“Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
In 2014, I chaperoned our youth group’s annual mission trip through Catholic Heart Workcamp, where the theme for our week of service was “Beautiful Mess: It is. We are.” For our group, it turned into a catch phrase we used when we were being silly and ended up making a (quite literal) mess, but after five years in youth ministry this phrase has been a constant reminder that Christ called me to youth ministry not in spite of my mess, but because of it.
When I was struggling with feelings of insecurity and self-doubt after hosting yet another three-person youth group meeting, the first time I heard a teen tell me they didn’t believe in God anymore, and when our parish lost a 13-year old boy to Spinal Muscular Atrophy, I couldn’t respond with strength and love without the graces I receive through my commitments to daily prayer and regular reception of Christ in the Eucharist. These two commitments are my small way of allowing Christ to enter into my mess every day.
It’s easy to be grateful for the good days – when a youth group meeting had numbers in the double digits, an Edge Night went exactly as planned, or a teen went to Confession for the first time since their First Communion. However, it is equally—and sometimes more—important to be grateful for the days we fall short. These are the days that it’s painfully clear that we cannot do what Christ has called us to without His grace constantly at work in our lives.
Let Christ enter into your mess with you and rejoice in it – because it’s in those moments where He makes us stronger.
By: Shari Garcia, Middle School Youth Minister at St. Pius X Parish