What’s Holding You Back?

Session2In his Encyclical* Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth), Saint John Paul II quotes the words of Jesus Christ:
“You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” – John 8:32 (VS#32)
Our session this past Sunday touched on this theme and what happens when we seek to be ‘free’ according to the Gospel. 

The Videncyclicaleos are all here ==>> Decision Point – Session 2.

We highly encourage parents and sponsors to watch them as well. Or, if you prefer, you can read the lessons in their entirety by clicking here

Opening Prayer:

O Lord my God, teach my heart this day where and how to see you, where and how to find you. You have made me and remade me, and you have bestowed on me all the good things I possess, and still I do not know you. I have not yet done that for which I was made. Teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking. Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you. Amen. – Saint Anselm

2.1. The Quest for Happiness  WB30

Our first video reminded us of our own enormous desire for happiness. In this section we are challenged to ask ourselves, “How long do you want to be happy for?”  Key concepts to look for: – differences between “happiness” as the world defines it, and how God intends it. – examples of worldly pleasure (short-lived happiness) – examples of long-term happiness – what makes you really happy? – how do you know what is the right thing to do?

  1. What are some of the things you desire that are good for you?
  2. What is something you thought would make you happy, but in fact left you feeling empty, unhappy, miserable, used, deceived, or worse?
  3. Describe a time when you had the wisdom and courage to follow your conscience, and you were glad you did.

2.2. Stinking Thinking  WB36

Even though God has given us incredible minds to reason with, we still do a lot of stinking thinking. This section looks at four worldly views that the world proposes for finding happiness. 
  1. How is “stinking thinking” holding you back from becoming the person God created you to be?
  2. Individualism, Hedonism, Minimalism, and Relativism: which of these are the biggest temptations for you at this time in your life?
  3. Describe a time when you embraced one of these broken philosophies. What was the outcome? How did you feel afterward? Did you become a-better-version-of-yourself?

 2.3. Hungry for the Truth  WB40

Let’s look at the difference between “your truth and my truth” which is relative to a person’s personal perspective, and “universal truth” which is bigger than all of us, and is recognizable across cultures. This kind of truth is closely connected to happiness. Watch the video and then answer the following discussion questions.
  1. Describe a time when you were not “hungry for truth,” when you didn’t want to know the truth. Why were you avoiding it?
  2. Think about a disturbing story you have seen in the news recently. What happened? Which of th eTen Commandments were broken?
  3. When we examine the Ten Commandments, the obvious ways of violating them are apparent, but what are some of the more subtle ways we can break them? (Note: most people will never be in a situation in which they are tempted to break the Fifth Commandment (You shall not kill. But most of us have killed someone’s reputation with gossip).
Note: in our discussion on the Ten Commandments, we looked at some examples appropriate for teens. Here is an examine of conscience using the Commandments that might be useful for your reflection.

 2.4  This is Personal  WB44

Now we look to the center of this week’s lesson: What’s holding you back? 
What is getting in the way of you becoming the best-version-of-yourself? Is it disordered desire? Stinking thinking? Bad habits? Drugs? Alcohol? 
This is a powerful video that asks us to confront the ‘snakes’ in our lives – those things that sooner or later are going to turn on us and bite us. WATCH THE VIDEO. We guarantee it will get you thinking.
  1. What did the story teach you about the rattlesnake make you think?
  2. What does the rattlesnake represent for you? Who or what is holding you back? What is it that sooner or later is going to turn on you and strike you down? How would your life be better if you could walk away from that rattlesnake?
  3. If you had more courage, what good thing would you do?


Let us listen to the story of Gideon from the Book of Judges, who was called by God to lead the Israelites back to God and away from false worship of Baal.

  1. If God called you to a great mission like he did Gideon, do you think you would say yes? Why? Why not?
  2. Like the Israelites, we have all: Gone looking for happiness in the wrong places, fallen into stinking thinking, turned our backs on the truth, and been too proud to admit our wrongdoing. When was the last time you acted like the Israelites?
  3. What does our culture worship?


Romans 7:21-25:  “I have discovered this principle of life that when I want to do what is right I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me…So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”


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