|" Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord."|
There are many in the Church today who are very worried about the growing detachment from the practice of the faith by many of today’s younger generations. These elders seem to be at a lost how to respond – often fearing that if they try to say something it will only drive the young further away.In today’s first reading, there is an interesting verse that gives us some insight into the young Samuel’s state of faith.
We read: “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.”
Another translation reads it: “At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.”
“… did not yet KNOW the Lord, … not yet been REVEALED to him.” Knowing about someone or some thing is not the same as knowing them personally.
The response the elder Eli makes, has some interesting insight for today’s elders concerned for their younger one’s faith – an approach that might help us. To be concerned for the state of our young people’s faith is a valid one and must never be written off. The obstacles to the development of a practical faith by young people today are enormous and complex. It is vital for the elder generation to be there for the younger generations to be there with guidance and encouragement as was Eli for Samuel.
Now we must not think that we are more concerned for the faith of our young generations than is the Lord. God is calling, to be sure, and I believe God has a plan for this generation and the next, already working. It took a couple of wakeup calls before Eli was able to recognise that God had a plan for Samuel, and what his role was to be. Just so for us elders today. How does God want us to cooperate in his plan for our young generation?
Here are some suggests
· Do not judge them or condemn their lack of religious practice – rather be discerning – think of Eli’s affectionate tone when he said: “It was not I calling you my son …” Let your concern be seen as love.
· Realize that God is already working within them, speaking to their hearts, preparing them.
· Be models of a living faith which demonstrates the reality of a living faith in a positive light.
· Look for the signs, the openings that they may give you, and encourage them to keep seeking.
· Tell them to go directly to God, in the midst of the confusing values surrounding them and trying to influence them today.
· Pray for them without ceasing. Dedicate them to their Mother Mary.