By: Bianca Ackerman

Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you three things…

One: my dependency on caffeine could be called concerning.

Two: I’m too clumsy to function.

And three: I’m a Life Teen nerd, like hardcore (if you see me after Mark Hart or the Life Teen twitter page favourites one of my tweets, you would consider having me committed).

Now honestly, the first two facts are irrelevant to this post. The first just keeps me alive, the second causes me daily peril, but the third has changed my life.

I discovered the amazing world of Life Teen in 2009, a year after my confirmation. I love my parish, my priest, our deacons and our catechists, but (not due to their lack of effort) I was woefully uneducated when it came time to my slap on the cheek.

You can then imagine how pleased I was to find out that our parish was to launch the Life Teen curriculum in June 2010. On top of that, I was going to be one of the core members asked to assist with catechising our high school teens, hopefully through God’s grace, prepping them better than I was for their Confirmation.

I love the amazing resources that Life Teen provides. It not only helped me grow in my knowledge of my Church, of God and myself, but it introduced me to a global community of Catholics that share that same goal.

The blogs, staff member tweets, YouTube videos and monthly webinars are just a few methods I use regularly to achieve that goal (and they’re free!!).

Last week, Life Teen launched their theme for the year, “Unfinished” such a simple word that has so many facets. In one word, they described what I have come to realise is my journey in this world.

One question I have often heard my protestant friends ask is, “Have you been saved?” I understand what they are trying to ask, but there isn’t just one moment when God has saved me. As the Church explains, we are on a constant journey of Salvation.

I draw great inspiration from St Peter. He was one of the first apostles Jesus called to follow him. As Luke tells us in his Gospel, Peter was just a simple fisherman, a man who had no great aspirations in life. Then one day, a carpenter approached him and enquired about his catch. Jesus told him to try the other side of the boat. His reply was, “we have worked all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower my nets”.

I marvel at Peter’s faith! As a man who had grown up as a fisherman’s apprentice, he was now following a carpenter’s son’s instruction. His faith was rewarded. As Luke continues, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. Jesus then promised him that if Peter followed Him, He would make Peter a fisher of men.

And what wonders Peter saw! From the feeding of the five thousand to the raising of Jairus’ daughter. He witnessed the calming of the sea, the Sermon on the Mount and the Transfiguration.

Yet, Peter’s faith also failed at times. When he leapt from the boat to reach his Lord, he doubted himself and sunk below the waves. Again, when Jesus was captured and put on trial, Peter denied even knowing Him. After all the marvels he’d seen Jesus perform, after all the teachings he had heard, he went back to his boat and started fishing for his living again.

My priest once noted that the disciples had no idea what they were going to do after Jesus died. They had no thought as to how they were going to continue His mission or His Church, so they hid in the upper room, fearful of what was to become of them. In hindsight, the solution seems obvious. They needed God and they needed His Holy Spirit which they were blessed with at Pentecost. With the Holy Spirit with him, our first Pope went out – as chronicled in Acts and the Epistles – to live his unfinished life.

Peter went on to grow with God, but his faith still failed him at moments. This is why I feel such a kinship with our first Pope. I too grow with God, and marvel at the wonders of my own salvation that His Grace gives me. But I too fail. I fail when I look away from Him and instead focus selfishly on myself. But I know He’s not done with me yet.

I love the fact that Life Teen has launched the theme “Unfinished” for this year, and I look forward to unwrapping the concept more. I feel we should be proud to call ourselves unfinished, and I know God has a plan for our lives that we can scarcely begin to imagine. I know when I come to God broken and sinful, He loves me as I am, but I also know that He loves me too much to let me stay that way.

About the AuthorIMG-20160427-WA0003

Bianca Ackerman

I am a caffeine addict to the extent I buzz (hence the nickname, Bee). I am a die hard cricket fan and self acclaimed nerd. I love learning more about my Church, my God and myself.