Keynote gives simple advice ‘Don't be stupid’
2/19/2011 9:25:00 PM by Patrick Buechi
“As a priest it is not my job to get you to heaven, I just point the way,” said Father Tony Ricard, keynote speaker at the 59th annual diocesan Youth Convention, early on Saturday morning.
In his charming and often funny way, he then told his version of Genesis, with God creating light and animals, and finally man, “because you can’t play ball with a tree.”
“God made us for a very specific reason. That reason was real simple. He wanted someone who was free to choose to love Him. The hardest part for us is the choice to love God or not love is really our choice,” Father Ricard said, advising his audience of 700 teenagers to spend time to go to church and read the Bible in their journey in faith. “Once we know God as much as we can, then loving Him becomes natural. If you know Him and love Him, serving Him is easy. If you know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world, you’re going to be with Him in heaven.”
Father Ricard, who hails from New Orleans, has traveled the world talking about his mother and the two pieces of advice she gave him. Maybe they were meant to be warnings.
“When you go out this door, remember who you belong to and don’t be stupid,” she would say to her three children.
As a representatives of his family, people would judge his parents by his behavior. To act badly, who reflect poorly on his parents. His mother also taught him that ignorance is when you don’t know something. Stupidity is when you know what’s wrong, but doing it anyway. In the Catholic Church, stupidity is sometimes referred to as sin. He simply phrased it as, “Ignorant people go to heaven. Stupid people burn in Hell.”
To drive home his message Father Ricard wrote a book called “Don’t Be Stupid,” and even sold bracelets with the DBS slogan emblazoned on them during the convention. He thinks the message is important as most teens have already heard anti-drug and abstinence messages by the time they are in high school.