God lays it down to Perth seminarian
Prayer is about giving time over to God. As soon as I jump out of bed I say a few personal prayers about things that may come up during the day. In the seminary we have the formal aspect of prayer. We get together every morning and evening to pray. We have Mass daily. We spend time in contemplation or meditation. I usually say a Rosary every day. Then there’s those five-second prayers like when you’re driving. Just before I go to bed I like to spend a few extra minutes in prayer to reflect on the day. My faith defines my life and who I am.
I have been lucky. I have had a lot of people in my life that by their example showed they were very dedicated to prayer. People that were close to Pope John Paul II can always testify that about him. When you see Pope Benedict XVI in prayer you can tell that he is really connecting with God. Mother Teresa spoke about the necessity of prayer and how she couldn’t get through a day without it.
Even people I know on a personal level have influenced me. Just seeing the fruits of their prayer life inspires me to remain committed to prayer. At school there was a Brother that inspired us through our turbulent teenage years. He was very passionate about young men connecting with their spiritual side. He taught us that prayer was the gateway to that. That really affected us whether we were practising our faith or not.
There seems to be bigger separation between secular society and the Church. Society has a different set of values and outlook on life. Society can even be very hostile to Catholics. I think that is the biggest challenge we have to address at the moment.
Sydney was my third World Youth Day. I think there was something marvelous about each one. Just being with the young people and experiencing that collective energy is a buzz. I had quite a few wows! It was profound and emotional seeing Pope Benedict XVI arriving by boat on our shores.
I was the main WYD08 coordinator for the seminarians. There were a few things that came up which kept me on my toes. But it was good to find time to refocus where I’m going and why I’m in the seminary. Pope Benedict emphasised the need for daily prayer. It confirmed what I believed.
World Youth Day in Cologne 2005 was sort of my way of testing God out. I pretty much knew I wanted to be a priest but sought confirmation. God answered so much better than I thought He would. One day I went to Adoration. The Church was packed. There was an announcement that there were priests hearing confessions but they were overwhelmed by the number of penitents. The announcer added that if there were any priests in the congregation could they please come forward to assist. I felt like jumping up. It was like God saying, “I need you and now is the time to begin this journey.”
Without my faith I would have given up on so many things already. We all get tempted to throw in the towel very quickly. God helps us overcome any obstacles in life and it’s our faith that helps us persevere.