By Josh Low
In a discussion forum for the ‘Teen Stream’ at last weekend’s Veritas Youth Festival, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB called for the youth present to take up the call to become saints.
Some 60 young people between the ages of 13 and 17 were present to listen to and engage in the discussion with Archbishop Costelloe.
The Archbishop fielded questions from the teenagers in attendance about a wide range of topics which included questions about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, suffering in life and the world, and defending the faith in today’s society.
In his opening address to those present, he expressed that the choices young people make have an impact on who they become in the future and encouraged making decisions led by the Word of God.
“The decisions you make each day shape and mould you into the kind of person you’re going to be as the years go by.
“One of the best ways to make good decisions is to be guided by the Word of God, which of course comes to us through the Bible, especially through the Gospels but also through the Church,” he said.
“It is a good guide for us as we start making more and more important decisions that are going to determine what kind of person we grow into and what kind of person we become.”
Archbishop Costelloe continued by expressing the importance of beginning the path to sainthood while at a young age.
He referenced Saints Francisco and Jacinta, canonised by Pope Francis earlier this year on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima, as well as St Dominic Savio, the youngest saint to have been canonised at the time (in 1954) who had not died as a martyr.
“So now we have two little kids, one about nine or 10 and the other about 11 or 12, and we have Dominic Savio who was 15 who became a saint.
“Think back to when you were their age. They lived such an extraordinary life that when they were that age, they were ready to become saints.
“We are called to be saints; that’s not something you have to put off until you’re older but can happen now,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
He made reference to St John Bosco, founder of the Salesian Order, who would say that the way to become a saint was to glorify God by doing the very best at whatever one was supposed to be doing at the time.
“I want to throw that challenge out; sometimes we think of saints as these people from way back in history who did all these weird and wonderful things.
“But in fact, it’s not some weird, exotic, out-of-this-world kind of thing, but just a practical living out of life to the full and doing your best in whatever situation you’re in,” the Archbishop said.
The Archbishop added that when one goes through difficult times, or when some of the things that come with being a Christian seem to be too hard or ridiculous and different from what everyone else in society saying, to remember the words of Peter to Jesus.
“Remember what Peter said to Jesus, ‘Where else can we go? Because in the end, you Lord are the one who has got the words of life. You’re the one who can give us life to the full.’
“That’s been my experience and I’m sure it has been an experience for some of you already.
“If you give God a chance and you let him into your life, then I think you might find that that’s your experience too,” he concluded.