“‘Young man, I say to you, arise!’, and the dead man came to life. The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”
Manhood has lost its life because it has lost its sense of purpose and call to action.
Without a challenge or that sense of adventure, we lose direction and take the easy way of life.
With no goal, there is no achievement. With no meaning, there is no purpose. With no relationship, there is no identity. Without the call for more, we cannot fulfil God’s purpose for us.
This is undoubtedly my own journey.
I was given many opportunities in life: a family who loved me and always looked after me, a good home, did well at school and building myself a strong career in accounting and finance.
My biggest weakness is that I am prone to being lazy. I was a smart and capable guy who was not realising his potential because he had not found the things in life that gave him his true purpose and meaning.
However my experience with the Young Men of God Movement (YMG) has taken me to a level that is infinitely more than I could have asked for or imagined.
I daresay that YMG has had more of an impact on me than the sight of World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) in Sydney did.
I was first invited along to the YMG in 2007 while I was at university by a mate, and it was my first experience of seeing in real people a true desire for wanting the best out of themselves.
The talks I was hearing spoke of truth.
We sung worship songs with raw passion.
The “casual” afternoon soccer game was as competitive as any competition game I have played.
I remember hearing the thunder of footsteps as the opportunity for reconciliation was called. There was silence as a group of men prayed together in adoration.
From the first weekend, I learnt the line above which God calls me to be, not just in terms of minimum morality standards, but also how much he wanted me to give to His people and His Church.
I also learnt of the power of the brotherhood: men who could stand together in our struggles and weaknesses, while building each other up and using our collective strength to become the men we need to be.
Ezekiel 22:30 became my inspiration: “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me”, for I knew that with my brothers we could make a stand.
At the end of the weekend, the sense of resolution to take action superseded any sense of goodbye.
From there, others began to recognise my desire to serve God and continuously called me to do more and more.
I started to push myself harder in my parish youth group at St Michael’s, Baulkham Hills, led the Catholic Society at Sydney Uni, got into the joys of WYD08, and more recently, joining the youth at my new parish of Ryde-Gladesville.
This year I am the lead of the YMG National Conference. To who I am now, this sounds about right, but where I came from to get here, is all God’s work.
In John 14, Jesus prepares the disciples for His departure. He shares with them His intention to lead them to His Father, he calls them to action, and promises to be with them always. After promising them the fullness of life, he concludes, “Rise, let us be on our way”.
The Young Men of God National Conference is a annual gathering of young men from around Australia to be further formed in faith through engaging sessions with some of Australia’s best speakers including Fr Rob Galea, Karen Doyle and Fr Ken Barker. It runs from 14-16 October at The Tops Conference Centre. Register at ymgmovement.org.