Questions from Teens

Real-life questions from real-life teens. Got a burning question about chastity or sexuality or anything else? Ask the REAP Team! Your responses will be answered by a REAP Team staff member. Go to our contact us page and choose 'QNA' from the drop-down menu.

I'm Concerned About the Faith of My Family Members

Dear REAP Team,

I recently have been getting really involved in church and being closer with Jesus. My family, on the other hand, just goes to church and thinks they are done! Every time I tell them they should get more involved they yell at me and tell me to mind my own business. I think I should just give up! What should I do? Read more »

Restoring Self-Esteem

I have low self esteem from past comments made to me. I try not to let them bug me but I can't help it. Do you have any advice?

  Read more »

Putting An Animal To Sleep

Dear Paul,

I was just wondering what our religion says about putting animals down if they are in pain. My family has a pet rabbit which is getting very old, has a broken foot, and is basically in a lot of pain. It makes me sad to see her like that, but I'm not so sure about putting her down either.

Dear Friend, Read more »

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do bad things happen to good people? Some of my friends and family have experienced some bad things, like disease, divorce, or death. And they are all good people. Why would God put them through that if they have done nothing wrong?

Dear Friend,

Thanks for writing. It is great to hear from you, and first of all we want to say that we are really sorry to hear of all the hard times that so many people you know are going through.

Watching people you care about experiencing hurt and pain can sometimes be worse than going through the hurt yourself. A lot of people have and will have the same question as you, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" So, you are not alone in asking this question. It's definitely one of the biggest mysteries of life and very difficult to understand how a God who loves us so much allows us to experience pain. To be honest, we don't know that there is a perfect explanation available. By definition, we believe that God is perfect, infinite and all knowing, so therefore we as imperfect humans can't begin to comprehend all that God does.

One of the things that we can think about when we think about human suffering - either our own or that of someone we care about - is how Jesus suffered for us. Something powerful happens to our hearts when in the midst of suffering we look at the Crucifix. Our suffering, when united to His, can give us a glimpse into His Heart and draw us closer to God. It is an opportunity for us to trust God, as the scripture says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6). God asks us to trust at all times, not just when we're in a good place.

That being said, we don't believe that God likes to see us hurt. We think He hurts and weeps right along with us, but sometimes the pain we go through has a greater purpose, something we can't understand at the time and may in fact never understand.

Something that is helpful to us is to look at all the blessings God has given us. Because we are all sinners, and even the best of us has fallen short, what we deserve is far less than the many blessings we receive. We find that when we focus on all that is good, then even in the worst of situations there is good to be found, and we are comforted.

We realize this isn't exactly an answer, but we hope it is helpful.

And we hope you don't mind if we point you to a couple of resources that might really help as you explore this difficult question.

1) A Jewish Rabbi named Harold Kushner wrote a book called "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" which many people have found to be extremely helpful. We are sure you could find it at any local library.

2) The book of Job in the Old Testament explores this same problem; we would encourage you to read it. Job was a good man, and he ended up losing everything dear to him. Interestingly, at the end there is no direct answer to Job from God, only God challenging Job to look at God's majesty...

3) Our previous Pope, John Paul II, wrote a great Apostolic Letter on "The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering" which we have read and which you can find by clicking on the link - it is a detailed article, but it is the best thing we have ever read on the topic, and offers a very unique and powerful Catholic/Christian approach the problem of human suffering. We love it because it calls us to reflect on our suffering in light of the sufferings of Jesus...and as Catholic Christians we believe that Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6) and therefore can help us find meaning even in the most difficult of times.

4) And, finally, check out this great article on suffering, but also please take the time to listen to the talk referenced at the end of the article in its entirety. It's one of the best talks we've ever heard on the topic, and you won't regret taking the time to give it a listen.

Please know that you and your family are in our prayers as you struggle through these hard times. We pray that you don't lose hope, and that you stay close to Jesus, always looking to Him for strength during your hard times.

God Bless,

The REAP Team

Is showering together unchaste?

Hey Paul, I have a question concerning chasity

My friend told me that he and a girl took a shower together!?  I won't go into much detail, but apparently there was touching involved.  My friend reasures me that he did not go too far and that he stayed chaste the entire time. He even said, "I've read Heather's book, nothing I did was unchaste!"

So my question is:  was he staying chaste? And what should I do? Read more »

Am I too picky in dating?

Dear Heather,

I'm a 23-year-old female who is completely happy with every aspect of her life except the fact that I cannot seem to find a good guy or even a good date. I do not seem to be attracted to many of the good guys interested in me, but then other guys seem to be fake and only interested in me for superficial reasons. Are my startands too high? Just how picky is too picky?

- High Expectations

Dear High Expectations, Read more »

Can I punch mean kids at school?

Can I please punch the mean kids in my class?  They drive me crazy. I try to be friends with them from time to time, but just end up more frustrated and hurt. The girls remind me of the movie, "Mean Girls". I want to be popular and accepted, but I hate feeling so awful around these people. What should I do? I have to deal with them everyday! - Frustrated

Dear Frustrated, Read more »

Why won't God answer my prayer?

Why won't God answer my prayer? It was a simple, easy prayer for Him to be able to answer. My sister and I prayed that it would snow for Christmas. We have never experienced a white Christmas. It is really hard to keep praying when I think He is not listening or does not care about me. Read more »

Am I called to be a priest or sister?

How do I discern whether or not I'm called to religious life or the priesthood? I think I'm called to marriage, but sometimes I also think that God might be nudging me toward religious life. If I get really open, I'm scared God will absolutely call me to religious life or the priesthood! What should I do? Read more »

Why didn't he call?

Dear REAP,

I really like this guy. He talks to me a bunch when we are together and then says he'll call or something, but he never follows through. I don't understand. What should I do?

Dear Friend, Read more »

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