The Church's Most Important Work
What's the most important work the Church can be doing right now?
"Reaching the youth," says Br. Christopher, MIC.
Not far removed from his own youth, the 28-year-old Marian seminarian keenly understands the stakes are high.
"In the world today, there's such a big battle for their souls," he says. "If we don't fight for them, to show them God's love and mercy, we're going to lose them, and, of course, we have already been seeing that happening."
Before joining the Marians in 2011, Br. Christopher was involved in youth ministry in his native California. He says that even with kids raised in the faith, youth ministry has a formidable adversary in the culture at large.
"We're fighting a culture today that says you don't need God," Br. Christopher says. "It's all about you and climbing that ladder of success. Meanwhile, there is so much brokenness out there. Many young people try to address this brokenness by partying — anything to try to numb them."
God willing, in the years ahead, Br. Christopher hopes to become a priest with the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. In some capacity, he hopes to minister to the youth. The most effective tool with which to do that, he says, is the message of Divine Mercy, as revealed to St. Faustina. Why? Because through St. Faustina, Jesus calls to us in a personal way, not as a Just Judge, but rather as the Merciful Savior.
"Coming from a prayer community, we always emphasized having that personal relationship with Christ," says Br. Christopher. "When Jesus becomes a real Person in your life and not just an idea or a set of rules you need to follow, it changes everything. First comes the relationship, and then the rest will follow.
"Saint Augustine, my patron saint, says, 'Love God, and do what you will, for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.' In other words, once you come to love Jesus in a personal way, you're not going to do anything to hurt Him. That's why the relationship comes first."
"Still, anytime I talk to youth it's as if many of them are afraid to come to Jesus. That's why personal witness — sharing what Jesus has done in your life — is so important. You have to be real with them.
"My favorite quote right now comes from Blessed John Paul II who said, 'Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.'"