This is the question I spent yesterday morning with a group of the youths called CADETS OF MARY from the Archdiocese of Douala, trying to answer with them.
We had a recollection with this youths Group from the 85 Parishes of the archdiocese, though the attendance was not that good. Those who managed to come were around 59, though many of them came late. What was the peculiarity of this recollection? The sharing of different ideas of the youths on the challenges on defending one’s faith in our time.
This theme: made me to reflect more on the different era in human history, how different era defended the faith in their time. During our sharing we came to understand that faith has been always defended by the people of the given period that is why it has been handed on to us today and it is still our duty to pass it on to those who will come after us. But the challenge remains on how to defend it so that one cannot lose it in this challenging world.
In the past our parents defended their faith mostly physically and spiritually, where they used to go and fight in order to defend a certain doctrine or to rescue an Holy Object which might have been captured by a given group of enemies. In the history of the Church, we can recall the time of the Fathers of the Church, where many lost their lives simply because they must go and fight and others simply because they had different views or opposing to others. And still there were the great Saints and Christians who stood upright to defend their faith. There were many different eras like the time of the Crusades, Martyrdom, etc. there were still those who remain strong in what they believed in.
In our time we face a lot of challenges concerning the faith, but something more has been added which is the moral values. Many in the group believed that in our time we face more challenges compared to the past. The reason being that, today we are exposed to all sorts of information, very little is controlled to the age groups. Children know more than their age. And many of us try to treat children equally with the old people. The work is left to the parent to help their children in living a moral life. Many of us have got smartphones and we have access to internet where we can search any information we want and use it as we want. We came to agree that our faith is facing more challenges because our morality is in danger.
Therefore, to defend our faith we need to make a difference in many things. Since the fight is not physical but spiritual and moral. We can no longer go out to start fighting physically with those who try to challenge our faith, but we can pray for the protection and care of our faith and live a moral life. So, by others seeing our behavior they can believe that we are true Christians.
We concluded that our faith can only be protected by ourselves but not trying to use physical fight or defense either in our families or in our relationships or in the places of work. We need to pray for our faith and try to live an exemplary life.
From my experience we must defend our faith by our way of living. Our lives should become a living, Gospel. As young people we must live our faith in everything and everywhere we found ourselves. Many of us as young people we have lost the value and respect of morality, that is why our faith in put in doubt by others. The person of faith must also be a person who is morally upright and trustworthy.
We concluded our day with the promise of defending our faith by the way of our lives and to try our best to become people of morally upright and trustworthy in everything we do and wherever we found ourselves. This is only way we can express our faith and defend it.
Fr. Placide Élia MHM. Douala/ Cameroon.