Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Will You Choose? A Letter to Boys

Laura sent this to me. It needs to be shared.

This letter to boys was written by the director of an online Catholic home school program - CLAA.  This letter is too important to keep to ourselves.  We hope you read it and share it with your sons and other families with boys, even those who are not Catholic- the message is truly for all Christian men/boys...

 Dear boys,
Blessings to you.
I spend my days sitting at a desk, writing lessons, answering e-mails, searching through the pages of ancient books for answers. I work all day and all night. I am paid a lot of money by a lot of people, but I can only think of how it might be used to do more work. I am always thinking about the next part of my work that needs to be done, problems with the work I already have done and how little time I have in life to do more.
What is sad for me is thinking of how much I have accomplished in a short period of time. I created the CLAA only 3 years ago and it now has students all over the world. I returned to Mother Church only 6 years ago yet now thousands of children study using a catechism program I've made. I've only been seeking wisdom for 15 years, yet now people all over the world ask me for advice. I've accomplished very much in such a short period of time. Some might expect me to be proud of my work, but it makes me very sad. It makes me sad because I've wasted so much time in my life. I've wasted so many years doing nothing, chasing after the distractions and empty pursuits of the world. I could have done so much more, but I wasted so much of my life, my only life. In the end, no matter how much I do, I will always know I could have done much, much more. When I think of how much better I might have served Our Lord, that makes me very sad. He deserved more from me
and I can never have those years back that I've wasted.
I am tormented by thoughts of my old friends, boys and girls that I led in doing sinful things. That was my influence on them while I had the chance to do good to them and now, they are gone. I may never have the chance to help them and they may die in sins that I encouraged them in. That is a terrible thing to think about. I can't fix many of the terrible things I've done. Now, seeing how much good I can do, it makes the bad I've done much more painful to think about.
I want to write to you because I love you very much, as my own sons. I have always loved teaching because I was able to spend whole days with my students--talking, praying, arguing, teaching, helping. I always loved my students and wanted them to be happy. Unfortunately, my work keeps me away from my students, so all I can do is write to you.
You are young. Your mind is filled with visions of your future--what you will be, what you will do, where you will go, and so on. There's so much you may think about all that, but I want to ask you to think--what will you be? what will you so? where will you go? What needs to be done? What is that empty place in this world that only you can fill? What if you don't fill it? What will you gain? Our Lord asks us, "What good will it do for a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"--the whole world...his own soul.
I don't want you to think of your own soul. I want you to think of the souls of other men. Look out your dining room window and think of the souls of other men. Look out your car window and think of the souls of other men. Look at them all, running around, hurrying around, all trying to gain some tiny, meaningless piece of this world. A piece of land. A beautiful house. A cool car. A nice pair of shoes. The whole world. His own soul.
Look at how little the men around you think of their souls. In 100 years, they will all be dead. Their running will be over. Their lives will be spent. Their wives, children, friends, neighbors, all left behind--to fill the place left behind and divide up what they gathered in this life. This one life.
Solomon, who was the wisest man in the ancient world, looked at the world and described it all with one word: Vanity. He said, "I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity--and a chase after wind." A chase after the wind. Chase after the wind. Think about that. A chase after the wind. What will happen when a man, who chases after the wind, finally gets it? He will reach out to embrace it and take it to himself, but he will find nothing to take hold of. Vanity. A chase after the wind.
Many boys growing up with you will join that chase after the wind. You will not believe it, but they will. Some of them will be your friends, boys you go to church with, boys you study with, maybe your own brothers and sisters. You will see it happen. You will see their hearts harden. You will see them begin to drift further and further towards the world, and you will never see them again. They will spend the rest of their lives chasing after the wind, thinking they will get it. Vanity.
You can build buildings, program computers, milk cows, heal wounds, win games, make money...but so can millions of other men. You can be a good friend, a good neighbor, a good worker, but so can millions of other men. You can love the beautiful people and say hello to the nice people, but so will millions of other people. The same people chasing after the wind can do all these things. Will you do the same things? Or, will you do something that very, very few people can do?
Some of the men who live with you will quit the chase after some time. You will see it happen. You will see men who fell away as young boys come back when they are older--men like me. You will see them save their lives before it is too late. You will see them recover much that they lose, start beautiful families, do great things. You will see it all happen. However, you are not to be one of them. You have the chance to do something that very, very few people can do.
You have the chance to give Our Lord an entire life. You have the chance to live with no need of recovery. You can live without the sadness I have, thinking of years wasted in the service of...vanity. You have such a rare opportunity to do something almost no boys do today: offer God an entire life of loyalty and service.
I am only one man among many millions, but I want to urge you consider something very few will. Many will want to know of your plans for college, what kind of work you will do, and what girl you will marry. I know that talk is attractive and easy. However, I want to be one man who asks you different questions. I want to tell you something few will.

You can be the David of your generation.
Our Lord needs new apostles, new missionaries--young, humble and holy priests. Our Church needs holy teachers against whom none of her enemies can raise any accusations or objections. The Church needs great warriors who take up the challenge of her enemies and send them falling to the ground as young David did Goliath. Our world needs angelic monks who prove to the world that the kingdom of heaven is at hand--in our midst. The men and women you will grow up with need to see that a man can live as holy today as ever before in history--that every distraction can be ignored and every obstacle crushed under foot. You need to show them, to give them hope and lead them to victory. You can, with God's help, turn men from vanity back to truth, back to happiness, back to eternity. You can save men's lives and bring thousands of people safely into the arms of the angels. You can free children from sin, can restore broken men to God's peace, can snatch souls from
 the grip of the devil, can set people free. You can turn the world upside down, fill whole cities with the praises of God and win eternal rewards that no one else can--because you can offer to God an entire life of service.
To do so, you will need God's help. It will be impossible for you to make such a gift to God out of your own strength, but if you will try with every bit of human strength you have, you will find that God comes to you in a way no one else knows. God will receive your offering not because it is perfect, but because you want it to perfect, and He will give to you strength to do more every day. You will not be able to fake it, for when you do, God will leave you to fake it, and you will weaken and fail. When you seek this glory with all your heart, in truth, against all the world's temptations and attractions and beg God for this great honor, God will give it to you. You will gain wisdom and strength that no one around you has and you will do things no one else can do. However, you can only do this if your heart is pure and there is no faking in you.
There are men in the world, older men, who have chosen to live such special lives. There are monasteries and seminaries where you can live and train for this warfare. You will have to choose, like all soldiers do, whether you will devote yourself to battle or stay at home. No man at home is ever in danger. However, no champion is rewarded except on the battlefield. You must go where the enemies are if you will defeat them. There are other soldiers there, already fighting. They can teach you. They will help you. They will love you. Think of the joy they will have to see you arrive on that battlefield.
We cannot know what you will do if you offer such a life to God, but it could be miraculous. You could change the world forever. You could lead millions of people to eternal life and be adored in 100 years as St. Don Bosco is today, or in 500 years St. Aloysius Gonzaga is today, or in 2000 years, like Our Lord Himself. They were boys like you, who gave their whole lives to God. Who is happier than they are? They, unlike all other men, did not chase after the wind. They did not waste years of their lives in vanity. They chose their souls and gave away the world to keep them. In eternity, you and I might not be with them. They died in glory and will forever be in the presence of God--safe, happy, holy, beautiful, forever. We have not won their prize. If you do not take hold of eternal life today, and make the souls of men and the glory of God your only desire in this world, you may end up lost in vanity and never recover. Death may come upon you at any
 time and what you are at death is what you will be in eternity. That thought changed my life when I was 20 years old. It must constantly change yours and keep you from my sadness--or much worse. I'm working to do all I can with the constant thought of my wasted years to haunt me.
You can do so much more.
God help you do well.
Sincerely yours,
Mr. Michael

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