Melbourne’s Angela Markas is the official Australian Catholic Bishops Conference delegate to the gathering of young people at the Vatican before the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. She shared this reflection en route to this week’s meeting.
Here I am, waiting for my last flight to get to Rome. And as I sit here, and watch people begin to line up for the flight, it hits me — this is real.
I never thought for a single moment that I would have this kind of opportunity. It is beyond me that I have been found worthy of it, and no matter how much time may pass, I don’t think I could ever understand.
But here I am. And, in my smallness, I reflect on the message I want to take to the Vatican for the youth in Australia.
When I think about what it means to be youthful, I think of being like a child. Children are courageous, bold and do not have a care about the world. But we are a little different. We come from this place of childish things and slowly we become more attuned to the world. And slowly, we begin to see there is an order, a form, a predicted future. As we become more aware of this world, we become more aware of our smallness.
As we begin to notice these patterns, we begin to feel insignificant. Inadequate. Minute. Powerless. Meaningless. Worthless. We forget the joy we found in our smallness, thinking that it is no longer there or no longer enough, and we begin to seek it in the world around us, all along that it is still there, somewhere within us. And that this is the only joy that will sustain us and our young hearts. And it is waiting for us there, to be realised again, this beautiful reality that we are children of a loving Father. This is our identity.
The world is a funny place. It looks at us and our histories, and tells us where we are and where we could end up. It looks at us, and tells us what we are worth. It looks and sees the smallest tiniest quantum dot in this universe of dots.
But how can this be true? How can we feel so powerful as children and so powerless as adults? How can we know who we are as children and lose this knowledge as we grow up? And how is it that we lose hope and trust in our lives? How can we see God if we do?
The message I want to take to the Vatican is simple: we cannot lose our smallness. We know we are small, but we need to feel empowered by our smallness to see and approach God as His children.
In my smallness and with my limitations, I ask you for your prayers to carry this message.