Getting to heaven is a bit like getting ready for the big game, according to Todd Lemieux. “If you’re playing a sport, you don’t play to be mediocre or average,” said Lemieux, 36, author of “100 Things Every Catholic Teen Should Know.”
“You have to put in the effort. You have to train. If we’re training to be with God in heaven, he wants you to be the best you that you can be. Go from good to better, from better to best and from best to completely awesome.”
Last Friday, Lemieux gave two talks at St. Thomas More Preparatory, located in Magnolia, Delaware. His first was to sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students from Holy Cross Elementary School and later he spoke to St. Thomas More high school students.
Lemieux, who tours the country speaking to youth and young adults, discussed self-respect, chastity, and living a life guided by virtues outlined in the Beatitudes. Lemieux was part of the scheduled lineup for the school’s third annual Spirit Riot, which also included Catholic recording artists The Matt Maher Band, but the event was canceled due to inclement weather.
“He’s able to touch on topics affecting this age group,” said David McKenzie, principal of St. Thomas More Prep. “I think most of them will hear what he has to say.”
Lemieux, who lives on Long Island, N.Y., where he and his wife are expecting their third child in March, said the lives of young adults are full of big decisions that affect everything.
“Where will you go to college? Will you get married? Who will you marry?”
Making the right decisions, he said, depends on how well young people train themselves.
“You have to put in the effort. If we want to better our lives we need to apply these virtues —faith, hope, love, courage, justice, moderation, prudence — to our entire lives, not just one area. Training yourself to get there prepares you for game-time decisions. There is no such thing as an overnight success.”
Citing the deadly sins, which he called “egoisms,” Lemieux said they were seven things keeping “us from being the best we can be.”
Love is more than a feeling — it’s a sacrifice, said Lemieux, who told students of his and his wife’s decision to remain chaste until marriage. “It would have been so easy to give into lust. But then what would our marriage vows have even meant? Sixty percent of marriages end in divorce and that’s why how you behave now affects that. If I waited three years for her, why would I ever cheat? Find the person who wants to get you to heaven. ... If you’re in a relationship and you can’t see yourself marrying that person, get out now.”
That’s not to say we live a life free of mistakes, he said. “The saints were a bunch of people who struggled with sin. Jesus fell carrying the cross. God doesn’t care where we have been. God cares where we are going.”
Printed with permission from The Dialog, newspaper for the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware.