Note: If your group has not seen The Conversion Story of Thirsting for Truth’s founder, Marcus Guevara, that might be the first thing you want to do.
One of the two most common questions I receive is “What is Thirsting for Truth” and “Why did you name the organization Thirsting for Truth?”
The answer to these two questions should be the first topic of your first meeting. It’s important for a new Thirsting for Truth group to know the mission of the organization and where it came from.
What is Thirsting for Truth?
Thirsting for Truth (TFT) is an organization that empowers young people to live courageously chaste, and Catholic, lifestyles. We offer speaking services (Marcus and Dianne Guevara), audio and video production, and the Young Adult program. As part of the TFT Young Adult program, and through My.ThirstingforTruth.com, we host a Catholic social network and forums to help young adults network within their groups, cities, and across the nation. The forums also help us facilitate further discussion on topics that are important to the growth and development of young adults.
Why did you name the organization Thirsting for Truth?
Originally, “Thirsting for Truth” was the name of a radio podcast Dianne and I (Marcus) produced in 2010. The name was inspired by the story of the woman at the well (John 4:4-30). In this story a Samaritan woman is traveling to a well in order to obtain water. Water, of course, is an essential need for every human being. Everyone get’s thirsty and water cures that thirst. Water is often used as a symbol of Truth. It is necessary to sustain a persons life and when it is pure it is very beautiful. We also need water in order to clean ourselves and remove impurities. I think the greatest imagery about water, and thirst, is that when we are dehydrated we need a drink of water. We can literally be dying of thirst and when we are really thirsty we become desperate for water. Nothing else in the world matters when you are that thirsty. I don’t want food, I don’t want to watch a movie, I don’t want to play sports…. I need water. Once I finally obtain a drink of water it tastes so good and is so refreshing. There is nothing more satisfying than a drink of water when you are extremely thirsty.
Truth is like our spiritual water. We can’t live without it. It is also beautiful, healing, and Truth can wipe away wounds and impurities in our hearts. Everyone wants to know the Truth about life, love, religion and anything else. They don’t want to be lied to. They don’t want to be fooled. They want to be told the Truth and when they have been fooled, lied to or duped many times they can become very spiritually thirsty.
What is profound about the story of the woman at the well is that she comes to the well for water and encounters a person.
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?”
Jesus tells her
“Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Her initial reaction shows she is still focused on satisfying her craving of physical thirst:
“Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
Considering that she just asked him for a never ending water supply – the next part of their conversation is a little odd…
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Jesus asks her to go call her husband. Weren’t they just talking about water? Why would he tell her to go call her husband? When she admits that she does not have a husband he does something interesting. He calls out that she has had five husbands and the one she is with is not her husband. That makes six men which is the number often used in Scripture to signify incompleteness or sinfulness. The number seven in Scripture represents completeness or holiness. Jesus, is telling this woman that he is the seventh husband – the perfect husband – who nourishes not just the body but the spirit as well.
It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fulness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.
– Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day August 19, 2000
Your “thirst” for love, for fullness, for greatness, and for truth, ultimately converge at a thirst for a person – Jesus Christ. The pursuance of relief from your thirst will led you to the well where you will encounter the true bridegroom. Here at Thirsting for Truth we simply try serve as a guide toward that well so that you can find the God who will make your love story great.
The New Young Adult Program
It seems like these days Young Adults don’t get a lot of love in ministry. We noticed that there is a great deal of ministry available to middle and high school students through parish programs like CCD, Confirmation, and organizations like LifeTeen. However, we found that after they graduate from those programs they often find their selves lost since there are not as many opportunities for young adults to be a part of a group at their parish. We decided to create a new young adult program to give them that opportunity to continue to grow in their faith and help them transition into adulthood. This program can be utilized at the parish, at colleges, in community groups, or by individuals.
We believe one of the reasons many adults are not equipped to deal with serious problems that may come later in life is due to a lack of formation through those important young adult years. For example, when two persons get engaged they approach their pastor if they intend to be married in the Church. In most places they are required to meet a few times with their priest and attend a weekend long retreat or seminar. In this one weekend they receive
1) Education on the Church’s moral teachings on sex and marriage (many of them hearing it for the first time)
2) Advice on how to communicate and handle conflict
3) Advice on budgeting and the importance of managing finances
4) Education on the Church’s teaching regarding children and parenthood
And they receive all of this in two days. It’s hard to imagine they will be able to remember it all, much less internalize it in a way that is effective for their long term benefit. These retreat weekends and seminars are great opportunities to introduce the couple to the beautiful teachings of the Church. However, some of the couples attending the retreat may already be adults who are carrying years of baggage into their marriage. They could already be in bad financial shape, have issues with the Church’s teaching on contraception and divorce, or any other number of problems. Additionally, these marriage preparation retreats are designed to prepare engaged couples for their vocation but what about those who are not getting married? Where are they getting their vocation preparation? This is what we hope to provide through our Young Adult program.
A Long Term Vocation Prep Program
Once teens graduate from teen programs they usually go to college or start working toward a career. This can be an exciting and scary time for them as they will begin a transition into adulthood. This could mean handling their own finances, paying their own bills, working for the first time, learning to deal with conflict, or potentially entering into their first serious relationship. Some might consider a vocation to the religious life and others may remain single throughout their journey. Whatever their destination (marriage, religious life, or single life) all will need similar preparation. That’s why we break our material up into the following categories:
Faith and Reason
– Every person needs tools to improve their relationship with God. This category facilitates learning more about God (Theology) and then helps Young Adults integrate Theology into their everyday lives
Theology of the Body / Vocation Prep
– TOB is not just for married people and it’s not just for people in relationships. TOB makes it possible to embrace Theology and enables effective discernment through the power of chastity
– It is important to begin teaching life skills at a young age. Many adults were never taught how to budget, good debt vs bad debt, how to handle conflict and how to communicate effectively
– The Church needs talented young people to build up the Church from inside and out
– We plan on developing young people in the areas of public speaking, writing, leadership and utilizing technology to help them be effective witnesses for the Church
You can read more about the Young Adult program here: A New “Open Source” Program for Young Adults
The next three meetings will break down each of these topics and set up the framework for the program. After that, each weekly meditation will fall under one of those categories.
Our mission, through this Young Adult Program, will be to help prepare priests. religious, married persons, and professionals, for their vocation long before some of them even decide on their vocation. All vocations can benefit from learning how to responsibly manage their finances, live chaste lives and become better public speakers and writers. Young Adults who attend a Thirsting for Truth group for years will slowly become equipped to become great in their vocation which will be a benefit to their spouse, children, and faith community. Better marriages, better parish communities and better children start with a better individual.