Experiences that Change the Heart


Teens are searching for something to fill their heart. As I continue at the ECyD Advisor’s course in Madrid, Wednesday was dedicated to this question.

What can fill a teen’s heart? Or better, who can? The first thing we realize is that something can’t, only someone can. In this sense, the experiences we want are not just experiences of drinking a coke or sitting in a chair. We need experiences where we reach the interior of the other. These experiences need to change the heart. In the last analysis, this is the only way to experience Christ.

In fact, in Spanish we distinguish such experiences from others with a special word. In English, we use this term, encounter, in theology and philosophy but in everyday parlance it has a meaning we want to avoid. In fact, the most influential book on the sacraments in the 20th century used this term: Christ, the Sacrament of Encounter with God.

We each can note the key moments of our life where we have had one of these profound experiences. I can remember Mr. Beteau who taught me to think. He was a my High School teacher in Honors Social Studies; and the teacher who really made me part of the class not just a spectator or note-taker.  He awaked in me a desire for truth, convincing me to read political philosophy. He allowed me to discover him. Through this experience to see my own thirst for truth and the beginnings of a path to find it.

This day at the Advisor’s Course taught me what it means to see the other in their depths; to see beyond the skin to experience who they are and their deep desires such as their search for truth. My tendency is to instruct teens. However, Jesus asks me something more difficult but more profound which is to be open to the other and incite them to a true experience with Him. Such experiences changes boys in a way my instruction never can.

We begin with this thinking about ECyD but in the end this is how we need to be with everyone.

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