Once you discover that God is real, that He is here with you and that He loves you with an unfathomable love, your life can never be the same.
Jesus is right here with you right now. He comes as close to you as you allow—right into your very heart if you let Him. But He is always nearby, even if you don’t let him into your heart, even if you push Him away through mortal sin. Jesus is never far away, and He is always waiting for you to welcome Him back into your heart.
He is real. He is here. He speaks to you now.
Once you know the purpose of life—to know, love, and serve God—your outlook changes. You can’t just go back to simply pursuing your own interests and struggling through life. You were made by God. You were made through Jesus. You were made for Jesus.
“…for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” —Colossians 1:16
And while you live in this world, you have time to get to know and to love Him. However, this time won’t last forever. When your last day comes, you’ll have no more opportunities to intentionally choose Him and to intentionally serve Him and to offer your love—especially in the way that imitates Jesus’ love.
“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” —John 15:13
Every day provides countless opportunities to rise above selfish wants and even needs and to instead do something wonderful for Jesus. You can offer Him little acts of love all day long and you can serve Him, helping as His friend with His mission to save souls. All this can be accomplished with the tiniest acts or the turning of your heart to Him, the little way St. Thérèse of Lisieux taught us.
“To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul.” —St. Thérèse
Think of it: when you received Baptism, you became a child of God and a member of His family. You are cared for and protected and loved. But Jesus wants more of a relationship with you.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” —John 15:15
Jesus—who existed from all eternity as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, for whom and through whom all things were made—wants to be friends with you! What does it mean to be a friend to someone? Think of all the ways that you maintain healthy relationships with your friends: through talking and listening, visiting and doing things together, and through shared goals, etc. However you maintain your friendships, one thing is certain: friends can’t take their relationship for granted or it’s not a true friendship.
How can you grow in your relationship with Christ, your friendship with Him? Be aware that He is with you, walking by your side, living in your heart, every moment of the day. Whatever you do, whether having fun or going through something hard, or even just your daily responsibilities—turn a holy glance to our Lord Jesus. Do it for Him and with Him and in Him.
When things don’t go as expected, rejoice. And trust that God allowed it to happen for some good. While work and school and goals are good things, the purpose of life is not to accomplish all our goals. Jesus is the purpose of life.
And once you know, you know. And your life must never be the same.
Many of CatholicTeenBooks.com titles share this theme of being aware of and loving God in daily life:
You'll find a special scene in Summer at West Castle, where Jarret tries helping Caitlyn’s younger sister Stacey to take the faith she’s learned and make it real. He uses her interest in creating a flame with a magnifying glass and a sunbeam to help her to realize that God is with her right here and right now.
In the story of St. Cloud by Susan Peek, the young Prince Cloud is hurled into a life of danger and treachery, but then he has an encounter with Christ. Once he knows about the one kingdom worth fighting for, everything changes for him.
In Rightfully Ours, Paul realizes that his decisions, especially the ones he makes when no one is looking, are what build integrity. By choosing what is true and good despite the sacrifice required, especially regarding his relationship with Rachel, he honors God. Paul recognizes that God is present and central to the choices he makes, even when it comes to romantic intimacy.
After spending his teen years trying to discern God's will for his life, Gabriel, the main character in Loving Gabriel, determines that his future is with Tanner Rose. This wish to do God's will only strengthens his desire to place their relationship, love, intimacy, and future together into God's Hands, submitting it all for His Glory.
Each of the short stories in the Catholic Teen Books anthology Ashes: Visible & Invisible will nudge readers to a greater awareness of God in their lives and inspire them to deepen their love for Our Lord in concrete and life-changing ways.