Speak To Me, I’m Listening!


Speak To Me, I’m Listening!

High school students have been encouraged to ask Bishop Paul Marchand questions concerning their faith. He is

enthusiastic about this opportunity to dialogue with young people and welcomes more questions and comments.

His response today is to the question:

“Why are we on earth and what can we do to change the world and make it a better place?

 It’s interesting to see that you actually have two questions in one:

Why are we on earth?

What can we do to change the world and make it a better place?

You are so right in asking these two questions in one. After all, since we are in the world, it is certainly to do

something positive, something beautiful, something great, each one of us, given unique and particular gifts, talents,

and abilities. I first thought of all the negative, destructive forces and events in the world: murder, war, corruption,

physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, poverty… the list could go on and on. However, as I pondered your question

about making the world a better place, I thought it impossible that the deepest, most profound desire of each and every

human being is not positive and constructive. Otherwise, how could we say that we are created in the image of God as

revealed in the Bible? If God is Love, He certainly can’t ‘want’ people to be bad and bad things to happen, and much l

ess ‘enjoy’ the results and consequences of sin and evil. Thus, it must be the same for us…

But the facts are plain and simple! The facts are there! God has given man the great gift of freedom. However, with that

freedom comes consequences. With that freedom man has chosen from the beginning to allow evil to enter his heart.

Soon thereafter, the negative consequences came to be. Take a look in your Bible at Genesis 4:1-8 where Cain killed

his brother Abel. One cannot change the world and make it a better place without first looking at one’s own heart.

The “interior struggle” between good and evil, choosing what is right and what is wrong, at times is difficult. This is

especially true in the times in which we live with so many negative and destructive influences that invade us and

threaten to overcome us. They are even more threatening and challenging if one does not feel that he or she is

really loved and appreciated by others. But the advantage of this interior struggle is that it offers us also the

opportunity to become stronger, to gain more confidence, to deepen our spiritual life, to improve our character, to

develop more confidence in God, and to be able to pray to Him more personally and more sincerely. Desiring change

for oneself and the world begins with little steps of courage and determination. Family, school, work, leisure, and

community life all furnish so many opportunities to do things to affect one’s world and make it better. Making good

decisions, for example, is already a big way to begin changing the world. The time will come, eventually, to choose a

career, a profession to gain your livelihood and be an adult member of society, all the while keeping in mind the goal

of making the world a better place. Inevitably will come an even bigger question, an even bigger choice to be made:

Marriage? Single life? Religious life? Priesthood? These choices are referred to as vocations.

A vocation is a calling that is deeper than my job or my profession. My vocation, in effect, is the direction I take for my

entire life and it calls me to total commitment to all aspects of it. And that deep motivation of which we are talking

remains always the same…“Change the world and make it a better place.” One day, during my studies, I remember

having asked a question like yours to an old and very wise man that I knew quite well. He answered me: “Paul, don’t

worry! Be open and generous, and you will go far in life.” He was right. It’s in the little things we do each day…open,

honest, kind, generous, and loving words and actions that make a difference, that make our world a better place. Our

secondary school experience is really just the beginning, a time of preparation to be able to do greater things after

graduation. Sure and certain, the choices that we make there affect our future and our ability to make the world

a better place. What we become, individually and collectively, has an impact on what the world will become.

It’s simple. Strive to become the best you can be and everything will fall into place… a better you and a better world.

If my answer raises other questions or comments, share them with others and share them with me. I am here to help

you. Just let me know. Until next time, ciao!


Bishop Paul Marchand

Bishop of the Diocese of Timmins