|Life is a Puzzle: A Pieceful Retreat for Teens|
Part 4: It's Beyond Me…
summoned the Twelve and said to them, “You know that those who are
recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their
great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so
among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your
servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give
his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).
teaching calls us out to act with love and compassion towards everyone,
especially those in greatest need. This final corner, service,
identifies you as an active participant in your puzzle and in the
puzzles of others as a friend, a family member, and a spiritual being.
Service is going out and helping to meet the needs of those people
without getting paid for your work.
back, you've probably participated in service. You may have cleaned up
trash around your school or neighborhood, visited a nursing home or
hospital, served food at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, or even
lent a hand at a school food drive or church fundraiser. Write on a
piece of paper what your service activity was. Then write down the
first three feelings you can remember having during the experience.
Next, write down a distinct memory you have about doing that service,
what you liked and what you disliked about the experience.
this retreat, you have examined how your family, friends, and
spirituality are corner pieces in your life, pieces that frame how you
will complete the puzzle of who you are. You have seen how your
family, friends, and spirituality mirror you and draw you out of
yourself. How does service bring you out?
Fill out this quick survey. Draw from what you've learned about yourself during this retreat.
What are your three main interests?
What are two of your best personal qualities?
What are three of your strengths?
What are three of your weaknesses?
What motivates you?
What things do you and your friends like doing together?
What things do you and your family like to do together?
If you could snap your fingers and fix one thing in the world, what would it be?
Do you feel the call to service?
answers to these questions will help you figure out what kind of
service would be the best fit for you. If you are outgoing and want to
combat poverty, volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter may
be for you. If you're quiet and would like to save the earth, you can
clean up the neighborhood. If you're introverted but want to combat
poverty, you can get involved in collecting food or clothing for local
However, if you feel up for a challenge, take it on!
the following service activity ideas. Each section has ideas for
service activities involving the other three corners of your life.
Record on a piece of paper whether or not you would be willing to do
this activity. Think about your answer, and write down your reasons
why you think you could or couldn't do it. Record challenges,
excitement, and fears you may have.
Most importantly, when
considering the options pay attention to what your responses tell you
about yourself. This is the one corner for which you are completely
responsible, and in committing to service you want to make sure the
service you do is best for you, and that you are best for it.
Family and Friends
• Offer to baby-sit for your parents, family, friends, or neighbors—for free.
• Offer to mow the lawn, rake leaves, or shovel the sidewalk for an elderly neighbor.
• Visit your grandparents. Talk to them and find out if any of
their friends are lonely. Plan to visit them as well. You can spend a
few hours playing cards, talking, or simply hanging out.
At Your School
• If you're not ready to join an organization, find out what
organizations are active in service projects in your school. Groups
like SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving), Peer Tutoring, and Music
Ministry are good places to start. Usually these groups have flyers or
posters up in the hallways and can always use an extra set of hands.
• Many schools have food or clothing drives. In events like these,
everyone can participate in service by bringing necessary items.
However, these events don't run themselves. Offer to help in the
promotion, collection, or whatever else could use a few extra hands.
• Raise awareness for the homeless by organizing a sleep-out: a
fundraiser for local homeless shelters where students spend a night
sleeping outdoors in boxes and on the pavement. This is an effective
way to raise awareness in your classmates and the community.
In Your Parish or Community
• Your parish can always use new participants and voices to lend a
hand during Mass. Look in the gathering space or the bulletin for
opportunities to read, present gifts, sing, and collect offerings at
• Go to your priest or parish center to find out what
your parish diocese or local religious orders are doing that need your
• Local food shelves and soup kitchens are always
looking for volunteers to prepare and serve food, wash dishes, and hang
out with the patrons.
God, my fourth corner is my service, and for this opportunity I am
thankful. There is much more to life than me, though I am an important
part of it. Service is my way of acknowledging that I am a member of
the human community. Help me give the gift of myself to those in
need. When I look at them, I will find you. When they look at me,
they will see you. When I feel weak or afraid, show me that I can also
be strong and brave. Help me to trust in myself. Help to show love
for others, the way others have loved me. Guide me to act diligently
for the good of humankind. Let me be a beacon of selflessness, love,
and change for the better in the world.
Internet holds vast opportunities to find organizations and causes that
offer the opportunity to extend your reach of service across countries
and continents. National and international non-profit organizations
work to relieve hunger, repair devastation, fight injustice, and much
more. Visit our Social Justice Resources page for ways to get started.