By: Father Rob Galea
Our lives are often a battle for acceptance and answers and as a middle-aged father of four teenagers I see that reality daily. The world we live in today can be cruel, unforgiving and quite often misleading. Our children are under persistent assault from the newest technology, the pursuit of material happiness and fitting in with their peers. Thankfully Father Rob Galea through his open and honest testimony in his book offers the antidote which of course is following Jesus. However, through his truthfulness, Father Rob states that once you follow our Lord then that is when the struggle to remain faithful begins.
This story has a great introduction that connects with readers instantly. Father Rob unpacks the reality of his turbulent teenage years where he was bullied and found himself walking a path of acceptance in all the wrong places (stealing, lying, gang activity and drug abuse). When all hope seemed lost a simple phone call to his home changed his life. Interestingly the phone call was actually for his sister and entailed an invitation to a youth group meeting at a local church and through God’s grace Father Rob ended up at the meeting. That night upon returning to his home, he started to develop his personal relationship with God.
There is so much sound advice in this easy to read book. The reader will find practical avenues for spiritual growth and discernment along with step by step instructions on how to develop a personal relationship with Jesus. Each chapter ends with numerical directions on how to better follow and serve Christ. As for me, I have already been able to put some of these directives to use in my own spiritual journey (I respond best to specific instruction).
The inspirational nature of this story points the reader to the hope that only God can provide. Would our world pick an introvert to become a priest and a singer that performed not only on the X Factor Australia or in front of large crowds at World Youth Day? Of course not, but our Lord did. Would most of us continue to try public speaking/singing over a two year period and after failing and walking away in shame three times? Not likely, but fortunately for us Fr. Rob persevered and followed the vision Jesus had shared with him. Does getting on stage and speaking get easier the more you do it? Not necessarily, but as Father Rob says most of the time you have to do things scared and trust Jesus to guide you.
I think the one aspect of this book that I enjoyed the most is that Father Rob opens his heart to readers in order to lead them to Jesus. Does being a priest exempt you from trial, depression and burn out? No. Does being a priest make you without flaws? No, but as Father Rob points out we are not perfect, but we all are called to serve Jesus. Does being a priest mean ignoring technology and social media? Nope, rather Father Rob embraces it to reach youth. Also throughout the book, there are QR codes you can scan with your smartphone which lead to extra content.
In closing his story Father Rob challenges readers to ask God for a dream and to follow that dream in all humility (like David Niles does) giving all the glory to God. He invites readers to allow God to tear down their fear and brokenness while making Jesus the center of their lives. He reminds us that our God is the Lord of the breakthrough. So if you are young or old, if you are full of hope or in need of hope, grab a copy of this book and start a new chapter of your life.
By Kent Keithly
Husband and fortunate father of four