Fr. Roy Cimagala
This is an urgent necessity. We need to equip the youth to do spiritual battle with the many temptations literally pro-liferating and crawling like worms in the world today.
Though we should not be alarmed because of some hopeless percep-tion of the situation, we just the same should somehow be very con-cerned because the rotten reality is all too obvious to be ignored. It’s challen-ging us to do something about it.
The young ones are practically the helpless and defenseless prey of these temptations that come usually in the forms of pornography and sexual perversions. From there all the other ano-malies sprout like weeds, such as addictions, de-ception, corruption, etc. until things reach to the loss of faith and hope.
In fact, suicide rate among the young has risen globally. From an American health agency, the following finding is made: “In the 90 countries studied, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death among young males and the third for young females. Of the 132,423 deaths of young people in the 90 countries, suicide accounted for 9.1%.”
Ideally, this concern of teaching the young the art of spiritual warfare should be tackled first in the family, then in the school with the constant guidance of the Church. But we can wonder how prepared these institutions are to handle this task. I have my doubts, sad to say.
There are many fami-lies that are dysfunctional. Many parents are them-selves immature. And the schools often focus themselves solely on the academic side while practically ignoring the spiritual and moral aspects of education. And in the Church, we can wonder how capable the priests, nuns and other Church workers are in carrying out this deli-cate respon-sibility of taking care of souls.
We need to teach the youth how to handle their weaknesses and tempta-tions and the sins already committed. The art of offense and defence, of how to turn around and rise after any fall, should be explained very well. More importantly, they have to learn how to aim at real sanctity in the middle of the world, in the concrete environment in which they live.
Both theory and praxis should be pursued, the principles and tools should be shown., explained and made available. The youth’s formation should be ongoing. They should be taught how to be well-grounded in their know-ledge and love of God, and also in their own self-knowledge, taking stock of their strengths and weaknesses, so they would know how to maneuver in life’s rough seas. They should know how to assess the moral temper of the specific environment they are in.
Obviously the art of prayer and sacrifice is a must. They have to be taught to appreciate the value of the sacraments. But before anything else, they should be guided to acquire the basic human qualities and virtues that would serve as the foundation for all the spiritual and supernatural requirements of the spiritual warfare. Their self-esteem and self-confidence, their toughness and adaptability should be strengthened.
I imagine that more than just giving classes and talks, what is more effective is to undertake a personal spiritual direction or mentoring. A certain pastoral accompaniment should be undertaken.
It’s crucial that the youth know how to make a daily plan of spiritual struggle, specifying the goals and targets to reach, the tools and other resources to use. Precisely through mentoring, they should be constantly encouraged and motivated to wage this struggle tirelessly.
Let’s take advantage of their natural strengths and help them in their weak-nesses. Fr. Roy Cimagala is Chaplain, Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City. Email: roycimagala@gmail. com.