Written by Keith Strohm
I posted this over at my other blog, but thought I'd share it here with the folks at ID.
One year, when I was the Director of the Retreat Team for my last parish's Life Teen youth ministry program, we did a retreat that focused on the Bible as a Love Letter from God. We often used affirmation notes, which we wrote to our small group members and placed in decorated bags with their names on it so they could read them after the retreat. That year, we decided to put up an affirmation bag for God so that the teens could write God a note of affirmation.
Well, God's bag was full of the most powerful and beautiful prayers and affirmations to God. So much so, that when we had our retreat debrief, we passed God's affirmations among the adults and we were all moved to tears. Don't let anyone tell you that teens do not have an appreciation for, or an ability to pay attention to, the spiritual life.
Anyway, that's not even the point of this post (though it's a good point). We also decided to include a Letter from Jesus and place it in each teen's affirmation bag. While cleaning out some old files, I stumbled upon that letter and thought it would be interesting to post it here. So, without further ado, here's a letter from Jesus:
My Precious Friend,
I know that sometimes life can be difficult and depressing. There is still much darkness in the world because My people have not come to Me as I have asked—yet I love them (and you) with a love that is without end. Every stinging bite of the soldiers’ whips, every jagged cut from my crown of thorns, each terrible kiss of the nails driven hard into My body—all of it was for you. I endured every second upon the Cross for your sake, because I love you.
Do you think, then, that I don’t hear you when you cry out to Me in your time of need? Truly, I do hear you. If I hear the final cry of every sparrow that falls in death, would I not hear you?
Do you wonder if I listen when you pray to Me for an answer to the troubles that weigh you down? Indeed, I listen. If I listen intently for the very heartbeat of every baby conceived in the womb, would I not listen when that child prays? I listen, and I remember precisely the instant that your heart took its first beat; the moment that you took your first gasping breath upon leaving the security of your mother's womb; the contented sigh of relief at your first belly full of warm milk. And, though you've grown up, I still listen with My whole Heart for every word you whisper to me.
I am with you always, through whatever storms and struggles that you face. Trust in me, and I will guide you through the darkness. If you take one faltering step toward me, I shall run ten thousand steps toward you. My love for you is so deep, that I once traveled the distance between Heaven and Earth to find you. I will not abandon you now.
My friend, I know that you are discovering yourself—your own gifts and talents—and the world that I created for you. I know that you are beginning to make plans for your life. Will you not let Me help you? The Father and I have a very special plan for you, one that we created before you were even born. Let us discover this plan together, you and I. For there are others in the world who do not know Me, who hurt and cry out, but who have no one to help them. I want to send you in My place, to go to them and do the work I have created you for.
My love, I desire nothing more than that you would come to Me, not just when you are sorrowful or struggling, but also when you are satisfied and happy. I would have you share your life with Me, as I share My life with you. I especially desire that you come to Me in the Eucharist—you dwelling with Me and Me dwelling with you—for that is My greatest gift to you.
This day, and every day, I stand at your heart's door, knocking and asking entrance. Will you not let me in?
You are my Beloved, always.