A generation of disciples putting their hope in God and having the courage to bend their heart to His will. Archbishop Jason Gordon asked youth and young adults to be part of this generation while speaking at the ‘Love or Lust?’ online seminar on September 11.
An initiative of the Billings Ovulation Method Association of TT (BOMA-TT) in collaboration with the Catholic Youth Commission and the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission, the seminar was open to youth, young adults, and families.
He said the present generation was growing up with a “hook-up culture”, and lust was being pushed at them through smartphones, tablets, and computers, but he has been meeting a generation who have decided “this is not for me”. They started praying and made the hard choices to live God’s way and ask God to show them what He wants.
“Would you be part of that generation who will choose to do the loving thing because it is loving… and let’s build a new culture, a culture of love, a culture where human beings are treated with incredible dignity,” Archbishop Gordon said.
This commitment meant shifting focus from self to “How can I give my life to God first, and how can I do the best for the other person.” Jesus and Mary bent their will to God, he said.
Why a choice between love or lust? Archbishop Gordon said humans were created by God for a bigger purpose, but it was only through bending the heart to God’s will can this be known.
Comparing the two, he called love an “outward flow”, giving of self and doing what is the best for the other, while lust was about self. “That is an addictive stance, a belittling stance…with me becoming a lesser human being…under the tutelage and power of my desires. That is why Jesus said, ‘anyone who wants to be a disciple of mine, let them renounce themselves and pick up their cross and follow me’”.
Archbishop Gordon said to focus only on satisfying desires, and what “I want” was having the mindset of a toddler. There were many who think of themselves as “big men and big women who are still two years old,” he commented. People have lost sight of virtue and were mixing up love and lust because “once it makes me feel nice, I think it’s love.”
Joking that he was giving a short course in Catholic social ethics, he stated that marriage had a double purpose—unification of spouses and, procreation. “Any sexual act that cannot hold both of these at the same time, we would say it is disordered or immoral.”
Archbishop Gordon instructed the youths to ask themselves what is their purpose and vocation at this stage in their life. If it is marriage, then prayers should be part of their daily life before entering a relationship. This will get them accustomed to bending their will to God.
To persons in relationships, they should be praying every day and as a couple asking God, “Is this person He wants you to be married to?”
The featured speaker was US best-selling author Jason Evert who, with his wife Crystalina, runs the Chastity Project, a ministry to promote the virtue of chastity through seminars, resources, clubs, and social media.
The winners of the Love or Lust Creative Competition were also announced during the webinar. In the first category of song, spoken word and poetry, Rachel Chan placed second, Zanaba Acosta was first, and the People’s Choice was Trivon Bobb.
In the Art category: second was Shauquana Edwards with At the Turning Point; first place was Francisco Cooper’s Lust or Love, while the People’s Choice was Jonnelle Raphael. —LPG