As I sit writing this brief article I find it hard to take my eyes off the book that lies just out of reach at the other end of the desk. Now it isn’t a difficult thing to distract me, but this book has a special place in my heart. It is The Lord of the Rings and I have been reading it since returning from Toronto. I can’t help but see some correlation between Tolkien’s epic novel and the story of the Brisbane Oratory-in-Formation. The various characters throughout the work encounter the grandest of adventures but are also confronted with difficulties and hardship. Whilst we at the Oratory may not meet the same kinds of adventure and struggles, we do have before us our own exciting adventure set amidst our own labours and trials. Through this, our Community will only grow stronger with the help of our Holy Father Saint Philip and the guiding grace of the Holy Spirit. However, it is not just the Oratory members who are characters in this coming adventure, it is all of us who make up the Brisbane Oratory-in-Formation community from parishioners to interstate friends and supporters and everyone in between.
Over the last two years, I have come to understand that one of the greatest challenges facing many Catholics is the loss of understanding that each and every one of us is willed, loved and wanted by God and that we are all necessary for His plan. I myself did not realise this for the vast majority of my life. It wasn’t until I started to understand and appreciate God’s love and desire for me, that I was able to love others and Him in return. I fear there are many young men and women, but not only the young, men and women of all ages, who do not know God’s love. They have forgotten what this love means and what it can do for them. Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI once said that: “Every human being is loved by God the Father. No one need feel forgotten, for every name is written in the Lord’s loving heart.” The Brisbane Oratory-in-Formation is ideally situated to help spread this message of love and mercy.
Already we are providing increased opportunities to come and encounter God’s compassion and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession. This will only increase as the four Brothers eventually make their way to ordination and active work as Priests. Work with adolescents and young adults continues to be an important part of our ministry. It is our hope and constant prayer that this will only grow, so that we can help deliver the reality of God’s love for each and every one of us. Through this work and by means of providing spiritual direction to those who seek it, we can strive to make known what Benedict XVI said and what Pope Francis is constantly reminding us of: “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”
It is my constant prayer, earnest hope and absolute belief that just like the characters in The Lord of the Rings who grow ever closer in friendship, love and trust, we the wider-Oratory community, too will follow the same path. Helping each other, leading one another to a closer union and friendship with Christ and ultimately bringing greater glory to God.
Br Conor Power.