Special thanks to my friend, Kam Armstrong, for calling my attention to the book Sacred Fire, by Ronald Rolheiser. He expresses three levels of life, both physically and spiritually: Essential Discipleship (the struggle to get our lives together), Mature Discipleship (the struggle to give our lives away), and Radical Discipleship (the struggle to give our deaths away).
We will be focusing on the first of those today, and particularly how young adults embrace this task of putting their own life together. Younger people face a huge challenge. They are physically and mentally charged up with a grand task before them. How can they build out a life of longing that is a holy longing, a longing that honors.
Ronald Rolheiser wrote an earlier book "The Holy Calling" that will serve as our title today, and it focused more heavily on this first category. I encourage all younger people to listen, teens and young adults. But parents and grandparents need to listen as well. You need to remember what it was like to be young so you can be a compassionate, kind and helpful influence for them.
Here is the list of 7 elements raging and demanding attention in our youth:
1) Eros - the sheer pulse of life
2) Sexuality - it's brute force within us
3) Restlessness - how will this all come together
4) Loneliness - the pursuit of intimacy
5) Insubstantiality - what is my meaning and purpose and worth
6) Moral Fervor - what is worth fighting for and who can I fight with
7) Nostaliga to Come Home - more specifically, how will I build my own home
These things exist for all of us, but the intensity gauge tends to come down throughout the years. This makes older people great mentors. But it doesn't make these things any less potent. So, here are four things you must seed in your heart during these years:
1) Private Prayer and Private Integrity (pursue, know, love and serve Jesus)
2) Charity and Justice (a heart for people, for the poor and hurting, compassion)
3) Involvement with the Church (holy community, intergenerational faith support)
4) Forgiveness and Mellowness of Heart (peace, mercy, optimism, and soft hearts)