To achieve this, Schesnuik said, is to bring the Catholic teachings of virtue and vices into play.
Schesnuik led a young adult seminar at Toronto’s St. Gabriel’s Passionist Church May 7 called “Faith, Finance and Self-Knowledge.” Schesnuik, along with pastor Fr. Brando Recana and Rose Heron, program director of Natural Family Planning Association, talked about how Catholic young adults can grow in their faith through all aspects of their life.
“What I really hope that people would do is I hope they will develop a plan of life,” he said. “I hope people will walk out and they’ll say to themselves, ‘I want to become a saint, and how do I do it?’… That they have the opportunity to become a saint.”
Schesnuik worked as a financial advisor before he became manager of Planned Giving and Personal Gifts for the Archdiocese of Toronto. He spoke not only about handling finances but also how to balance lifestyle with Catholic values.
He said often young people who finish university will travel the world to find out who they truly are, a situation not unfamiliar to older people experiencing a mid-life crisis.
“This is the great confusion of the modern era,” he said.
Schesnuik said young people today face a unique cultural and personal dilemma. People are defining themselves based on what they buy. People project themselves through the clothing they wear, the branding, what cool new technology they have, their car and so forth.
“I think there’s that instant gratification society we live in,” he said. “Having this retreat and having the time and having a moment to stop will bring people to a moment of deep reflection as to where we are going and who we want to be when we get there.”
There is a lot of pressure today, especially for young people, on getting a good job, on handling their own finances and on handling debt. Through these discussions he hopes to show attendees the proper relationship they should have with their finances and how they should bring God into the mix.
Taking a look at greed and our desire for material things is in itself a vice. Schesnuik compared this to carrying a cross, a practice of self-control and holding ourselves back from something that we want to do such as making an impulsive purchase.
He said to be a saint is not to simply throw away all your possessions and move to Calcutta. What he wants people to consider is how they can sanctify their everyday life. Leaning your habits on a more virtuous route and doing things as small as holding yourself back from impulse buying or being in a good mood when you talk to someone you’re not too fond of is a good start, he said.
(Uy, 18, is a first-year advertising student at OCAD University in Toronto.)