Understanding the Young Adult Culture

World Youth Day - Rome 2000

The culture in which young adults live now is not an easy one. We are expected to be all things to all people. We struggle to find balance in our lives. We battle the stereotypes of being called lazy, entitled and ungrateful. But most difficult of all, we are searching for something.

Young adults are grasping for truth. Most don’t know what the real truth is they seek – we see the effects of this in young adults who search for “truth” on the Internet, through websites and social networks, and from their friends. We see it in our society through the passions for political and social movements.

But as a faithful young adult Catholic, I know that our hearts desire God and the truth that comes from a real, true relationship with Him. Because of this increase in awareness, positive, hard-working and forward-thinking young adults exist and are growing in numbers. We are fed up with living false lives and seek the truth that comes from God. This gives me great hope.

Often we faithful young adult Catholics are the lone voice in the fight to uphold the dignity of marriage and life in the workplace … and even among friends. We see our peers who engage in a hook-up culture and know that there is something more available to us and are glad to pursue it despite the criticisms and accusations of hate and “out-dated” values we have.

Thousands of us still choose to love and serve Jesus Christ and His Sacred Church. We attend Sunday Mass (and often daily Mass) and are active leaders in our parish, all while working full-time jobs, spending time with family and friends and discerning or living out our vocations. Whew. That makes me tired just writing it! With all those balls in the air, something surely must be dropped, right?

For me (and I bet I’m not alone here), it’s my interior life. It’s the first thing I neglect. It’s easy to say yes to another happy hour or another volunteer opportunity and no to that quiet night you had set aside for reflection and what so many now call “alone time.”

In order to live the life capable of seeking and living pure truth, we must prepare our hearts. Life is more than living outwardly our faith. God calls us to a solid interior life. But in the world we live in, do we let ourselves foster this? I know I have much to improve on here.

We are constantly connected (dare I say addicted?) to our computers, tablets and smart phones: emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram … where is the time set apart to be connected to the Lord? Quiet time. Prayer. Silence.

In Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the 46th World Communications Day, the Holy Father called all people to silence. He said:

“In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves.”

I find it ironic that the Holy Father’s Communications message was about silence – perhaps the Pope’s goal! But this has been something I’ve spent a great deal of time contemplating: through silence, we become better communicators.

Just the other day, I saw a tweet from the Holy Father’s Twitter account (@Pope2You): “#Silence2012 is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist”

How true this is! Do I, as an extremely busy young adult, allow God to work in me through silence so that I can better see Him in the millions of words I hear and see everyday?

I’ve seen the use of the Twitter hashtag “#silence2012” by many of the people I follow and it’s been humbling to see the lack of silence we each have in our lives. At least I know I am not the only one.

But I challenge each of us, young adult or not, to embrace more silence in our daily lives. Our restless hearts will find greater peace when we allow ourselves not just to seek, but to FIND God in new and deeper ways. We can achieve balance and truly live in the culture as great examples of faith and values.

I conclude with some of my favorite words from St. Augustine: “Our Hearts are restless, O Lord, until they find rest in you.”


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About the Author

Sarah Vabulas, affectionately known as "Vabs," was born and raised in the Atlanta area. She left her southern roots to pursue her collegiate endeavors at Saint Mary's College at Notre Dame where she majored in communication studies and religious studies. While at school, she worked for the Notre Dame daily student newspaper, where she ran the Opinion section for three years while also serving as Assistant Managing Editor. She spent one summer interning at The Washington Times writing editorials, serving as Letters Editor and showing her that she too, could run for public office one day. After graduating, she worked for a Congressman in the United States House of Representatives for 3 years before finally realizing she could turn her social media addiction into a paying career. She works in social media as an account manager and trainer. Sarah is a beer connoisseur who is also a Catholic geek who has somehow managed to fool many into thinking she's "cool" with her social media presence as the "Catholic Drinkie" where she blogs about living as a faithful young adult Catholic and her passion for a good beer. She also loves Notre Dame football, the Atlanta Braves, New York City, traveling, running long distances, 80s music, her Wayfarers & Members Only jacket. She dreams of one day having a beer with the Pope or Cardinal Timothy Dolan. She's the Spiritual Coordinator for the 20/30 Somethings group at her parish, the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.

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