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National Teen Conference: Moral Questions for our Times

Master of Public Administration. Married with 4 boys and 4 girls. Wealth of humorous, faith-filled, and fascinating experiences.

National Catholic Youth Conference

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Would Jesus Be Happy With Your Facebook or Instagram Page?

I attended the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis as a chaperone for our church teen group. There was music, prayer, workshops, liturgy, dancing and opportunities to visit vendor booths.

Our two daughters, Alissa and Noelle along with 23,500 teens from across the US attended. The speakers challenged our youth to be transformed and go out to all the world and tell the good news. We were asked, "Would Jesus be happy with your Facebook or Instagram page?


Church Teen Group

Our church teen group in Indianapolis

Our church teen group in Indianapolis

Facebook

would-jesus-be-happy-with-your-facebook-or-instagram-page

Moral Questions For Our Teen Group

The conference inspired many of the teens to dance and chant, “I believe in Jesus Christ! We love Jesus, yes we do, we love Jesus, how about you?" But were they caught up in the moment or were they being transformed? Were they inspired to work on their relationship with Christ? Is it reflected by what they post on social media?

I prayed that our youth would display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They are so full of life and energy. Were they showing the joy and love of Christ? Were our teens conducting themselves in a worthy manner? Were the actions of our teens so kind, courteous and respectful that others were being touched and evangelized?

What about when they returned to their hotel rooms? Were they being respectful of their roommates? Were they keeping their voice volume down, cleaning up after themselves and avoiding inappropriate material on their TVs or electronic devices?

For our group of teens, I believe that overall, the answer to those questions is yes. Sure, none of us are perfect and its hard to know for certain. However, I found our teen group displaying kindness, respect and responsibility.

Teens Dancing at Conference

Am I Being Transformed by Christ?

The Spirit of the Lord inspired me in the halls of the conference center. It gave me great joy to see hundreds of priests and religious in attendance. Whenever a priest or bishop passed by, I thought about these inspirational words: “Greet and treat priests better than if an angel of heaven were to appear before you. For an angel cannot transform bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Only a priest can.”

As a result, I smiled at every priest I saw in the hall. I wondered what other adults and youth thought about priests. Do they realize that someone greater than an angel had just passed by them? Do they realize that priests bring them the very Presence of Christ at every Mass? I began to pray that I could cherish this moment and hope that others would grow in their love for priests.

Bringing the Love of Christ Home

Beyond the walls of the conference center, how else might be transformed? Can I display my renewed spirit of joy and enthusiasm within the walls of my own home? How might I show the love of Christ that I experienced to my very own family? They say charity begins at home.

I couldn’t wait to share the uplifting moments with my family members. Yet, it has always been the pattern for me that whenever I have a deep spiritual moment with Christ, the Evil One will counter attack.

On the return trip, there was a long line for lunch at the fast food restaurant. There were traffic delays due to an accident. By the time we arrived home, we noticed frowns on the faces of family members. I was prepared to share the epic moments we had with Christ, but they were not ready to receive them.

To top it off, I urgently needed to use the restroom as soon as we arrived home. The toilet on the lower level was clogged. So I hurried to use the one on the second level. It too was clogged. How was I to react? What would Jesus do? Rather than demanding that whoever clogged it should clear it, I decided to clear it myself.

I then enjoyed a meal with my family. I thanked my wife for preparing it and told her how tasty it was. Matters seemed to be settling down. However, when attempting to begin our family prayer time, arguments erupted among our children. I addressed them with patience.

God helped me realize that this is where the rubber hits the road. If I were transformed by the love of Christ in this conference, I need to allow Him into the most challenging moments of my life and let Him shine through with patient perseverance.

Chartered Bus Returns Teens from Indianapolis

would-jesus-be-happy-with-your-facebook-or-instagram-page

God Helps Teens to Spread Love

Our daughter Noelle posted this on her Facebook page: “I had the most amazing four days of my life with people from all over the U.S at NCYC. It was amazing to see the thousands of teens come together to express and grow in their faith. All of the speakers were amazing and very enlightening! I met so many people and had an amazing time while growing in my faith! Thank you to everyone who made that even possible because you have touched over 23,000 teenagers lives! I pray that God helps me spread His love to everyone I encounter!”

Great job Noelle! You showed us an example of a post Jesus would be happy to see on a Facebook or Instagram page! Let us pray that conferences such as these, whether they be for youth or adults will transform us so that we can yield the results of Christ’s love especially when using social media.

Comments

David Ortega (author) from Altoona, Iowa on July 27, 2016:

Dr CHE Sadaphal, I do think twice before hitting "send" when finished composing an email. When I worked for the State, we were asked to think about whether or not we wanted the entire content of our email to be in the newspaper. As public employees, it is subject to full disclosure at any time. Much like social media, once you post, it is permanent and can be retrieved in the future.

CH Elijah Sadaphal from New York, NY on July 27, 2016:

I don't have a FB or an Instagram page, and I'm not sure what He would think of my Twitter feed.