Fr Mark’s message to young people

Some days ago, I met an article whose title was like this: “Un giovane di 35 anni …”  What struck me was that we are calling people of that age youth! I do not want to argue about figures, at what age people are eligible to do what, or at what age we call somebody an adult… this is beyond my point. The thing that I want to stress is that we live in a society that is gradually losing reference points – and very basic ones indeed. Just some examples:

  • Sexuality is being looked at as a fluid reality, so much so that the traditional binary outlook is frowned at and not accepted.
  • Adulthood shifts its demarcation line according to what is convenient: Voting at 16 because you are now mature, but not called an adult at the age of 35.
  • The boundary between the real and the virtual is blurred.
  • Relationships have an expiry date, yet we want more of them and rightly so!
  • Life is respected and life expectancy is prolonged through medical care, yet we are ready to argue about when life has a right to exist, whether addictive substances should be available for entertainment, and if we have a right to end life when it is no longer bearable.
  • The environment cries of abuse yet on behalf of our small wallets we are ready to do exceptions for our generation with no responsibility towards the next one.

The list of contradictions in today’s highly scientific, technologically savvy and pampered society (in the western world) abounds. We are very much ready to argue about any of the themes mentioned above as if they are independent realities. Lo and behold, we never arrive towards an agreement because how can we, in a society where everything is relative to the individual?

Plant your posts, and your mission in life will become possible.

So, the ultimate question to you youths, or better young adults, is: what is your definitive goal for which you are living? But first we need to ponder on another question: what are the fixed posts with which you measure your advancement in the journey of life towards this goal?

In places where it snows a lot, posts are set by the side of the road so that when the road disappears during heavy snow, at least these stay high enough to give you an idea that you are still on the right track. In summer these poles are useless, but in winter they are life savers. The same with us. If we let society take away our posts then we are in for a very miserable life that will go in circles, promising us a next exit but delivering none. As long as we are in the summer of our days the road looks easy and straight forward, but when winter comes and the posts are not planted, then we will face a flat expanse with many hidden dangers.

These posts are there for a reason: to keep us on track towards our goal. As young adults who come together in communities of faith, your goal is one that goes beyond your immediate existence. Our point of arrival is outside the time and space we inhabit as human beings. Gradually we become what we aspire for. This does not mean that we do not have other short-term goals in life; like family, work, rest and play but these are the posts set up by our faith.

Today’s modern society and culture needs you as planters of these guiding posts. When the church speaks of new evangelization it does not have in mind the conversion of people to our religion, but rather imbuing persons with the spirit of God which is freedom, beauty and love. So many people around us live without any sense of direction, moving from job to job, relationship into another, party after party… and in the process, like in addictions, any sense of backbone is eroded. When your acquittances come in touch with you, both as a community and personally they will sense something different. Maybe while they are high on what the world drugs them with, they will ridicule you or ignore you, but comes the day when they lay between a rock and a hard place, they see in you something solid and a guide.

The MSSP Oratory is a place where in a community that prays, grows and reaches out, you discover better your ultimate goal as baptized and set your posts high enough to stay visible even when all is covered by doubts, adversaries and hard choices. It is not a place where you learn to convince others through proofs or arguments, but where your lifestyle is shaped to become more an image of whom we really are by baptism: the sons and daughters of God. It is not a place where you take refuge and build walls to protect yourselves but like our founder Joseph DePiro you learn how to silently cross frontiers and reach out to all kinds of people.

For all this to be possible you cannot let yourselves be carried away by the various currents around you. Create your own current together so that the deep contradictions that the world presents to us, sometimes in the shape of the forbidden fruit, are countered by your life in the Spirit and the communion amongst yourselves.

Plant your posts, and your mission in life will become possible.

Originally this message was addressed to MSSP Oratorju Youths Malta, during their yearly faith-camp, ECHO held on the 12th to 14th July 2019.

Leave a Reply