By Josh Low
In a resounding address to thousands of youth for the World Youth Day (WYD) “Fiat” event, well-known Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles Robert Barron set out a challenge for those present.
Organised by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and The Fellowship of Catholic University Students, the event at the Figali Convention Centre saw multiple speakers and Eucharistic Adoration before Bishop Barron took the stage to speak in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
Referencing the Gospel of Luke (5:4) and a favourite saying of St Pope John Paul II: “Duc in altum” (Cast out into the deep), Bishop Barron spoke about three key points to the young people, which included what he called an invasion of grace, cooperation with that grace, and finding one’s role in God’s plan.
He said what the Lord calls us to is to trust in Him and “go out into the deep”.
“Most of us sinners live in the shallows. We can be a big deal in the eyes of the world.
“Look at the money he’s got, look at the fame he’s got, look at the success he has. But so what? Spiritually speaking all of that is just playing by the seashore,” Bishop Barron said.
“No, Dominus Iesus, the Lord Jesus Christ, calls us to a great spiritual adventure. Duc in altum.
“You’re ready for an adventure. Do not listen to the voice of the world, which will lure you in a thousand ways to stay close to the shore.
“Have that same confidence St Pope John Paul II had in you, that Pope Francis has in you. Duc in altum, go into the depths; let Jesus into the boat,” he added.
“The Lord Jesus Christ calls us to great spiritual advancement, and when you follow Christ into the depths, you will find life, and many others will be drawn to the life that you’ve found.
“Trust in the power of the Holy Spirit that can do infinitely more than you can ask or imagine. Duc in altum; go out into the deep and follow the promptings of the Lord Jesus Christ
Drawing from Swiss theologian and Catholic priest Hans Urs von Balthasar, Bishop Barron pointed out the self-centeredness that can so easily seep into our lives.
“He [von Balthasar] said most of us live our lives in terms of the ‘ego drama’. That’s the drama that I’m producing, I’m directing and above all, I’m starring in – my show, my life, my death, my choice.
“What’s really interesting says von Balthasar, is not the ‘ego drama’, but the ‘theo drama’. That means the play that God is producing; that God is directing. He’s got a role for me and for you,” the Bishop explained.
“It might not be the one that we imagine in our ego dramatic moments. Who cares? If you find what God wants you to do, you’re going to find life and life to the full.
“Stop messing around in the shallows of the ego drama; learn to love the depths of the theo drama.”
Bishop Barron added that when we discover our role in the theo drama, we discover how Christ wants to use us and send us.
“Then we know who we are. What’s your mission? I know he’s got into your boat, otherwise you wouldn’t be here.
“How is he commanding you? Into what depth is he calling you right now? What are the sins and the attachments you see in the light of His grace? Good, expose them and illuminate them and the let that same luminous grace purify them.
“Finally, what your mission? What’s your role in the theo drama. Who are you?” he asked.
Bishop Barron concluded by emphasising God’s grace, and the importance of our beautiful cooperation with that grace, which is what the Lord wants.
“Life and life to the full. The glory of God as a human being fully alive,” he said.
“Everybody, that’s what happens when from the bottom of our souls, we say ‘fiat, let it be done to me according to your will’, and praise be Jesus Christ.”
Australian pilgrim and first time World Youth Day attendee Daniel de la Motte said Bishop Barron’s talk was incredibly thought provoking and inspiring.
“It doesn’t take me long to look back on my life and see an invasion of grace,” he explained.
“Right before Bishop Barron’s talk we had adoration and the Blessed Sacrament was moved around the arena and it’s always pretty powerful to have Christ there with you and no matter what’s going on He’s the one who reaches the depths of our hearts.
“So when Bishop Barron said later that Christ is like the light shining onto a glass that illuminates our imperfections and our sin, I’d already just experienced that as the Eucharist processed past.
“Having the words match the experienced Word, it was just the truth confirming itself for me, and it was a truly humbling experience,” he said.
“I’ve been blessed to experience it so many times but it is always so humbling and regenerative so praise God. I don’t know what the rest of World Youth Day has in store but it can only get better, and it’s going to be one of the highlights of my entire life.”