“What is my life for? What are my passions, hopes and ideals? Where do I belong and get my identity and meaning? Where, ultimately, will I find that ‘infinite joy’ for which I was made and my heart craves?”
Speaking directly to the deepest desires of young Catholics to do more and be more, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP identifies these questions and others as being those which occupy the hearts and minds of young people in the introduction to his new book, My Dear Young Friend.
“What next moves would make the most of me? In other words: what movie am I making with my choices and what is becoming of the main character?”
In forty short letters, Archbishop Fisher seeks to respond to some of the questions so important to young people today. With letters on topics such as truth, vulnerability, friendship, leadership, the problem of suffering, fear, vocation, mercy and new beginnings, the Archbishop provides short but nourishing answers to the big questions of life.
The letters in the book, the Archbishop says, address questions that young people have raised with him over the years, throughout his pastoral ministry. Understanding that not all the matters will be important to each young reader, he encourages them to read and re-read the ones that most capture their attention, and to “give the ones that bore you a miss.”
“Ponder, puzzle, wrestle with them,” he invites the young reader. “These are matters worth struggling with, laughing and crying over.”
Launching the book last week at the World Youth Day 10th anniversary celebrations in Sydney, Father John Nguyen OFM Cap described the book as uplifting, life-giving and inspiring. “It’s advice, better than the world can give,” he said. “He dares us to be the young men and women God has called us to be.”
Father Nguyen also said that the book demonstrated the Archbishop’s willingness to listen to young people and provide a substantial response and guidance from someone who loved them. “Archbishop Fisher doesn’t see us only as young people, but as his young friends,” he said. “We all have dreams including His Grace. We are certainly in this together.”
At the launch, Archbishop Fisher encouraged the young people to not just think quickly, but deeply. “The challenge is to slow down and quieten down, enough to digest it all, exercise our critical judgement, sort out what’s really worthwhile,” he said.
He exhorted the hundreds of young people present to aim high: “Not only should you think deep, you should also think big. Think in terms of your country, your Church, the whole natural world and the whole social world.”
Finally, the Archbishop reminded them to see the future and the possibilities that lay ahead as a mission and not a burden, reminding them that God always provides the necessary graces for the tasks with which he entrusts them.