Religion

Dear Priests: Please Teach Us

College student pleads for instruction from the pulpit: "We’re just figuring out that nothing on earth can satisfy us; tell us why."

Dear priests,

I am a freshman in college, and I want to ask you something. Okay, more like beg you for something: please teach us!

Before you quit reading, just hear me out. You’re probably thinking I’m a know-it-all freshman. But I’m not. I freely admit I haven’t the slightest ideas about the challenges that you face daily, whether in an ordinary parish or on a college campus. But I know what we students need. Most of us don’t know the basics of the faith. You have to start from scratch. So please teach us!

I know you’re torn, but start there.

You want to teach but feel you don’t have the time. Most of the students that you preach to on Sunday will only hear from you during those few moments. Professors have us for many hours five days a week. You get just fifteen minutes one day a week. It’s an impossible challenge, but please, in the time you are given to reach these souls, teach something.

You may feel the only way to keep these kids coming is to constantly water down the message. Don’t mention the rules, and they’ll keep coming, amiright? Can I tell you what we really want to hear? Tell us that these rules are important, proclaim them and show how they help us.

Tell us God loves us. Tell us how much he loves us.

Tell us God wants us to be sorry and that it will help us to visit the sacraments.

Tell us that no matter what happens, God will never give up on us.

Tell us we are worth more than the grade we receive or the number of friends we have.

Tell us we are not worthy of God’s love, but the love he gives us makes us worthy of the best things.

Tell us that because of this love, we are worth more than we could possibly imagine.

Tell us we are here for a reason, that God has something for us to do, because he doesn’t make mistakes, and we aren’t one.

Tell us the thing God desires most isn’t that we be perfect but that we love him.

Tell us what our bodies and spirits were made for.

Tell us God made us to be saints and that we can be one.

Tell us that saints are amazing, that they are our best examples and our heavenly friends.

Teach us about divine mercy.

Teach us about heaven. Tell us about hell and that both are real.

Tell us why what we do matters and that it matters, always.

Teach us how to wonder at God’s greatness, width, breadth and depth.

Let us know that God is always there.

We need the basics, and then we need more: No child ever decided he wanted to be a mathematician as soon as he learned that two plus two was four, so don’t quit so soon! Then go beyond the basics. Give us the mysteries to contemplate and help us to search in them; tell us how they teach us to contemplate, to think, to ask questions, to study and to love.

You went to the seminary for how long? Teach us some of what you learned. Give us your personal testimony and be an example.

We’re just figuring out that nothing on earth can satisfy us; tell us why.

Please teach us this and more! I don’t think others should have to try to figure these things out on their own. Please …

Sincerely,

Therese Anthony

Therese Anthony is a pseudonym for a college freshman from Michigan.