Wednesday, 29 January 2014


My favourite superhero of all time is Batman. Unlike other pumped up, freakishly strong, spandex wearing heroes; Batman's heroics seemed attainable to me, a mere mortal. Plus, he had a cool car, cool gadgets and a cool costume. I wanted to be Batman.

Have you ever seen Batman and I in the same room? Didn't think so.

As kids we have those heroes or role models that we look up to and emulate. Whether they were real or fictional, we would copy their every move. Often when we grow up we can lose this sense of admiration: our heroes fall, or we grow disillusioned with their limitations (or our own limitations).

If we lose our heroes, where does our inspiration come from? Without heroes how do we develop a sense of daring? Can you gain the inspiration to challenge your limits if you don't look up to someone who is stretching their limits?

Pope Francis, the modern day hero

Heroes are necessary. In fact, heroes are crucial. When I was 16 I was a young man, fresh in my faith and trying to figure out what it meant to be a man and a Christian. Then I met someone who inspired me greatly, let's call him Stu. Stu was further along the journey, a man who had discovered his vocation and was living it faithfully. He was someone I could look up to, someone I wanted to be like when I grew up. Stu took me under his wing, mentored me and taught me how to follow God. He gave me opportunities to grow and learn. He was my mentor and hero, a sort of "Holy Batman". Seven years later I find myself in Stu's shoes. Though I'm still seeking my vocation, I'm in a position where I now walk with others as they seek God.

We need mentors and heroes if we want to figure out where God is calling us. We need older role models to show us the ropes, to share their wisdom and to give us the courage to test our boundaries. My advice to young people is think about where you want to be in the next ten years, find someone like that and follow them. For those a little bit further along the journey, make yourself available as a hero or mentor.

Heroes don't always wear costumes and masks or have super cool gadgets, but there are men and women around you right now who are writing a far more epic script than any superhero movie. Be inspired.

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