“Come to me all you who are weary, burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
COME TO ME 2018
General Secretary, National Service Team, Qatar
“Come to me” – the ICCRS worldwide call-to-prayer that was initiated in May 2014, for the cause of youth revival, discovered yet another new dimension this year in Qatar.
On 16th February, the CCR Youth of Qatar witnessed again, the great outpouring of God’s heart and His outlandish pursuit for the heart of the young generation as we welcomed more than 300 youth and adults, to a Holy ground that invoked praise, worship breaking of the Word and Eucharistic adoration. Unlike other years, the call to “Come to me” this year was extended to families after sensing a great burden for broken familial relationships and homes.
In days that preceded the event, prayer intentions/petitions began to circulate the larger faithful community, invoking agreement and supplication for a burden they sensed in God’s heart. The youth team experienced a ‘newness’ in their lamentation, a new joy in their burden and a new desire for the young lost sheep, yet to make that momentous return of faith, on a journey that finds true joy only when it is homebound.
“Come to me” was spearheaded by Youth Ignited for Christ (YI4C), the CCR youth ministry of Qatar in conjunction with other youth groups of the Parish who are also charismatic in nature. One of the great outcomes of a youth event like this is the celebration of gifts. It gives us an opportunity to provide a platform for the injection of people from various nationalities even as it rejuvenates unity in the Spirit. In this unity, we have seen how a simple event like this can turn into a powerhouse of grace and mercy.
During worship, which was led by CFC Youth, the young lad leading us shared his experience. Born out of wedlock and having experienced the sting of ‘being an outcast” he boldly proclaimed how his life was redeemed by a God who gives us meaning and purpose regardless of how and where we are born.
The Word of God was broken on the very familiar bible verse “Come to me ALL who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28); an invitation that unbiasedly extends to all, regardless of economic, social and even spiritual differences. God’s Word rightfully pointed to our need for rest which is challenged by the cumulative, multilayered intersections of life’s complexities, bodily frailties, emotional heartbreaks, and the consequences of sin. Hence, how befitting that the call to “Come to me” was brought in at the onset of the contemplative yet joyful season of lent.
The youth were draw to the simplicity of Jesus’s promise in Matthew 11:28. They were harkened to the truth that Jesus doesn’t offer us a four-fold path to peace-giving enlightenment, like the Buddha or the five pillars of peace through submission as Islam, nor does he give us “10 Ways to Relieve Your Weariness,” which we pragmatic, self-help-oriented 21st century youngsters are so drawn to. Unique to anyone else in human history, Jesus simply offers HIMSELF as the universal solution to all that burdens us.
“Come to me” concluded with a Eucharistic Healing Adoration where people were given an opportunity to “rend their hearts and not their garments” and “come to Me” via the altar call of commitment. Several healings were recorded and some manifestations were seen, including witnessing a congregation who wept on their knees. Testimonies of healing were pouring in even days after the event was over.
“Come to me” – is not just an invitation, it is an urgency – daring the youth to take up their place as ‘light of the world’ and ‘salt of the earth’, not just in the confinement of the church but more radically in the areas of adverse social platforms, academic institutions and societal arenas where faith is paralyzed by fear, and true identity is lost for independence. It brings us to a new onset of the church’s hope to retain the passion of its legacy through young lives.
St. Catherine of Siena is a great example. In living in a generation that was intensely plagued by insecurity and fear, war, social-immoral and economic changes, her life was marked by a passion for Truth, intense care for humanity, and a fervent life of prayer. St. Catherine’s prayer reverberates the soil of young hearts today “O eternal God, I have
nothing to give except what you have given me, so take my heart and squeeze it out over the face of the Bride.”
Catherine’s severe desire was that God would take her life as an offering, using her in whatever way to mend the brokenness she saw all around her. St. Catherine’s life, and the lives of the young heroes in the bible offer us both, the heritage of our Catholic Christian identity and the urgency of God’s call to the young of the 21st century. It is we, who are leaders and elders who are accountable to continue to uphold the legacy we have treasured for 2000 years.
“Be the change you want to see in this world” – in the words of Blessed Mother Theresa, the youth were invited to dare to take the challenge of change and ‘see’ what God is able to do. They were urged to set high expectations and not to settle for the mediocrity that our culture offers. They were urged to “burn” for the Lord, yielding themselves to the counsel of God’s Word and setting it as a standard and benchmark for life.
Ours is not the first generation to recognize the spiritual declension among us, or to see the need for God to awaken his church and touch our land. From the saints of the Old Testament to leaders in our time, prayer for revival has marked believers who understand that the need for the Holy Spirit surpasses our ability and intelligence. The same is true for Youth Revival.
We want our young people to burn for Christ, and we undoubtedly hold the responsibility to show them how to find the glory of Christ in the Bible. And when they encounter Him, He bridges their hearts and minds to the truth that has the Power to set them free and offer them the ‘rest’ needed for their souls.