Welcome to Week Six of Term One. A week when we are enjoying respite from the heat of last week, and looking forward to a long weekend and the short week that follows. Things are going along positively as we settle into the routine of the year. Hopefully with the hot weather behind us, learning conditions for the boys are more conducive to working productively, and so we can look forward to finishing the term off on a good note.
The business that comes with the start of every new school year, with all the necessary interruptions to the learning program, is always difficult to navigate, however, in spite of this there is a very productive vibe around the College. The long weekend comes at the perfect time to have a little break, catch up on any bits of work we have let slip and just generally recharge the batteries. With this in mind, I hope all in the community will be able to use the long weekend to take a deep breath, have a rest and ready themselves for the final three weeks of term.
The Year 12 students appear to be well and truly immersed in their studies, busily completing class work, homework and the dreaded SACs. We hope they are preparing themselves well for these, as I know staff will be doing everything in their power to prepare the students as best they can.
Works on the new building continue unabated and we are looking forward to taking up residence in the coming weeks.
As we enter the time of Lent, I thought it fitting that my reflection this week look at a couple of aspects of this very important season in the Catholic Calendar.
Often when we think about Lent, we think of it with a sort of duty, a duty to give something up. But if this is our only thought then we are missing the point. Whilst giving something up for Lent certainly falls under concepts such as fasting or self-denial, which along with prayer and meditative reflection are part of our Lenten tradition, it is much more than this. Lent should be seen more as an invitation to grace rather than the imposition of a burden.
Giving something up is really about entering into a deeper relationship with God. It’s about letting go of our human needs or wants and experiencing the Grace of God in our daily lives, strengthening our spirit and our will. It strengthens us to be more resolved to say yes to God on a complete level.
So often in life we are controlled by our earthly emotions and desires. Entering into a practice of self-denial should act as a reminder to us of the need to strengthen our resolve to focus on the things that will bring about the Kingdom of God in our lives and for those around us.
So make this a great Lent, but don’t get stuck thinking that the Lenten sacrifices are burdensome. They are one essential piece of the pathway to the life God wants to bestow upon us.
Our Lenten tradition can be linked back to the forty days and nights Jesus spent in the desert where he endured human pain and suffering and faced many temptations just like we do in our daily lives. Following Jesus requires us to call on the same Spirit that led or drove, Jesus out into the desert to endure our pain and suffering.
Temptation in life is real. It’s part of human nature, a weakness that is often given in to. Temptation can be a burden and cause emotional and psychological pain, at times causing spiritual pain. Jesus never gave in to the temptations in the desert, nor did He give in to temptations at any other time in His life. But He endured them and suffered them.
His example can be our strength and inspiration in the midst of the temptations we encounter each and every day. Some days we may feel the loneliness and isolation of one who is driven into the desert. We may feel as though our earthly wants and desires are getting the best of us. At these times we must remember that Jesus, in his humanity, also felt this way. It is for these reasons that Jesus Himself is able to meet us in our deserts. He is there, waiting for us, looking for us, calling to us. He is there in the midst of anything and everything we may be going through. And it is He, who will gently guide us out.
So whatever our “desert” is, Jesus is there with us.