand to Kyle Heimann from Week 1 or Paul J. Kim from Week 2. Both men led us through a reflection on The Transfiguration from Mark’s gospel. Here we see Jesus with Peter, James and John up on a mountain and following the transfiguration, when Jesus reveals more fully his divinity, the disciples wanted to set up camp and stay put in that amazing moment. However, the disciples had to descend the mountain.

While at Steubenville, while on that weekend away in July, hopefully we all experienced a “mountain top experience” as well. The chances we get in life to step away from the day to day and spend time with the Lord in prayer, the mass, the sacraments and each other are truly a gift. However, we too had to “descend from the mountain.” Here is where the challenges come into play and it is imperative that we take time to reflect on how we are doing on the things we reflected on a short 89 days ago.

Since some time has passed and school is well underway, it is now a good time to ask yourself, how am I doing? If we can’t remember what the challenges we were suppose to take home with us were…that may be an indication of how things are going. But not to worry, as C.S. Lewis put it so eloquently,

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

Here’s a quick refresher of the 5 challenges laid before us:

1. Mass

Go to mass every Sunday. Have we been making mass a priority on Sunday and maybe even a day here or there during the week? Do you need help finding a mass near you? Check out Mass Times

2. Reconciliation

Go to confession once a month. This can be a tough habit to get into. We may think, “Oh, I’ll get to it later” and later rarely comes around. Live up to the challenge, put it in your calendar, find an accountability partner! Here’s a great blog from Fr. Mike Schmitz with more encouragement on frequenting Reconciliation.

3. Prayer

Add 10 minutes of prayer to your current daily prayer routine. Not praying much at all? Start with 10 minutes. Already have a good prayer routine? Add 10 minutes! You can do this!

“Prayer makes your heart bigger, until it is capable of containing the gift of God himself.” -St. Teresa of Calcutta

4. Stay connected

Participate in your youth group and parish life. As Kyle said on Week 1,

“We all need community.”

5. Accountability partners

Find someone you can talk with regularly. Someone who can you can be open and honest with about how life is going and the challenges that you are facing and in turn they can help and hold you accountable to your commitments. Maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s your youth minister, maybe it’s your parish priest. Be bold, ask someone to hold you accountable! Chances are they will feel honored that you asked.

Time is going to keep moving forward whether we are moving forward in our relationship with Christ or not. Hopefully we can all take some time today or this weekend to look at the 5 challenges above and assess how things are going. Remember, it’s never too late to do an about-turn and get back on the path that we are aiming for.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

 

Written by Amy Eschelbach
Amy Eschelbach is the Associate Director for the Office of Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. In her free time, she enjoys ceramics and one day dreams of owning a mini van!