Youth Matters: Give it up

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Home > Media > News > Youth Matters: Give it up
Youth Matters: Give it up

By Tomasz Juszczak, Director of Youth Evangelisation

I really enjoy a good cup of coffee. Now that restrictions have eased I’m looking forward to enjoying one even more with mates in a café! Catching up with friends over a coffee is good for our relationships. It’s also useful for work: some of my best work meetings have taken place in a café. But did you know that not having a cup of coffee can be just as – if not more – beneficial for your relationship with others?

“How could not having a coffee benefit someone else?” you may ask. Giving something up that you enjoy has great spiritual benefits. This may remind you of Lent, when we all look to give something up, or take on some form of penance, in order to work on our relationship with Christ. But giving something up isn’t only beneficial in Lent; it’s helpful anytime.

Very often, when our loved ones are having a hard time, we start to think about what we can do to help. We look at practical things, like spending time with them or taking them a thoughtful gift. Sometimes we’re cluey enough to remember spiritual ways to help them, like through prayer. We tend to forget that offering up penance for a particular intention is itself a very powerful form of prayer. Denying ourselves something we really like for someone else can work miracles. Coupled with prayer it’s a genuine force.

To get back to the example of coffee: it’s one of those beverages that many people I know cannot seem to live without. It’s the one thing they need in the morning in order to get started. I even know some people who start having withdrawal symptoms if they don’t get their morning coffee. Abstaining from something that we enjoy or are attached to so much makes this practice even more powerful, and it can have other benefits at the same time. Another example is giving up social media: we can give it up for a particular intention, but then also benefit from gaining all that time we’d usually spend scrolling through Instagram.

So, If you want to help a friend in need or become closer to those you love, by all means, head to a café and spend time with them. Just switch that coffee for a glass of water on occasion and watch what happens.