Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP urged about 90 young people heading to World Youth Day in Panama to reject the constant busyness of the world and instead be “slow pilgrims.”
The excited young pilgrims gathered in Chapter Hall next to St Mary’s Cathedral for the catechesis session with Archbishop Fisher in preparation for WYD in January next year.
The Archbishop told them the modern world is obsessed with “speed and efficiency.” The hectic pace of life is not conducive to truly experiencing the world or pondering its mean and purpose, he said.
To counteract the busyness of modern life, many “slow movements” have emerged, he said, such as the Slow Food movement.
“At its heart the slow food movement decries our modern obsession with speed and efficiency, the busy-busy-busy of life, which leads us to world down mass-produced cheeseburgers as we rush from one task to the next.”
This approach has been applied to other areas of life, he said, including Slow Architecture, Slow Counselling, Slow Gardening, Slow medicine, Slow Media and Slow Philosophy.
“Philosophy is impoverished when it is rushed to meet production deadlines,” the Archbishop said. Likewise, in the Christian tradition, coming closer to God through prayer requires time, perseverance, dedication.
“If the Slow Movement is right, catching a quickie 30-minute Sunday Mass might suit our schedule but cost us in terms of depth of experience,” he said.
Our Lady took her time after the Angel Gabriel told her God’s plans for her life, the Archbishop pointed out. She did not rush her answer or accept the invitation without asking questions first. Hers was a “slow yes.”
“Being spontaneous in such things can be the enemy of constancy and consistency. But to really be part of God’s plan Mary’s ‘yes’—and ours too—has to be constant, consistent, for keeps.”
The Archbishop invited the young pilgrims to take the same approach as Our Lady when they set off on the great adventure of WYD.
“Don’t let WYD become a kind of ‘Catholic schoolies week’ for you. It should be a turning point in your life, the inspiration for a life-long pondering, a slow growth of relationship with Christ.”
“So go, dare I say, as ‘Slow Pilgrims’. Stop and be quiet when you can. Savour and ponder every experience. Approach your coming WYD experience as something to be savoured, like slow food for the soul, not a burger on the run while you’re driving somewhere else.”
World Youth Day will take place from 22 to 27 January 2019 in Panama City, Panama.