Heroic Youth!

2 Maccabees 7:12
As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man’s spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing.

Many people think “Youth today are spoiled.”  The reality is different: Youth today, like all youth at all times, are craving a high and heroic calling and our culture consistently disappoints them by telling them they are victims or consumers or slackers.  That is the explanation for the awesome magnetism with which John Paul II attracts youth in droves: he calls them to Christian heroism and their hearts sing in response.  That is because John Paul, himself once a young man who responded with heroism to a world dominated by Hitler and Stalin, knows well the glorious truth illustrated by the courageous young man in today’s verse: the only tragedy in life is not to be a saint.  The young man (like his six brothers and mother) could bear any suffering but the suffering of betraying the glory of God.  In our steadfastly inglorious world, youth today still burn with a desire for supernatural glory hotter than the flames of torturers.  Today, honor the youth in your life with a prayer that the passion which is their special gift from God achieve fruition in the Christian heroism they so deeply long for.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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