The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph…and the virgins name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace!”…but she was greatly troubled at what was said.
Last night I spent almost five hours listening to confessions at St. Ann. We were far too few priests for the over six hundred “sinners” that were gathered together for the penance service. I was pleased to be there. It was nice to see so many beautiful people!
I laugh at those who think a priest knows nothing about love, romance or dating. We know a lot! Far too much! We also know a lot about God’s love, God’s romance and God’s constant pursuit of us!
Young girls are in desperate need of faith. Grandparents and parents have such a wonderful role to play in a young teenager’s life! Unfortunately, they give up too quickly. I am here to tell you today that, although you may be past the age of romance or dating or love, you can bring much needed peace and understanding to a teenager’s life and the turmoil that surrounds their ever changing emotions.
Mary was greatly troubled. Maybe it was because she had a hard time believing that she was so loved, so beautiful, and so special. How many of our granddaughters, grandsons, daughters and sons feel the same way? Too often they settle for less than what they are worth. Far too often, they do what they should never do in order to gain much needed attention, affection and affirmation.
The Lord has something to say to you, my child, my daughter. He says to you, “You are a princess!” You say, “I am not.” He says, “You are a treasure!” You say, “I am no treasure!” The Lord says to you, “Keep your dignity, your morals and your values high, very high!” You say, “If I do, then I will never be loved.”
This is what happens to a young soul when they distance themselves from the Lord: they stop believing in the truth; in greater things! They allow their roommates, friends and boyfriends to qualify them; to lower their dignity. They allow themselves to be deceived.
We must educate our girls in the fact that the Lord is one of just a handful of men in the world that will never lower their dignity. In fact, just like a father or big brother, He sets the bar so high, seats them on a throne so big and sets them on a mountain top so high, that these poor girls are filled with the fear of never being loved! But the angel tells Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God…for nothing will be impossible for God.” Why do our girls flee from the Church, from the Sacraments, from God? Because they fear that the bar in their life has been set too high for anyone to jump over! God reaches out to Mary and to us because He believes in Mary and in his children! He believes in us because He knows us better than we know ourselves. He believes in me more than I believe in myself!
These are the rules: take it or leave it. Young souls are afraid to have rules. They are afraid that they will be left alone. But rules help to distinguish between deceivers and believers; they help to set the record straight. “You say you love me. These are the rules. Take it or leave it.” The young man who is in love will say, “I will take it.”
May all our girls have the courage and strength to pray Mary’s prayer: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” By know we should all know that God’s word is better than a chest of gold or thirty pieces of silver!