As a high school student, I can identify with my fellow students who have challenges in their lives that can block us from being strong in our faith. But little things like simple prayers, going to Mass, being involved in a prayer group or volunteering keeps me grounded in the Church’s teachings.
I was raised in a Catholic household and have always been involved in church and youth groups. This has taught me the importance of praying and having God present in my life. As I was thinking about what to write, I thought about how often I say little prayers throughout the day. Like before a test, I ask God to be with me and help me pass, even though I do not always make the grade I want, or how I ask God to help my friend today because they might be struggling.
I have realized that prayers have such a big impact on me, even if it takes me a few seconds to say. The littlest prayers can have the biggest impact.
I keep my faith strong by attending church every weekend and being a part of youth groups. I attend a youth group called YoungLife every Monday. One of the leaders will choose a story from the Bible to read and talk to us about it. They give us the message and discuss how to bring it into our daily lives. I feel like this helps me because not only am I getting to be social, but I am also getting to know more about God and everything he has done for us. This allows me to give God more praise and not assume things about others from what I see on the outside.
I used to be the person to judge others, and when I got closer to God, I realized that people could be struggling. When you talk to them and get to know them, then you can actually be there for them and understand them better. This gave me a whole new perspective on how I treat others because I know I would never want to be judged by what people see on the outside. So, I do not want to do that to others. I always try to remember the Golden Rule: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
Going to church every weekend is not what I always look forward to, but afterward I always feel like I get a wonderful message out of it, especially the homily. I think about how to put the Church’s teachings into my daily life.
After church, my parents and I discuss the homily and talk about what we felt it meant to us personally. I feel that doing this with people I trust helps me grow in my faith because they can be there beside me the whole time.
I also feel that doing Junior Service at my school has helped me grow stronger in my faith because I am helping others. Giving time and energy to someone’s aid could change their whole day. You never know what someone is going through, and being able to help, even for an hour, can lift a weight off their shoulders.
I know that even the little stuff that I help with has a huge impact on them and that is what keeps me motivated and wanting to return. I am only a junior in high school, and my faith life is not as strong as I wish it would be, but I know that as long as I keep God first, I will only grow closer to him.
Sarah Beth Thomas is a junior at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock. St. Anne Church in North Little Rock is her home parish.
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