Theology Professor Encourages Young Adults
to Deepen Relationship with God During Lent
By Katherine Jass Lopez
For Today’s Catholic
Young adults are constantly bombarded with the message they must do certain things to be perfect. The secular world, typically through media, tries to sell perfection through clothes, cars, weight loss products and in extreme cases, plastic surgery. All these things have one thing in common — they focus on a person’s outward appearance. But what about inner perfection? Does anyone even care about that anymore? Or have we become so caught up in the superficial messages that to be perfect you must wear certain clothes, drive a certain car, look a certain way? Let’s hope not.
Those struggling with this concept of perfection found their way to Theology on Tap March 8 at the Blue Star Brewery. Theology on Tap, sponsored by Young Adult/Catholic Campus Ministry for the archdiocese [of San Antonio], is a six week “six pack” discussion and lecture series aimed at young adults. The topic on tap for the evening “How to Walk on Water Without Drowning: The Call to Perfection” was presented by Father John Markey, OP, professor of theology at the Oblate School of Theology.
“We hear many young adults and college students struggling with this concept of perfection and it usually stems from the artificial sense of the word. We know how hard it is to be a young adult in today’s society and by having this topic our hope was to remind them that all of that other stuff doesn’t matter — what matters is your relationship with Christ and to seek that type of perfection,” commented Joseph Liedecke, assistant coordinator for Young Adult/Catholic Campus Ministry.
While there are different types of perfection, Father Markey focused on the one based on our Catholic faith. “We need to look at the general notion of perfection from a Christian perspective. It’s a call to holiness; we are all called to perfection by our baptismal call — not to just be a good human being but to be perfect as our Father calls us to be; to imitate God. The church’s responsibility is to enable that.
Father Markey shared a story from his college years of living in a house on a busy street but never noticed it until a car crashed into the front porch; this is often how we react to God’s call for us. “Christ is God’s way of crashing into the front porch of human history. God is roaring around but we simply don’t see or hear him. What I really hope to do is to give you new eyes and ears to help you see what God is making clear to each of us; to see and hear what he is already doing in our lives but we don’t recognize it.”
Often we are the culprits in preventing God from working in our lives. “If you could only realize how much you are blocking what God is trying to do for you. He is calling on you to be perfect and holy through a change of heart; a conversion. He wants you to see the world differently. You have the choice to surrender but God is searching for you. Perfection in many ways is cooperation with God’s will. It’s almost hard to believe it’s that simple yet we don’t even notice it. Much of what blocks our relationship with God is our own emotions; sadness, hurt, shame, guilt. We need to let ourselves be healed from these things. We need to love ourselves and walk with the spirit of God,” Father Markey said.
The season of Lent provides the ‘perfect’ opportunity to deepen our relationship with God as we work towards the perfection we are called to. “Our road is like the road to Emmaus. The question is do we want to cooperate and see how God is showing us the way or just be dragged along,” Father Markey concluded.
Through humor Father Markey provided the young adults with the knowledge they were craving. “Father Markey was great — very entertaining and really explained how we are to work with God in achieving our own perfection,” said Sarah Marsch from St. Dominic Church. “He was funny and interesting and made me feel the importance of Christian perfection versus secular perfection,” commented Deanne Cabangan, a student at the University of Texas San Antonio.
Article courtesy of Today's Catholic, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Used with permission.