Let us hear it from the young: Carlos Escobar (Australia)
On the occasion of the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ election, we are sharing with you a reflection of Carlos Escobar, from the Salesian Youth Movement (Australia).
What can you say about Pope Francis and his message to young people at the recent World Youth Day?
There was something about Pope Francis’ words that seem to resonate with my Salesian identity. In Australia we are growing in numbers and we are growing in spirit and I am looking for our next challenge. Indeed, I am always looking for the next challenge. Yet just like the simplicity of the Rector Major’s words, the simplicity of our Holy Father’s message was profound and shattered any delusions I had about the dramatic next steps we needed to take. We were to go, without out fear and serve those who needed it.
Some of us were worried that as SYM Australia burgeoned into something inspiring, we might lose the spark of inspiration and energy that fuels everything we do. We might lose our identity, our Salesian spirit. I was looking for a way to ensure that the work we did for young people and alongside young people was meaningful in a way that would elevate itself above the traditional experiences that any first world existence can provide. The answer needn’t be so complicated; go, do not be afraid, serve.
Australia, while a wonderful country to live in, has its problems, some of them quite severe. Other problems are a disgrace to human rights. Our indigenous population live at the edges of our society and their very dignity is in question. I know there is something we can do about it. Many refugees attempt to enter Australia seeking asylum and due to horrendous government policies, they must undergo brutal and inhuman treatment. Many are sent away and the few that are granted asylum are scarred, abandoned or ostracised by our society. I know there is something we can do for them too.
We have gathered an incredible number of young people and the challenge before us is now clear. We know who we will serve, we have young people willing to serve, we have our guide and now all that remains is to gather, plan and achieve. And when the dust has settled from our works, we will sit in a profound silence where our experiences will have prepared our minds and hearts. In that silence we may hear a voice, a tune; we may see a stroke of light, a blade of the grass or the very words we could never form fall into place, even if for the briefest of seconds. This will be our prayer and I know it will be heard and answered.