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Since my wife Sara and I fast on Ash Wednesday, we decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day together last night.  We combined it with Mardi Gras and pigged out on pancakes and maple syrup in the spirit of celebrating and renewing our love for each other.  As the Fat Tuesday tradition goes, we feast and celebrate and use up ingredients that we will put away for the great fast of Lent.  Today we won’t be sharing in any of the chocolates, red wine or cinnamon hearts as many will on Valentine’s.  But this got me thinking - what if there is something to learn by having Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s on the same day?

I met Rachael at a grade 7 retreat in Okotoks, Alberta this past week. While I was introducing myself to the retreatants, I mentioned that, true to PEI stereotypes, I like potatoes. Upon hearing this, a hand shot up and a girl yelled “I love potatoes, too!”. In the moment, I was only thankful to have an energetic person in the group and so I was surprised later when I discovered that she was in my small group. Rachael didn’t talk a lot during our first couple of groups, but still, she was always smiling and you could almost feel the joy radiating off of her.

I went to a Catholic school for all of my primary and secondary education years.  While I had lots of fun and learned a lot, I wasn’t exposed to too many Catholic-Christians who would say their lives were 100% centred around Christ and the Church.  I was exposed to the Catholic religion less of a hardcore way and in more of an academic way. The problem wasn’t the fact that it was a more theoretical approach to Christianity – the problem was I didn’t know there was more to know, or that Jesus was someone you could know personally.  I thought I knew everything about Jesus.  And so did most of my peers.

And so there were lots of doubts, and few of us felt compelled to follow Him.

So here are five things I wish I could tell teens about Jesus that would help them understand why some people are utterly convicted to live a life centred on Him, and why maybe they could consider stepping closer to Him as well.