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Four Years at the Mount

Senior Year

To Whom it May Concern;

Sarah Muir
MSM Class of 2018

(8/2017) I presume to write to the youth of the world. A ridiculous endeavor to be sure since most of the populous get information by a combination of click-bait articles and summaries so there is a very small percentage that will read my words here. However, that has never stopped me from writing before and I see no reason why I should start now.

With the approach of World Youth Day, I offered this theme to these writers and found myself in a tight spot. I had nothing substantial to tell the youth of the world, I cannot offer sound advice to solve whatever problems they face or instruction on how the world works (mostly because I am still learning the ropes myself). I decided to share some general advice and hope that it helps someone.

To begin, the world has over seven billion people on it; seven billion people living and dying, experiencing heartache and heartbreak, love and hate, insurmountable joy and overwhelming loss. In this sea of humanity, you can often feel as though you have been set adrift, but this is never the case. I do not say this to belittle you or to compare your sufferings and triumphs against others in better or worse condition. I say this so that when the world closes in, when all is dark and it feels as though the air has left the room, I want you to know that you are not alone. Out of all those people there must be a handful that empathize with you and if they can continue, then so can you. I am not here to tell you that tomorrow you will wake up and all will be as it should, but I can tell you that sometimes itís okay to take the time you need and breathe.

The next few pieces of advice should be a bit easier and hopefully lighter. Firstly, read. I cannot stress this enough. For when the world seems like a terrifying place and there is no place of rest, a book can provide sanctuary. In reading we are gifted the ability to share not only information, but ideas, and dreams, and sometimes, if the story is very good, an entire cosmos. Daydream too, not to excess, but enough on which to live. For it is in books and dreaming we can survive even the most trying circumstances. Secondly, great friends are hard to come by and oft times we settle for second rate company. Never underestimate the power of a great friend when finding one my advice can be boiled down to three words; quality over quantity. However, if you manage to acquire both, you are lucky indeed. Thirdly, do not make the mistake of wasting your youth growing up.

To the youth of the world I say this; be gentle with yourself. The fact that you exist in the world should be celebrated with every breath. It is true that the world can often be a difficult and dangerous place, but do not let this make you timid and fearful. The mass and majesty of the world is tremendous, and I do not wish for you to be so frightened by the shadows that you do not see that there is far more beauty in it than viciousness. It may feel, at times, as though it is your duty to change the world, to take it by storm, and refashion it into a better place. Not only that, but it can become frustrating when it appears that nothing has changed. However, your obligation is not to change the entire world in one colossal move, but to alter those lives, those wonderfully small worlds, we touch every day.

If you remember none of the advice above, at least remember this. Remember that every human is a part of the same humanity, the same family and within this family they deserve to be treated with the upmost dignity and respect. Your duty is to those people you meet on the street, in class, on the bus home. They are effected by the world like you are, touched and handled by life which can be hard and, in turn, can make people hard. Do not let it do so to you and help others remember how soft they once were.

This means, of course you that you merit the same treatment, to be treated with the same courtesy, the same dignity and respect that you have afforded to others. It is impossible for me not to mention my faith in this, so I will leave you with the words of Saint Pope John Paul II, "You are a thought of God, you are a heartbeat of God. To say this is like saying that you have a value which in a sense is infinite, that you matter to God in your completely unique individuality."

Read other articles by Sarah Muir