Charlotte, 18, Preston

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Being a Catholic in our society can prove to be difficult, especially in the hectic life of a teenager who doesn’t want to miss out on anything. It’s not always easy to find the time to speak to God, or to remember to say a prayer at the end of each day, but in fact what I have learned about the Catholic faith in recent years is that we can speak to God anywhere. He is always with us, and speaking to Him is something we can all do. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘Actions speak louder than words’. Although it is very important to take quiet time away from our busy lives to speak to God, I have found that simply being ready to accept the challenges which He throws at us, and being ready to help other people is a great way of letting God know we’re still here. I have been to Lourdes three times now. Each time I go I find myself discovering my faith further, not only through time spent at the Grotto and in Masses, but through helping and chatting to the sick pilgrims. Hearing other people’s stories of their faith and seeing the hope they have has really encouraged me. The fact that the sick pilgrims are always smiling even though for some of them they know that this will be their last trip to Lourdes is very humbling. Suddenly, the problems of everyday life do not seem to be so large anymore: knowing that someone who is in far worse health than you can still manage to smile is something that has really inspired my faith.
Being ready to accept the challenge which God has set me and being able to help these pilgrims, not just physically but socially as well is something which has helped my faith to grow. I guess what I am trying to say is to keep smiling and be ready to accept whatever it is that God throws at you. You never know it could be your smile through a difficult time that inspires another person in their faith.