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A feast for the mind, soul and body



My experience of the Marist Youth Festival 2015

25/01/2015: Australia - Photo gallery

From 12 till 15 January about 180 Marist Youth met in Sydney during the 2015 Australian Marist Youth Festival. Brother Emili Turu, the Superior General, was present. Here we publish a testimony of Anthony Mackett, a Young Marist from western Sydney who took part in the event.

For me, the Marist Youth Festival – our festival – has been life-giving. It’s been life-giving because it’s been authentically Marist. And one thing that is significant in my Marist experiences across my life is the good food. I’m not talking about the food we eat to exist, but the food we eat to live. This festival, for me, has been a feast. A feast for the mind, soul, and body.

My mind has been fed by the profound, yet simple messages of our speakers – like Br Emili’s “living or existing”, being fully alive and fully human, and the reality of us all being one, along with the raw lived-out experiences of Fr Peter Day and Sr Brigid Arthur. My mind has been fed by Joe McDonald’s reflections on our relationship with God’s natural creation, and Paul Ninnes’ counter-cultural lessons on society, love, and life.

So that’s my mind, but my soul has also been fed. My soul has been fed, not only by the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in Mass last night, but by the presence of each other, through the Spirit, like in the Taize liturgy. Each of us placed our passions for justice into the Marist heart of Mary. For me, this isn’t some pretty feel-good gesture. It’s an expression of the deep reality that when I go back home, the actions for justice in my community are not dependent on my (very limited) ability. With my life in the heart of Mary, and on the shoulders of Christ, I am freed to be fully alive and fully myself, knowing that the success of my actions are not dependent on me, but on our loving God who shows his love for us time and time again.

So that’s my mind and soul, but my body has been fed by the physical and personal encounters I’ve had with many people here. By experiencing the presence and family spirit of people in deep conversation with me, I have realised how much I love listening to people’s stories of life and of God. But I’ll give you just one specific example. Last night during Mass, deep in the ‘prayer zone’ after Communion, the lovely person sitting next to me, touched my hand, grasped it, and she said to me, “let’s pray together.” The God of that moment warmed by heart and brought me into a deeper love with Him. That simple act is truly food for the soul and the body.

I can only pray, asking God, and each one of you, that I may become food for the suffering and lonely – the Christs – in my day-to-day life back home, just as Jesus became food for us. I plan to do this by continuing my work with young cancer patients and being a mentor or buddy to little refugee kids through Marist Youth Care. Thank you.

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