Well guys, it was great to meet all of you today and I am really looking forward to this school year continuing to get to know each one of you better. I have set up this blog as a way to communicate with you in between the monthly gathers at Rayne Catholic. What I will do is after every chat session we have a school I will write a short summary of what we chatted about while I was there. This will provide you with a way to go back and reflect on what God was trying to speak to your heart so that you might hear it even more clearly. In addition to that if there was a question that you did not ask in class because you were shy, embarrassed, or were not sure how people would respond, you can ask it here and can even do it anonymously if you so wish and I will do my best to answer it. Also, if there are topics that you would like me to address during our monthly Chat Session or I might choose to address it before in the form of a blog, you can ask it here. Again I am very excited about journeying together into the heart of God as young men and women and brothers and sisters. Now to the summary!
I started out by sharing with you a little about how I grew up, coming from a divorced and alcoholic family and how these situations I found myself in as a young child began to shape how I saw myself and how I felt about who I was. These factors caused me to pick on or make fun of other people as a way for me to keep them at a distance so they didn't really get to know who I was, because, at that time, I didn't think that I was really good for anything.
My 8th grade year, just where you all find yourselves, my CCD at the time, Paul, who had kicked me out of class more than once for being disruptive, took me aside one evening and asked me to be a part of the youth group he was starting. He told me that he watches the way that I led the class and that when I started to use these gifts for good that I was going to become something great. As I told you all in class, my family did not go to church. As I got more and more involved in my faith I began going to Church every Sunday. One Sunday, the priest gave a Homily centered around the scripture verse, Mark 12: 30-31, where Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment? Jesus responds, "To love your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength. The second is to love your neighbor as YOURSELF." That if we are going to truly loving our neighbor then we must first love ourselves. Well, at that point in my life I didn't love who I was because I was had been told it wasn't anything good, therefore I would pick on others and make them feel as bad about themselves as I felt. As I began to allow God to tell me who HE had created me to be, it was none of those things that I had heard growing up. I could love the Charlie that HE created NOT the Charlie that the world tried to tell me I was. This allowed me to begin to accept those parts of my heart that were not perfect which enabled me to accept the parts of other people that were not perfect.
I told you the story of Mike, the kid that I picked on all through elementary school and how we ended up on the same retreat team our senior year of high school. We were asked to give a talk together at a retreat and during our time of preparing for the talk how I had apologized and asked his forgiveness and how he shared with me how much I had really truly hurt him over the years. This made me realize how much our words carry a lot of weight, they can either destroy or build up, how we use them it very important. We have remained close friends over the years and still to this day remain close friends.
I challenged each one of you to seek out forgiveness from people in your class that maybe you haven't been so kind to, that maybe you have excluded instead of included, maybe picked on or called names and to truly seek their forgiveness. I challenged yall to be a class that Mr. Menard and your teachers are blown away, not only by your academics but by your love for one another and your school. This is not an easy journey, you will fail at times, WE ALL DO, but that is where true courage and true humility come in, to humbly go to a brother or sister in Christ and to ask their forgiveness. We ended by praying that God may reveal to us who we TRULY are in his sight, not in the sight of others and that He may give us the courage to seek out those that we have hurt in the past and start fresh.
I look forward to hearing from you guys, whether it be comments or questions, and I look forward to seeing you around school over the months to come. God Bless RCE!