Thursday, 21 February 2013

Making sense of it all

Have you ever had that experience where something makes no sense whatsoever, yet it makes complete sense to go ahead and do it anyway? Let me explain. This year I've returned to study after a gap year that has lasted five years. So it was that yesterday morning I found myself with my head buried in the books, my fingers furiously pounding the keys on my keyboard as I powered my way through the dense forest of a Certificate IV.

My motivation was a free afternoon. I'd decided that if I could get my work done I could go down to the beach and have some desperately needed chill time. Cue the ominous gray clouds. Now I wasn't motivated about studying or going to the beach. Mood killed. By the time I got my work done it had started raining and it wasn't looking like letting up anytime soon. Defs not beach weather. So what did I do? I went anyway.

By the time I'd driven down there my right arm was noticeably more tan than my left, my petrol tank was significantly lower than when I started and the beach was closed. So I sat there and just watched. I admired the melancholic way the heavy gray clouds hugged the surging waters. It was mesmerising. Nothing could draw my attention away, not even the deliriously giggly tourist group or the strange, lonely man scouring the beach with his metal detector. As I sat there, pelted by piercing rain and swept up in the chilling wind it made perfect sense for me to be there.

I want my life to make sense. Reason makes sense to me. Driving into the middle of a storm (ok, so it was only a bit of rain) to sit on a closed beach, being pelted by rain and wind doesn't make sense to me. But things don't always make sense in God's plan. Sometimes I need to get away from what makes sense to me (as discomforting and unsettling as that is for me) to be where I actually need to be: where God wants me to be. It can be messy, but God calls the whole person - even the messy, stormy, hidden, uncomfortable, unsorted parts. A bit like driving to the beach on a wet, windy day. 

Sometimes in life things don't make sense us, but I bet it makes sense to God. 


Monday, 18 February 2013

Those Days

Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up but you still feel like you're asleep? When the week's just started but you're already wishing it would end? One of those days when it doesn't even matter that you got up on the right side of the bed because you're greeted by morbid, heavy, gray clouds outside your window? You know, one of those days.

I'm having one of those days.

After a busy week all I wanted to do on the weekend was rest. Now, after a busy weekend all I want to do this week is rest!!! This morning (it's still only 8:30 as I type this) I tried working out to wake myself up but it seemed like it didn't matter how many weights I lifted (or attempted to lift) I just couldn't get the adrenaline pumping. Now as I attempt to drown myself in litres of coffee I just can't get the brain cells to ignite.

But then the little voice in the back of my head begins to whisper: "dude, what is up with all this woe is me stuff?" Wait a second, I thought the little voice was on my side! "Get on with it!" Apparently not. "Adam, we choose out attitude!" 

OK, so that last one wasn't the little voice, it was my roommate, but the point is still valid. So often I know I discount my ability to choose to just ride with how I feel. Sure, there are times where its OK to be angry or to cry or to just feel like bleh (lethargic is probably the word I'm going for), but I know for me I can use it as a bit of an excuse not to get on with life (i.e. I'm too sad to wash the dishes).

How often do we do this with our relationship with God? I know I tend to favour the excuses: "I'm too tired to pray/I'm too annoyed to love my roommate/I don't feel like being a priest so I won't even discern it". It's a challenge for me (and maybe for you too) to choose to follow God even on those days.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Don't forget your roots!

Yesterday I visited Trinity College at Beenleigh, which also happens to be my old stomping ground. Not only did I attend my five years of high school at Trinity but I spent all my teenage years in the neighbourhood.

I got to chat with the Year 11 and 12 students at their respective year level assemblies. They all started at Trinity years after I finished there, so most of them didn't even know who I was. This is the sixth year since I graduated and while many of my old teachers would cringe at me saying this; as the students reminded me: I'm getting old!

I think I shocked them at first, using words like "priest" and "nun" in the same sentence as "have you ever thought about being a ___ ?" Judging by the looks on their faces I think they were all thinking the same thing: "is this guy for real?"

Presenting to the Year 11 students in the Library

The answer is yes, I am for real. Our society places so much emphasis on WHAT we do (our occupation is our preoccupation). WHO we are often takes a back seat in our life.

Hopefully the students were able to take something away from what I shared. I know for me it was a blast getting to go back to my old school and catch up with my old teachers. 

I want to leave you with something I shared with the students: dare to take a courageous step, to ask God "where do YOU want me to go?" Just imagine the possibilities: God made the whole of creation, imagine what he could do in your life.


Monday, 4 February 2013

Get Involved

On our website there are some practical suggestions to help with discernment. One of them is to get involved:

"Get Involved in some form of service with the Church. For example, outreach to the poor, teaching religious education, lecturing at Mass, taking Holy Communion to the sick, working with the young of a parish, etc. are ways to give one a taste of “ministry” and may also increase one’s desire for ministry and service."

Over the last few years I've worked in youth ministry through NET Ministries. In my four years with the ministry I travelled around Australia, lived in communities with other young Catholics and shared my faith with young people around the country.

                                                                         Presenting to young people while serving with NET

Its funny how when we put ourselves in positions of service that the person we help the most is ourselves. Throughout my time with NET I learnt about myself and how I relate to God and to others. I did a lot of growing up: as a young man trying to figure out life and find direction, serving with a ministry helped me find my “faith bearings”.

Volunteering for a year, helping out in your Parish or youth group or committing to some form of service is a great pathway to discovering God’s calling for your life. Go on, step out and commit to something, it’s worth it!