Two weeks ago, I gave them a quiz: list the seven sacraments. We had spent the entire class prior learning these. Mind you, these are 7th graders who have all received at least three of the sacraments, and are preparing for a fourth. Only two kids out of sixteen got all of them; most of the students turned in blank papers.
What do you do when you don't know what to do? Pray. So, I hit my knees.
I knew I needed to rattle them. Shake them up. Let them know that this wasn't some boring stuff they had to learn so they could get that oil on the forehead and be done with all this boring Church stuff.
I prayed for each one of them. I prayed for guidance. I prayed for an answer.
God is good. He led me to a friend of a friend, who happens to be a near-by youth minister. She brought in some of her core team last night to evangelize.
The skit they started with was a powerful one. A young man, in line for confession, is telling his friend that he doesn't really care about confession; his mom is making him go. He doesn't really believe in this stuff, and he hates telling his sins to some priest he's going to judge him. So he and his friend devise a plan that he will simply make up a bunch of sins: stealing an old man's walker, spitting on food at the hamburger joint where he works, etc.
He heads in to the confessional, and starts to rattle off his "sins". The priest catches on, and before he will give the young man absolution, tells him he must go kneel in front of the crucifix and tell Jesus: "You died for my sins, and I don't give a damn."
Of course, the young man thinks this is nuts, but out he goes. The first time, he blurts out, "Jesus, you died for my sins, and I don't give a damn." Then, looking up at the crucifix, he mumbles, "Jesus, you died for my sins...and I don't give a damn." Finally, he bows his head in shame: "Jesus, you died for my sins, and I....don't give...a damn."
Humbled, he walks back to the confessional, makes a good confession and receives absolution.
I told my students at the end of the evening that it was their choice to give a damn. When we stand before God, he will ask us, "Did you know Me? Did you love Me? Did you serve Me?" I told them I can't love God for them, and I can't serve God for them, but I can help them know God....and I hope they will give a damn.
Here is to prayer.