Testimony from a SFA Young Church Teen

The Catholic faith for me was at one point just a name. I called myself a Catholic, but didn’t live out the faith in my daily life. Being a part of St. Francis of Assisi is the best thing that has happened to me. This has impacted my life outside the church, as well as, what I want to do for my future career. Now, there are many parts about the Church that are very important, but I am going to focus on Confession. Confession is the key to the forgiveness of our sins. Truly trying to stay away from sinning is hard, but that is our goal as Catholics.

Everyone sins; it’s a part of our human nature because no one is perfect. We, as Catholics, believe that there are two main categories for sin, Mortal and Venial. Mortal sins are the bigger sins (ex: murdering someone) and Venial sins are the smaller, daily sins (ex: lying to a friend). These sins are defined in the Catechism. We sin every day and the best way to rid yourself from your sins is to go to Confession as often as you can.

Going to confession is great. Ridding yourself from all of your sins that weigh you down is such a relief. However, living a life where you add a sin every day is not the way God wants us to live out our lives. A very wise man, Clay Imoo, taught me, “While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jesus does not need to be flattered… but he does need to be imitated”. While we may try to flatter Jesus with all the prayers we know and how much we do for others, it’s not the only thing Jesus needs. Jesus needs for us to imitate him in every way we possibly can, and all the time; not just when it’s convenient. If we imitate Jesus then we are literally being his disciples, spreading the word, and evangelizing with our every action.

Now I’ll talk to you about my personal conversion. Like I said before everyone sins, so we go to confession to rid us of our sins. Before I turned into the man I am today, I had two faces; the church face and the friends/school face. I had gone to DCYC events and went to a few others, but I never really understood what God had planned for me or what He wanted me to do to grow in my faith. My sophomore year had a huge impact in my life. This is when I truly found God. My Confirmation retreat changed me for the better. I began to see what I was being called to do and I finally understood that God truly cared for each and every one of us, which is why he died for us! Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”.

Being so involved with the church has showed me what I want for my career path. I want to be a youth minister, like our awesome YM’s Nic and Edmund! I want to work to help other youth have the same transformation that I had, or bring youth that don’t know Christ in and allow them to experience the love of God.

Loving others is one of the most important aspects of our faith. We should base our faith on the foundation of Jesus’ love. If He could die on the cross for us, then we can learn to love others in the way that he did. I know it’s not always easy, but we must try to love everyone the same way that Jesus loves us! You must always welcome people in with open arms.

I’m going to leave you with a challenge; to strengthen the relationship you have with Jesus, try to pray one time a day for ten minutes. It’s not hard to take ten minutes out of your schedule to just talk to the man who died for your sins. A good verse to remember is 1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous”. Love everyone with all your heart and show it through your actions. Like our Patron, Saint Francis of Assisi says, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words”.

Thank you Clay Imoo for letting me use your saying and for being a great influence.

Thank you to Mauri for editing my awful grammar on this one!

Joseph Barringhaus