Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 17, 2006
A message for youth:
Rebellion leads to a dead end
- WCR photo by Bill Glen
Danial Nugent with his nine-and-a-half-month-old daughter Christina shared the faith at the 11th Annual Catholic Family Life Conference
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Lac Ste. Anne
It took Rob Rodgers almost 27 years to realize his purpose in life would not be found by using drugs, in a bottle or by chasing impure relationships. Meaning came to him when he discovered Jesus died for sinners much like himself.
"I am weak. God is the awesome one," Rodgers told more than 100 youth attending his July 1 morning talk during the 11th annual Catholic Family Life Conference.
His revealing testimony to the teens did not fall on deaf ears. It seemed to stir them the longer he spoke.
"I continually fell to temptation. It was nothing because I gained nothing," he said.
Chance to stand or fall
Raised in a moral Anglican home, Rodgers began to rebel at the age of nine. By high school, he used drugs and alcohol as a means to prop himself up. It was a falsehood that led to his crash more than five years ago.
"God gives us free will. We are free to make mistakes and return to him," he said. "We are given the chance to stand or fall."
He told the audience how important it is to be themselves and to understand they are all God's children. He said to wear integrity like their personal armour.
"Girls have great power not to exploit, but to be given up to God. Boys must know that strength isn't showing off to girls. True masculinity is to follow Jesus - to give of yourselves for someone else."
Rodgers asked the youth how many had been to Confession. A few hands were raised. He then asked who would go during the weekend. Only a few more hands were put up.
Moments of sainthood
"Reconciliation is to be washed clean and then let go into the world," he said.
"Every morning I tell Jesus I love him."
"It is a moment of sainthood until we sin again. And as these moments of sainthood expand, we begin to bring into our lives more friends who help us along this road."
Rodgers abused loving relationships. He chose lying over the truth, requiring more chemical use to retain the falsehood.
But one night while working in a hotel in England at the height of his ignorance, a light appeared to him that began to dissolve his guilt and shame.
Power of truth
Rodgers was confused by this natural sensation until he realized it was the light of Christ about to save him. He knew no greater opportunity would come to him and he responded.
Rodgers began to accept the power of truth.
"God has a plan for all of us. His love is a gift to ourselves and to those around us. He gives us a direction to go - and that we need to go."
Rodgers sought Christianity with fervour. He received the sacrament of Confirmation and entered the Roman Catholic Church shortly before Christmas 2000.
"Life as a person of God is a journey we all must take."
He has been clean and sober ever since.
"Every morning I tell Jesus I love him," he said. "I thank God for who he made me."