A youthworker describes a particular moment of accompanying a young adult who had just been released out of prison and was searching for meaning…
The young man’s reason for coming to see me was not particularly plausible. I answered his question, but he did not leave. He wanted to talk, though not about a particular subject. From what he said next, I learnt he was twenty-two, and had just been released, after a month in prison. He had lost his temper and become violent, when taunted by the new boy-friend of the girl who had just jilted him. He went on to speak most cynically of girls, men, and society in general. According to him, girls could not love: they just played games to make you fall for them. It was clear he thought of the world as a sad, corrupt reality. I could easily sense his deep unhappiness; his great longing to be loved, to find meaning in life. How could it be done? Was it possible?
Having, in the past, experienced this same most unpleasant of moods, I felt I now knew the answers to his unspoken questions, but looking at his strained face, pugilistic physique, his sleek black hair, the two large rings in one of his ears, I hesitated. But then I decided to dare speak, convinced that I was giving the one true answer, though, not necessarily, the one he expected to hear. I even feared it would put him off. I said we all needed God: without him, we would never feel fulfilled. A relationship with God was what so many, without knowing, were yearning for. He listened and, to my relief, his facial expression showed he tended to agree. Then he said, for three years, he had refrained from entering any church, but lately, being so thoroughly dejected, he had tried confession, and, for a time, felt much calmer. He left me then, but did not leave the premises. Some time later, I saw him again in the grounds, puffing away at a cigarette.
That evening, in the quiet of my room, I thought: Andre Frossard entered a church an atheist and, after five minutes, left it a firm believer; but sometimes it takes longer than that to find God, and be able to say: God exists: I have met him.
Written by Maltese Catechist