This week’s “From the Pastor” is an essay written by Liam Murphy, an eighth grader at St. Thomas More School who graduated with his classmates last weekend. Liam will continue his education at St. Plus X High School.

Faith Journey Through STM

Does God listen to me? Does He love me? Is He real? All questions that we ask as kids. As kids, we are seen as innocent and harmless, but yet we still ask these complex questions that adults struggle with. In religion class we are taught that God does listen, He does love, and He is real. But those are questions that we have to answer for ourselves, not ones that a teacher can answer for us. As we get older, we learn not only the answers to these questions but how to grow deeper in our relationship with God. At STM we are taught, especially in middle school, how much God loves us and that we should strive to grow in relationship with him. During my 3 years in middle school, I have noticed overall themes that each grade has focused on. In 6th grade, with Mr. C., we learned about the history of our faith and about the Old Testament. In 7th grade, with Mr. S., we focused on the daily mass readings and how they connected to getting rid of our personal agenda. Then in 8th grade we were introduced to the Daily Examen. The Examen prayer encompassed all of these themes. The Examen helps us grow in our faith by analyzing God’s presence in the past 24 hours. Now that I am older, I realize that if I was introduced to this prayer earlier in my life, my relationship with God would be much stronger. There have been several important moments in my life that have led to this overall faith journey.

In kindergarten, we had 8th Grade buddies. At that time we didn’t realize that God was working through us. Now, as an 8th grader, I realize that through my kindergarten buddy, God works through us in many ways. My kindergartener shows love and joy every time I see him. He spreads love through his happiness, innocence, and joy. I have learned that God works through love. I see God’s love through these little interactions with my Kindergartener. This has also taught me how to be aware of God’s presence throughout my day.

One of the biggest influences in my faith life today was the 8th Grade Retreat. This retreat really brought our class together as one family. All of the teachers comment about how this is one of their favorite classes over the years. The reason for that is because we are all so close. We have our ups and downs. But in the end, we get along really well. The 8th Grade Retreat taught me how many things we take for granted. It opened my eyes to the bigger things in life. Not our phones. Not Snapchat. Not liking every post on Instagram. But friendship and community with one another. That’s what is most important.

One of the most meaningful gospels that I have read was the Lazarus gospel. This gospel really helped me with the whole notion of choice and choosing between light and dark. We always have a choice between good actions and bad actions. This gospel taught me the importance of making good choices. The Lazarus gospel has helped me so much through my faith journey and especially through my teenage years.

The next step in my life is high school, at St. Pius. Lately I have been questioning if I’m ready for high school. But I have come to realize that I am definitely ready. STM has prepared me in so many ways. My faith life, education, knowledge…have all grown because of STM. I believe that my faith will continue to grow at St. Pius. So what’s next? What will high school lead me to? What will I experience? Whatever happens, I know that God will be right by my side, guiding me the whole way.