Br Tyson shares with us some reflections on the Oratory as he approaches the completion of his philosophy studies in preparation for the priesthood.
As I approach the end of my third year as an Oratorian novice, I have become more aware of why Australia needs an Oratory. And secondly, I have also become aware of how it is not only a great blessing for us to be in Brisbane but how it is a blessing for Brisbane to have the Oratory.
A few things that are close to my heart, and many others to whom I have spoken, are becoming closer to God, obtaining the grace of persevering on the journey towards our salvation, and to play our part in bringing others to Him who is “the way, the truth, and the life.” This mission, to which God has called all the Baptised, is one that seems particularly difficult in our modern society. The temptation to turn towards the world is great, vice is confused with virtue, and perhaps we are left feeling inadequate in the face of such difficulties. But there is hope! For our society is not the first to experience such difficulties, and it is in times such as these that God raises up His saints, and one of these is our model St Philip Neri.
During the time of St Philip, Rome was a sea of immorality and many people were losing the faith. But St Philip saw that the way forward is for us, everyday people, to become saints. For it is only by holiness that we can overcome temptation, find true interior peace and joy, attain salvation, and bring others to Christ. Through helping ordinary people grow in holiness, St Philip brought about the restoration of the faith, and as such true peace, joy, and virtue to Rome. Although alone we cannot change the world, together, as a collection of men and women growing in virtue, we can have a profound impact on our neighbours, and in this way bring about a great change in society.
It seems to me, that God in His Providence has brought the Oratory to Brisbane to bring St Philip and his method to us. The Oratory was the method by which St Philip was able to bring holiness to all people, in all walks of life. This method primarily includes prayer, the Sacraments, preaching and teaching, and serving those men and women who attach themselves to the Oratory, our apostolates, and its parish, all with the aim of providing encouragement and aid in growing in holiness. The reason the Oratory is specifically suited to this mission is due to the balance of freedom, community life, and stability it provides. The freedom that an Oratorian has means that the Oratorian method can be offered in a way that suits the circumstances and needs of the faithful. Furthermore, since an Oratorian lives and works in the same place for his entire life, which for us is Brisbane, it provides a strong bond between the fathers and brothers of the Oratory and those men and women who look to the Oratory, not only for their spiritual needs but also friendship.
At The Brisbane Oratory-in-Formation, more and more I see God’s Providence working in making the Brisbane Oratory a reality: the support of Archbishop Mark Coleridge, the many friends and benefactors of the Oratory and the way in which God has blessed our beginnings. Looking to the future I cannot help but be excited about the growing contribution of the Oratory to our community in Brisbane.
Br Tyson King.
Seminarian for the Brisbane Oratory-in-Formation.