By Sister Ruth Bolarte
Special to The CS&T

“Like the deer that longs for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you my God.” – Psalm 14

A couple weeks ago, I was moved as I saw the characters of the movie “The Way Back” face starvation, dehydration and frigid temperatures as they journeyed a 4,000-mile trek from Siberia to political asylum in India. Throughout the movie, I was able to connect with the characters in their anguish facing the elements while also rejoicing with them when they found relief in some water, food or shade. Their story made me wonder if I was ever that desperate for food, water and shelter.

These thoughts came back as I spent some time with a group of teenagers at a weekend retreat. Under the motto “Descúbrete jóven en Cristo,” the young people guided by the retreat team shared their longing for God, the challenges in their search for meaning and their hope and dreams for the present and future. {{more}}

As I listened to their stories, I tried to remember my own adolescent years. In spite of the generation gap, we shared some of the same questions: Who am I? What does God want for me? Where is God in this particular situation? But at the same time, I recognized that their challenges are so different than the ones I faced at their age. Our youth must live their Catholicism in the midst of spanorce, separation of family members, violence, uncertainty … the list can go on. In Christ who loved us to death, they find the strength and joy to be themselves – the persons God created and loved from the beginning of time.

Driven by this longing, these young men and women traveled distances, sacrificed time and friends in order to venture into this journey. Their enthusiasm and courage in their search for God – both the retreatants’ and staff’s – energized and inspired my own spiritual journey. As we grow older sometimes we may become complacent in our relationship with God. I share with you some of the questions I am bringing to prayer these days: How badly do we want God in our lives? Do we long for God as we gasp for air? What are we willing to give up or to build up as we journey toward our Creator?

May we always thirst and hunger for God throughout our lives.

Sister Ruth Bolarte, I.H.M., is the director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization in Philadelphia.