One of the enjoyable experiences of the recent summer holidays was taking a road trip with five Brothers around the south-west region of Western Australia. Over the two weeks we discovered some amazing natural treasures, located in just one part of this incredibly vast and ancient country of ours.
One of these gems was the tree-top walk known as the ‘Valley of the Giants’ near Denmark. Although estimated at a youthful 400 years in age, compared to the grand colony of 10,000 year-old Huon pines of Tasmania, this majestic forest of Karri trees stand tall and proud. The tree top walk took us above the canopy where we could survey the natural landscape for miles around. At the end of the walk we descended and took time to explore the base of these giants and view their massive trunks, which only four centuries ago were tiny saplings struggling to make their way towards the light and the top of the forest. It was truly an awesome moment to stand in the presence of God’s incredible creation!
Vocations ministry provides me with no less a privilege as I accompany young people who are discerning God’s call for their own lives. To listen to young men and women reflect on how significant adults have helped guide and encourage them in their vocational aspirations, gives me hope that God continues to provide the next generation of Marist disciples with good mentors and supporters.
One of the great ‘encouragers’ to emerge in the last 12 months (thanks to the Holy Spirit!) is Pope Francis. He is a champion for vocations, taking every opportunity to tell young people to follow their heart and listen deeply to God’s call for them: “God calls you to make definitive choices, and He has a plan for each of you: to discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move toward personal fulfilment.” (WYD 2013).
As we commence this new year, I encourage each of us to consider how, in our own life and ministry, we are responding to the call of the 2012 Mission Assembly to grow committed Marists for the future – both Brothers and Lay Marists. A simple word of invitation or encouragement to a young person may stir the seed of a vocation!
I pray that 2014 is a year of joy and new life, as together we help our young Marists grow tall in God’s light, so they too may truly become the amazing creation God calls them to be.
Brother Greg McDonald, fms.
Director of Vocations