Sir, give me this water (Jn 4,15)
Let us Cultivate the Art of Listening and of Accompaniment
Every year the Rector Major of the Salesians publishes a motto, that we affectionately refer to as the Strenna. The purpose of the Strenna is to help guide us, together, in our mission which each one of us is called to carry out with the young people of Salesian College.
The theme this year refers to the forthcoming General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, convened by Pope Francis for the month of October 2018, which is entitled: “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”. The Church has decided to examine itself on how it can lead young people to recognize and accept the call to the fullness of life and love, and to ask young people to help in identifying the most effective ways to announce the Good News today. And so our Salesian Strenna, although very much in keeping with our Salesian Charism, is also one which aligns itself with the greater work of the Catholic Church.
The Strenna for 2018 ‘Let us cultivate the art of listening and of accompaniment’ invites us to reflect on the role of listening and accompaniment in our own lives and with those with whom we journey.
To enlighten these two aspects, the Rector Major encourages us to firstly reflect on a particular scripture passage in the Gospel of John, where Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman by a well. We are encouraged to make particular efforts to journey with young people in the way Jesus journeys with us and the Samaritan woman. This requires that initial encounter. Like Jesus, this encounter begins by listening to the other person and their lived experience. A genuine listening, more than simply hearing the other. From this arises the opportunity for human relationships which offer a transformative power in our own and in their lives.
In the Scripture, Jesus listens, perseveres and transforms….
We too, are called….
- to reach out to the margins
- to listen, and not merely hear,
- to accompany
- to go beyond the boundaries and barriers which divide us,
- to encounter the young, wherever and whoever they be
- to show them the same perseverance, listening ear, and love
As a member of Salesian College, Chadstone we are called to be present amongst the young; to listen to them, not merely to hear; and to accompany them in a genuine human relationship. Like Jesus in his encounter with the Samaritan woman, we are called to go beyond the boundaries and barriers which divide us, to encounter the young, wherever and whoever they be, and to show them the same perseverance, listening ear, and love.
And so, in our context with young people, how will we:
- Encounter the Young… by listening with openness, attention and real interest…
- Move a person further… by helping them discern, recognising, interpreting, choosing…
- Transform lives… by accompanying them on their journey…building relationships…
- Act… Reflect in Term Four on what we did to live out the 2018 Strenna
So, as we begin to look to 2018, let us cultivate this art of listening and accompaniment for the benefit of the many young people whose lives we influence.
And so we pray;
Lord, in all our limitations and hesitations, you promise to come and journey with us, in and through your Son, our model and our hope, our companion and guide on our journey through life.
We encounter you present in creation, in other people, in the limitations of our failure, even in our selfishness and sinfulness, in our experience of your loving forgiveness, especially in your gracious presence in the Church and its Sacraments.
Grant us the grace to recognise these encounters each day, to sense the presence of Jesus, and the company of Jesus, as we are called to discern what it is that you are giving us, and who you are, giving such precious gifts. Grant us the courage to take the risk of stepping into your journey, away from our own, to recognize that whoever does not risk cannot walk with you who risked all, unto death.
May these encounters continue to move us away from ourselves and closer to you, your designs for us and for all whom we meet day by day.
In this way, Lord, accompany us, guide us in our discernment. Enlighten us with your Word, as we journey together with you, never for ourselves, and always for others, especially for the young and those most in need.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord, the Saviour of the world. Amen
St John Bosco
Pray for Us
Mrs Nadia Knight
Assistant Principal – Faith and Mission