My Dear Young People,
I am pleased to announce that in October 2018 a Synod of Bishops will take place to treat the topic: “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” I wanted you to be the centre of attention, because you are in my heart. Today, the Preparatory Document is being presented, a document which I am also entrusting to you as your “compass” on this synodal journey.
I wanted you to be the centre of attention, because you are in my heart
I am reminded of the words which God spoke to Abraham: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Gen 12.1). These words are now also addressed to you. They are words of a Father who invites you to “go”, to set out towards a future which is unknown but one which will surely lead to fulfilment, a future towards which He Himself accompanies you. I invite you to hear God’s voice resounding in your heart through the breath of the Holy Spirit.
When God said to Abram, “Go!”, what did he want to say? He certainly did not say to distance himself from his family or withdraw from the world. Abram received a compelling invitation, a challenge, to leave everything and go to a new land. What is this “new land” for us today, if not a more just and friendly society which you, young people, deeply desire and wish to build to the very ends of the earth?
But unfortunately, today, “Go!” also has a different meaning, namely, that of abuse of power, injustice and war. Many among you are subjected to the real threat of violence and forced to flee their native land. Their cry goes up to God, like that of Israel, when the people were enslaved and oppressed by Pharaoh (cf. Ex 2:23).
I would also remind you of the words that Jesus once said to the disciples who asked him: “Teacher […] where are you staying?” He replied, “Come and see” (Jn 1:38). Jesus looks at you and invites you to go with him. Dear young people, have you noticed this look towards you? Have you heard this voice? Have you felt this urge to undertake this journey? I am sure that, despite the noise and confusion seemingly prevalent in the world, this call continues to resonate in the depths of your heart so as to open it to joy in its fullness.
This will be possible to the extent that, even with professional guides, you will learn how to undertake a journey of discernment to discover God’s plan in your life. Even when the journey is uncertain and you fall, God, rich in mercy, will extend his hand to pick you up.
In Krakow, at the opening of the last World Youth Day, I asked you several times: “Can we change things?” And you shouted: “yes!”. That shout came from your young and youthful hearts, which do not tolerate injustice and cannot bow to a “throw-away culture” nor give in to the globalization of indifference. Listen to the cry arising from your inner selves! Even when you feel, like the prophet Jeremiah, the inexperience of youth, God encourages you to go where He sends you: “Do not be afraid, […], because I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:8).
Even when the journey is uncertain and you fall, God, rich in mercy, will extend his hand to pick you up
A better world can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change and your generosity. Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master.
The Church also wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism. Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls. St. Benedict urged the abbots to consult, even the young, before any important decision, because “the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.” (Rule of St. Benedict, III, 3).
Such is the case, even in the journey of this Synod. My brother bishops and I want even more to “work with you for your joy” (2 Cor 1:24). I entrust you to Mary of Nazareth, a young person like yourselves, whom God beheld lovingly, so she might take your hand and guide you to the joy of fully and generously responding to God’s call with the words: “Here I am” (cf. Lk 1:38).
With paternal affection,
Given at the Vatican, 13 January 2017
Lots of different images come to my mind when I think of the word ‘home’.
First, the house where I live with my parents in the Northern Suburbs of Brisbane. The sloped driveway, incessant plover birds, our dog Chief barking at 5 in the morning and the smell of freshly cut grass in the summer. I then think of our old house in Western Australia. That still feels like home in an odd way – I can still close my eyes and mentally walk the streets of the entire suburb of Waikiki, where I grew up five minutes from the beach.
I also think of my fiancé, Katelyn, and our nearly realized dreams of having our own physical space all to ourselves, together at last! That would surely feel like home, a new and exciting home as husband and wife.
Finally, I think of my Church. I think of my local parish on a Sunday morning, alive with the familiar face of community. Coffee cups tinkling, Fathers old jokes that only half make sense. The smell of snags on the BBQ, a simple affair raising some money for the youth group, or an upcoming mission trip or the local Vinnies conference.
I think of my office in that same Parish, where I work. The ladies from the front desk always offering me a cup of tea or coffee even though I’ve never said yes. Children tapping on the window asking for lollies with big eyes.
For me the notion of home calls up all these images and places. What feels like home to you? Maybe it’s a certain place, a familiar smell. Just a ‘feeling’ you get.
If you had told me just a few years ago that I would find a home in the Catholic Church, I may have laughed at you! Me, finding a home in organised religion?
You will know they are Christian by their love
How did this happen? Great question! The easiest and most honest answer to this question is: people.
In my younger rebellious days (I’m still rebellious I promise) the people around me heavily influenced the choices I made. In some cases, this led me down some dark paths, and the wounds of those choices are still healing today. My biggest fear was that I would not have a home. That I would not have people, a place, or something identifiable, to truly belong to.
When I moved across the country from Perth to Brisbane, that need intensified. This new place was definitely not home. The same pattern emerged – the people around me heavily influenced the choices I made because I wanted to feel at home, no matter the choices I made, unhealthy or not.
The deep desire underneath the unhealthy choices I made was not bad – all of us want a place to belong, a place to feel like home. Even if you are the type of person who can’t live in one place for more than five minutes, there surely is a place where your heart and soul comes to rest, like a piano resolving the chord. My heart was stuck on a discord, trying desperately to resolve, to find peace and rest.
My girlfriend, whom was quite open and strong in her Christian faith, invited me along to a few events.
It was there I encountered people of faith. People, who were confident in themselves but accepted me where I was in life. People who never shied away from drawing out the best in me, through their example, their encouragement, and their honesty.
The Church is, after all, made up of people. As I became more involved in the young community of awesome faith leaders mixed in with people my own age, experiencing life in similar ways to me, I slowly began to feel that odd, familiar feeling that happens when you just know that this is where your heart belongs.
I started to feel like I had a home in the Catholic Church.
Home is where God’s heart is
Ultimately, it was through the people I encountered, the very Church itself, that I developed a personal relationship with God. This is Gods heart – to be in relationship with us. And if the Church is the people, then Gods home is with His Church – in the hearts of His people.
In the home I have found in the Church, I am fed and nourished by the Eucharist. Jesus is waiting for me all the time in that special room of Gods house. In this home my faults and failings don’t define me, and they aren’t swept under the rug either. At any time I can go to a priest and directly, humanly experience divine mercy and forgiveness. In this home I am surrounded by a community of friends and family who support, encourage and challenge me, who ultimately want the best for me, and who are on their own faith journey alongside me. We grow in this home together, in Gods heart as a family.
Often-times I get angry at this new home of mine, at how it is run in certain areas. Or I might fight or argue with Brothers and Sisters living under the same roof. Or (and this is both a metaphor and a habit) I might leave the house entirely and come back quietly at some early hour of the morning. Whatever the case may be, I know that my heart still rests with God, and that my home will always be with His people, the Church.
My encouragement for anybody new to the faith, unsure about the Church, or even considering what have a relationship with God looks like – get to know the people. Millions of people living and billions of people past have found a home in the Church. God finds His home in our hearts. Find your home in His heart – He resides in the hearts of His people, who are the Church. Knock anytime!
Matt Ross is the Youth coordinator at All Saints Parish Albany Creek. He also works as a presenter for Real Talk Australia, and is currently studying a bachelor of secondary education at Australian Catholic University. Matt is looking forward to getting married to his Fiance’ Katelyn in December this year.
The views expressed in the Catholic Collective blog do not necessarily represent the views of the Youth Evangelisation Office or the Archdiocese of Brisbane
Picture this: It’s a 2015 Deanery Youth Trivia night and I’m sitting at a table with Steph, the Darra-Jindalee Youth Coordinator, her husband and a few friends. We are all laughing and getting into the spirit of the night, enjoying the games and doing our best to mime a New Testament story (about a sheep I think) when Steph turns to me and says: “Hey Francis, would you be interested in coming along to Life Teen?” While I was quick to say “yeah sure!”, it wasn’t until this years Life Teen camp that I realised just how much being a Core Crew leader means to me.
I often find myself looking forward to Life Teen camp. You would have to call it the ultimate Life Teen experience particularly this years, as the theme was “I Dare You To Move”, answering Pope Francis’ challenge to not be boring couch potatoes, but to make our mark on the world. This year I spoke about St Paul starting from his past as the feared and Christian-hating Saul of Taursus to his conversion to become Paul.
St Paul answered the call to get off the couch after acknowledging his sins and seeking forgiveness before going on to convert the masses to Jesus Christ and spread the Good News. Although his initial conversion was an extreme one, St Paul is known to have experienced conversion daily, acknowledging his sinful ways often in his numerous letters and willing others to do the same.
His life is an amazing example of faith and how we, too, should seek to experience conversion daily by acknowledging our sins and seeking forgiveness through reconciliation.
Researching my talk gave me a chance to reflect on my Life Teen experiences so far. Why was I so quick to say “yes” to become a Core Crew leader?
Darra-Jindalee Life Teen brings our young people together and inspires them to become the next generation of fire-starters, filled with the Holy Spirit to champion the word of God to those around them through faith and love.
It provides a safe and joyful place for young people to speak openly about their faith and life experiences; and teach them what we, as Catholics, believe. This makes being a Core Crew leader worthwhile but actually, it’s not why I said “yes” during trivia to a Youth Coordinator I hardly knew.
As a young kid, my heroes were always the ones on T.V. fighting bad guys and saving the day. While I looked up to my parents, I never had someone personable to look up to, as a scared and awkward teenage boy, who was trying to live out his life in a society that rejects the idea of a loving God. So after falling on hard times myself and getting through it, I made a promise to myself that if I could be of help: I would work with young people and help them on their faith journey. Clearly God heard me make that promise to myself and promptly provided me with an opportunity to make good on it.
As it turns out saying “yes” to being a Core Crew leader was actually me saying “yes” to God just like St. Paul did on the road to Damascus.
I almost saw Life Teen as an opportunity to meet my younger self through other young people facing similar social and personal pressures, and reassure them not to be afraid, because Jesus is always with you.
As a leader on the recent camp I realized something that I wasn’t quite prepared for: While I had planned to lead the young people closer to Christ, it was they who are helping me get there too. There are some spectacular young people out there! It was quite special for example to listen to Alex, a Year 11 student, give witness to how his faith remains strong even as others judge him, and to read Nick’s blog post, about how much this years camp and the friendships he’s made through Life Teen means to him. What was truly a marvel to me was seeing how young people like Alex and Nick can display such maturity beyond their years to challenge me not to be afraid of proclaiming my faith.
It has been a real honour working with the Life Teen Core Crew and building great friendships with these young people. You can be certain that the Catholic Church is in safe hands when it is finally their turn to lead and light up the world.
Francis Hoang is a member of the Darra Jindalee Life Teen core crew. This blog post was syndicated from the Darra Jindalee Life Teen blog. Click here to go to the original blog post.
My friends all know that I can be a bit of a neat freak, organised, task oriented kind of person, so when I saw the title of Chapter 4 of Divine Renovation, I must admit I couldn’t wait to read it. “Cleaning out the junk” has my name written all over it.
On weekends, my husband and I will often watch TV (ok so we may or may not be known for binge watching Netflix). But even as we binge watch TV, I can’t just sit there. I have to bring a drawer out of the bathroom and start clearing out the junk or be folding washing or dusting our living area. There is a sense of accomplishment, a sense of clearing out the unnecessary, starting again.
I loved this chapter because for me it felt like spring cleaning the Church I love.
Time and time again, Fr Mallon uncovers problems within our Church and names them – not in a way that puts down the Church, but rather in a hope-filled way that names a problem so that we can start to deal with it. Fr Mallon doesn’t call them problems, but rather temptations and draws pretty heavily on Pope Francis’ teachings.
These temptations include things such as sociological reductionism, psychologising, Gnosticism, Pelagianism, Jansenism, clericalism, functionalism or even (get this) “self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism”.
Ok so I realise that if you haven’t studied theology (formally or informally), these may be foreign concepts to you, but Fr Mallon does a wonderful job of explaining them.
This was the chapter that hooked me in to keep reading this book. I had so many moments of revelation where jumbled ponderings in the back of my mind finally came to the forefront because I felt like someone had articulated some of my greatest concerns about the Church and then said “it’s gonna be ok.”
There’s nothing like a good spring cleaning… for our house, for our minds or for our Church.
And as a Church we need it, because like Fr Mallon says, “Only a Church filled with an army of missionary disciples can change the world.”
Teresa McGrath is the Youth Project Consultant for the Archdiocese of Brisbane, and heads up the Youth Evangelisation Office.
Have you ever called a friend at like 8:30 on a weeknight, asking them to hang out and they give you this umm’ing and ahh’ing response? ‘I’ve got work in the morning dude, I don’t want a late night’, ’I’ve got an assignment due next week’, ‘I just found out Lost is on Netflix and I’m not leaving the house for 3 days.’
You know what I’m talking about – you could tell them how it wouldn’t kill them to come hang for a few hours, how it would be fun, how they could be home by a reasonable time, how they have plenty of time to write that reflection for uni – but it would sound rude so you don’t say anything. You could probably convince them, but there’s something off about having to persuade a friend to hang out with you.
And yet, there’s definitely been a time in all of our lives when we’ve been on the other end of that phone call. We’ve been the people who can see the value in saying yes – but we can’t get past that blockage. It might feel like too much effort, that we’re ‘tired’, we have stuff to do, or that we’ve been really busy lately and just need to put our feet up.
There is this time when Jesus is walking on the road to Jerusalem and He is speaking to the people around him:
Jesus told someone else to come with him. But the man said, “Lord, let me wait until I bury my father.” Jesus answered, “Let the dead take care of the dead, while you go and tell about God’s kingdom.” Then someone said to Jesus, “I want to go with you, Lord, but first let me go back and take care of things at home.” Jesus answered, “Anyone who starts plowing and keeps looking back isn’t worth a thing to God’s kingdom!” Luke 9:59-62
I can imagine Jesus being frustrated in this story, in the same way we might be frustrated by that friend who flakes a little too often. He knows they want to follow Him, but they limit themselves with small-minded worries. I like to think Jesus would be the guy on the phone to his friend saying, ‘Really? You’ll be fine, just come and hang.’
The best reply they can offer is ‘Yes! But…’
Jesus is inviting them on this incredible journey, one that they know they deeply desire – and yet some part of them blocks that immediate and total ‘yes’. In one sense their excuses aren’t shallow, they’re desiring to respect their families. On the other hand though, the gravity of being personally invited by Jesus to follow Him is being blocked by worldly limitations. The best reply they can offer is ‘Yes! But…’
The person in this story who wants to go “take care of things at home” instead of following Jesus immediately acknowledges how much they would like to follow Him. Their internal desire is to say yes, but it’s blocked by a false limitation they have set up for themselves.
This inside desire, of following Jesus in a radically risky way can so often for us be blocked by similar limitations. We can feel called by God to serve and grow in a particular way, yet we let tiredness, busyness or laziness creep in and shut it down.
Jesus desires that your inside desire, your natural disposition – come out and be made alive in your life. That the call to follow Him be responded to with an immediate and enthusiastic ‘yes’ – not despite but because you are busy, tired or stressed.
Whether that call for you is to follow Jesus through serving others, through a stronger prayer life or through seeking the sacraments – we are called to take a little risk, lose a little sleep and fight a little harder to bring those deep yearning desires from the inside out.
**This article originally appeared on Ignite Youth’s article page found here http://igniteyouth.com/articles.
Liam works for Ignite Youth where he uses his many
talents including graphic design and working with
young people. He is also a gifted musician and plays
drums for Emmanuel Worship.
Victory! My team just finished an Amazing Race through the beautiful Mt Coo-tha Botanical Gardens. With my competitive spirit and love for the outdoors there are not many other ways I would rather spend my Saturday afternoon. Pleased and exhausted, I lay down in the sun to pray, and memories of all the previous times I had come to this place began to flood my mind. Over the past 18 months I must have come here on at least five separate occasions.
During this time I have transformed and matured significantly, however, there is one thing about me that has been the same throughout: I realised that despite appearing composed, calm and joyful to my friends and family who have accompanied me on these days, on the inside my brain has been in a different place. On each of these days I have felt like a ‘mess,’ worried, challenged and confronted about one thing or the other. I offered this moment; these memories and thoughts, up to God. Why am I always worried about something? Why can’t I just be happy with where I am? Why am I ALWAYS a mess?
As the ‘mess’ ran rings around and around in my mind, I remembered the same word being used in a different light. I remembered Pope Francis telling us to make a mess, that God wants us to make a mess;
“Make a mess, but then also help to tidy it up. A mess which gives us a free heart, a mess which gives us solidarity, a mess which gives us hope.”
God doesn’t want me to settle or to be complacent with where I am or what society tells me. God calls me to ‘mess up’ the realities I face every day in myself and in our world. As a wise friend of mine said, God expects us to ‘transcend societal expectations.’ We cannot be satisfied, or just accept what the world presents to us. We need to make a difference, to be the face of change in our world.
And that starts in our minds.
In that moment of prayer I realised that this mess is exactly where God wants me to be. In fact, if I wasn’t a mess, if I was completely happy with where I was, if I was not feeling challenged or scared or out of my comfort zone, I would be ignoring His call in my life.
Lord I pray that I will never cease to make a mess, that I will continually seek your plan for my life. Give me the courage, the wisdom & the strength to step out of my comfort zone and be an illustration of St. Catherine of Siena’s teaching that; if I am who God calls me to be, I will set the world on fire.
The Gospel offers us the chance to live life on a higher plane, but with no less intensity: “Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others.” Evangelii Gaudium 10
**This reflection originally appeared on UQ Chaplaincy’s reflections page found here www.uqcatholicchaplaincy.com/reflections**
This reflection was written by Karen,
who likes carrots and ice-cream, but not at the same time.
She was recently converted to the fine art of napping,
and will take any opportunity she gets to curl up on a comfy couch.
I hate going to the doctor!
Going to the doctor means that I have to admit that there is a problem. 8 years ago I fell off a horse and broke my wrist. I have since learnt that your wrist is made up of 8 tiny bones. I broke one of those tiny bones called the scaphoid bone. Because it was only a small break in a small bone, I initially didn’t think that I had broken it. I just thought/hoped that it was probably a bad sprain. I spent the next 4 months living with the pain of a broken bone, hoping it would get better by itself…
I finally went to the doctor, had an x-ray and found out the truth.
It was only when I was willing to admit that there might be something wrong and seek the right help that I was able to begin the journey towards healing.
Now, I know that many of you are probably out there thinking ‘what an idiot. Why didn’t he just go to the doctor?’ Well the answer was that I didn’t want to face the reality of the situation. A broken bone meant that I couldn’t work for a while, probably some time in a cast, possibly added expenses etc.
As I read chapter 3 of divine I couldn’t help but see the parallels between my broken wrist and the way Fr James writes about the need to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge the pain that can often be present in the Church and its members.
Admitting there is a problem
This chapter is a raw and, at times, brutally honest look at some of the issues the Church is facing today; the pain of the sexual abuse scandals, the pain of seeing the Church in decline, the pain of unmet expectations of both priest and congregation and many other pains.
While reading I felt like I was getting an insight into the pain that is felt most particularly by our priests, the shepherds of our faith communities.
It was clear that the only way to move beyond this pain was to acknowledge it, to bring it into the light and to grieve it.
The brick wall
What struck me the most though was the pain that many priests feel after their ordination, when they enter into parish life. Fr James used the phrasing of flying 100 miles an hour into the “brick wall” of parish life.
It must be difficult for some of these men who have decided to give over their lives to serve the Church in this way, who have spent years studying, who come out of the seminary full of zeal, passion and fervour to then go into a parish setting where that passion and zeal and fervour may be seen as an unwanted intrusion into the status quo of the parish.
This challenge is animated by an anecdote in the book where Fr James is asking one of his parishioners to join an alpha group and the parishioner’s response is “Look Father, I am just not that religious”. If this is the message our priests are getting it is little wonder that their passion, zeal and fervour may wane over time.
It can certainly be a difficult thing to acknowledge and to talk about our pain. There are many reasons why it is just easier to go on as if there is nothing wrong, to simply limp through it. But as I discovered with my broken wrist, it is not until we name, acknowledge and grieve the pain and the loss that we suffer that the healing can actually begin.
We at the youth evangelisation office encourage you to join us in reading Divine Renovation.
Chapter 3 can be a bit of a hard read, but it is exciting to see what can happen in our faith communities when we have the courage to
ask some tough questions.
You can grab a copy from www.bookdepository.com/Divine>Renovation
Jeremy is the parish support officer for youth ministry
in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. He is married and has
an 8 month old son. Jeremy is passionate about
promoting the dignity of the family and the human person.
The Truth of It
I’m a huge Will Smith fan. Over the past few months I was eagerly anticipating the release of his latest film, Concussion. Somehow I missed its release at the cinemas, and I’ve been kicking myself for it. I finally got to watch it last night, as my wife and I streamed it online (legally).
I found the story inspiring – and not only because it starred Will Smith! It was inspiring to me because it tells the story of a man who lives his life so fully that he impacts the world in a real way.
If you don’t know the film, it’s a re-telling of the real life story of Dr Bennet Omalu, a brilliant forensic pathologist.
While working in a Pennsylvania coroner’s office, he performs an autopsy on a former National Football League (NFL) player, Mike Webster, in whom he discovers a degenerative brain disease caused by numerous head traumas from playing football. Omalu publishes his findings and challenges the NFL to do more to protect its players.
Of course, a money making machine as big as the NFL doesn’t accept Omalu’s findings, which would diminish their product. The NFL ignores Omalu and tries to shut him down.
Here is the crisis of the story: Omalu is faced with the choice between telling the truth and facing further ridicule; or drop the whole thing and protect his reputation. It’s not easy choice – Omalu isn’t just challenging the NFL organisation, he’s challenging an American ideal and culture itself. It’s in the centre of this crisis that the movie depicts a moving conversation between Omalu and his wife. Omalu’s wife reminds him that he has a truth and urges him to tell it.
Tell your truth. Live your truth.
Because if you don’t – who will?
That might sound simple, or it might sound fluffy – let me break that down a bit more. What it means is that we all have truths in our lives: the truth of where we come from, our family upbringing, our significant experiences, our education. As Christians we have a particular religious truth of beliefs and lifestyle. As a married man, I can look at my wedding ring daily and be reminded of the vows I made with my wife – those are truth.
As we go about every day, we have a routine or a job or we go to school and study and we have relationships – all because it’s true that we need to earn money or learn things or interact with others. Because if these things weren’t true, human life would look drastically different.
I believe at the core of who we are there’s a truth of who we are. In fact, I think there’s several truths. There’s the basic truths, things we need to do to survive like eating, drinking, sleeping, working, etc. Our history and past, is true to each of us, both our individual history and our collective/communal/cultural history.
And then there are the truths that we just can’t let go of, the themes that run through our lives and point us to the future, be it a passion for justice or for education or for mission or for cooking food or for creative arts, etc. It could be anything, but it’s why we work in or do what we do – or why we hate what we do for work.
Why the emphasis on truth? I used to rely heavily on the word “passion”, but when you look at our consumer culture, anything can be a passion. And I mean, anything. The most currently downloaded phone app is one that transposes a constructed world on top of reality (sorry Pokemon Go fans). Passion doesn’t necessarily lead to anything concrete.
Applied to vocation, we can see then that so many things can get in the way of discerning our call. Our consumer society, with its multitude of products, offers constant distraction. I think we even get in our own way, obsessing over options. At one point in the movie, the biggest obstacle in the way of Omalu’s work is not the NFL, it’s himself, going back and forth about whether he should pursue his fight against the NFL’s officials or drop it and go home.
I’ve experienced this in my own life: after I left the seminary in 2010, I spent a good two-three years wondering and obsessing about whether I’d made the right choice. The reality is that in my obsessing I was stopping myself from actually making that choice to move on.
Knowing the truths of who you are and living them give a concrete direction forward for living your vocation. This is something I’ve seen in my own life recently, knowing the truths of who I am, about my marriage, about my work, about my values – these have helped me make concrete decisions about my life and my future.
In Dr Omalu’s case, the truth of his work was recognising the dignity of each person he autopsied, allowing their life to be respected in death. Even if he didn’t challenge the NFL about brain injuries, his life and work would still have tremendous meaning for himself, but also for his co-workers and for the families of his patients.
Know your truth and live it. Or, as St Catherine of Sienna put it, “be who God made you to be”. Take the time to ask yourself and know who you are and why you are, truthfully. This is the step of discernment that we can all come back to periodically throughout life.
Because it’s the step of discernment where it becomes more than introspective navel-gazing and vocation becomes real and lived. Know your truth, but also live it. That’s the story of Dr Omalu, it could be our story also.
The real Dr Omalu, portrayed by Will Smith in the movie Concussion
**This Blog originally appeared on Vocation Brisbane’s Blog page found here http://www.vocationbrisbane.com/going/**
Adam grew up in the southern suburbs of Brisbane, graduating high school at Trinity College in Beenleigh. He has completed a Bachelor of Theology at Australian Catholic University as well as a Certificate IV in Leadership and Ministry. He is the Executive Officer at Vocation Brisbane and recently married his wife Jade
Can a Catholic evangelise?
Whenever I’m reading a book like this a chapter at a time, I have a tendency to prepare by reading the sub-headings of the chapter. I think it might be the years at uni or some kind of achievement-oriented drive where sub-headings allow me to measure my progress as I make my way through the chapter.
So when I flicked through Chapter 2 of Divine Renovation entitled “Rebuild my house” and the sub-headings were The Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, I’ve got to admit I felt like I was in for a history lesson on the papacy.
What I didn’t realise was that it was going to be a history lesson around evangelisation. This chapter opens up the development of language around evangelisation since the Second Vatican Council.
Very quickly it becomes evident that there is a consistent and developing language across these four popes. Below are just a few examples:
“Evangelisation will also always contain – as the foundation, centre, and at the same time, summit of its dynamism – a clear proclamation that, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the dead, salvation is offered to all men, as a gift of God’s grace and mercy.” Pope Paul VI, EN, no. 22
“No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” Pope John Paul II, RM, no.3
“Those who have come into genuine contact with Christ cannot keep Him for themselves, they must proclaim him.” Pope John Paul II, NMI, no. 40
“Your greatest task in evangelisation is therefore to propose a personal relationship with Christ as key to complete fulfilment.” Pope Benedict XVI, address to the bishops of the Philippines
[The goal of evangelisation is] “the realisation of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ in the Spirit, thereby leading to an experiencing of His Father and our Father.” Pope Benedict XVI, Lineamenta, no. 11
Fr James Mallon sums this journey up when he says “Evangelisation is essentially kerygmatic and leads to an encounter with the person of Jesus.” I have to admit I thought this language was more common in a protestant setting, but these days I’m starting to hear it everywhere.
It certainly permeates The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium) and Fr James Mallon also points us to other church documents where this language was developed including Evangelii Nuntiandi, Redemptoris Missio, Novo Millenio Ineunte, the Lineamenta document and the Aparecida document.
What I love the most about this chapter is that it shows the beautiful complementarity that exists across these popes when they speak of evangelisation. It shows the way God used each of these popes to bring the Church to a renewed understanding of evangelisation, the mandate of all who have been baptised.
Teresa McGrath is the Youth Project
Consultant for the Archdiocese of Brisbane,
and heads up the Youth Evangelisation Office.