Sour economy. Sour marriages. Sour politics. If you’re feeling a little disaffected, my Millennial friend, we get it. But let’s talk about why your life is still a great adventure.
You still expect great things from yourselves, and I’m definitely rooting for you. Some might see your rootlessness is a good thing, since it leaves you ready for adaptation and change. But I think most of you realize that you need something more. As the youthful optimism runs out, perhaps you should consider coming back to church. Or better still, to the Church.
A church can provide community support, which matters more than you might presently realize. It’s easier to form a stable marriage, start a family and live a healthy life when you have a community of like-minded people to provide context and some good examples of what works. Young families tend to need guidance and encouragement, and just the occasional helping hand. Churches are great for that.
Far more importantly, though, you need something more substantial to give your life purpose. You need to know who you are and why your life matters. The Church can answer those questions like no other institution can.
She can tell you why your life is precious regardless of whether you manage to find your niche in a changing economy. She can provide structure and focus to family life, and tell you how to forge a lasting marriage in bad times as well as in good. If you’ve made mistakes in your life, join the club. Mother Church specializes in helping people to pick themselves up and try again. Maybe you don’t have the funds to hire a fancy therapist? No worries. She takes all comers.
Her resources are vast. Whatever you need, she’s got it. I’m not talking here about giant chests of gold hidden under the Vatican. I’m talking about her priceless store of beauty, spiritual wisdom, and rich insight into the human condition.
Are you a fan of spirituality? That’s great. Pick up St. Theresa of Avila or St. John of the Cross, or for a more modern personality, read up on the amazing life of St. Padre Pio. Do you prefer a more dispassionate, analytically rigorous discourse? Check out the Scholastic philosophers or their contemporary Thomistic interpreters. If you’re worried about the dehumanizing effects of big government and a far-reaching global economy, Christian personalism is for you. Or, if you’re not really much of a reader, just bask in a rich legacy of art and music and liturgy that have enabled billions of Catholics (many of them illiterate and desperately impoverished) to draw nearer to a loving God.
Holy Mother Church has ever been a haven for lost or drifting souls. No company or political party can begin to match her experience in tapping the potential of an incredible range of people, living under enormously diverse circumstances. In case you’ve heard otherwise, be assured that the welcome mat is still out. Check it out, Millennials.
Rachel Lu teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas.
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