“A guru asked his disciples how they could tell when the night had ended and day begun. One said, ‘When you see an animal in the distance and can tell whether it is a cow or a horse.’ ‘No’, said the guru. ‘When you look at a tree in the distance and can tell if it is a neem tree or a mango tree.’ ‘Wrong again’, said the guru. ‘Well, then, what is it?’ asked the disciples.
‘When you look into the face of any man and recognise your brother in him: when you look into the face of any woman and recognise in her your sister. If you cannot do this, no matter what time it is by the sun it is still night.” (Prayer of the Frog, Anthony de Mello, p227).
At Christmas, we celebrate Emmanuel, God-with-us. How can we recognise God with us if ‘it is still night’? As I look around today, I see those whose lives are lived in the light – who recognise each person as their sister or brother. I also see those whose lives are more in shadow. Christmas reminds us that all is not as it should be. However, Christmas also reminds us where we are headed and God’s grace will guide us.
Young people sense this bright vision of God-with-us, where each person is our sister or brother. It is what motivates them in all of their efforts towards social justice. Our role is to ensure they clearly see the origin of that vision – the source of all good, God.
Wishing you a great week and a great holiday. May you be showered with peace and love at Christmas and may that bright vision be your guide throughout 2015
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)
Firstly, we say that, as humans, we are made in God’s image. Surely, amongst many other things, this verse attests to the basic goodness of each person. For each of us this attests, despite our feelings on any given day, that “I am created in God’s image’. The verse also speaks of how men and women are created in God’s image. Women and men have not, nor never will be, the same. But the power and import of this ancient passage seems to have ‘lost out’ for many centuries in any battle against cultural forces. As people of faith, we need to affirm the goodness and dignity of each person.
Our task is to ensure that young people hear the message that each of them are good and that we continue to affirm that message by our dealings with them.
Have a great week!
He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
As humans, we can be impressed by the grand, the huge – by ‘bells and whistles’. One of the reasons that I am moved by this passage is that it reminds me that I need to be alert to God at unexpected times and places. It also encourages me to make the time to hear the silence or what is also translated as a ‘still, small voice’. This could be easily drowned out by the busyness of life!
While we tell the young people in our care that community service is an opportunity to live their faith, it would not seem very ‘impressive’ to them. One of the beauties of the service opportunities we offer to young people is that it can allow them to see the ‘face of Jesus’ in those they serve and those with whom they serve. We need to give them a framework within which they can reflect upon their experience. The rest is up to God!
Have a great week!
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
I love John’s Gospel! There is something about its poetry, its majesty that speaks to me on a very deep level. I was fortunate to have Frank Moloney as my lecturer and guide who helped awaken the passion in me. This poetic passage affirms our belief that Jesus (the Word) was fully human (flesh), something that comes from the Greek that can also be translated as ‘blood and guts’. Glory is a theme in John’s Gospel, mostly in reference to God’s glory. The passage also emphasises that the Gospel is based in eyewitness testimony, ‘we have seen his glory’. Do we have the eyes to see the glory of those who are fully alive around us? It might be a colleague or a young person. Our vocation puts us in a very privileged position.
The Incarnation is at the heart of our faith. We are each imbued with God’s glory. We need to encourage our young people to remember that they are constantly in God’s presence – in the form of the people in their lives. This faith leads us to respect ourselves and all around us. That will help to turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh – and witness God’s glory, daily.
Have a great week…and term!
On reaching this ‘ton’, I thank each of you for your support and encouragement that has made these reflections possible.
And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)
This is one of a number of Scripture passages that, to me, are at the heart of the Gospel message. Talk is cheap – what am I doing? How am I treating the people I encounter? Am I paying each person the respect that they are due from their God-given dignity? This fundamental respect of each person flows from our belief in the Incarnation – which is truly Lasallian, truly Franciscan, truly Christian. Another thing that strikes me is that we are all members of the one family.
Most, if not all, schools provide opportunities to ‘open the eyes’ of the young people in their care. Such opportunities include Caritas, Franciscans International, the Lasallian Foundation and other worthwhile charities where both money and awareness can be raised. There are also the many service projects such as soup vans, refugee tutoring and aged care where the young may glimpse the face of Jesus. And there are the remarkable service and immersion programs that involve travel to other countries. Whatever form it takes, young people are thirsting for justice – thirsting to live their faith through living justly – walking the talk.
Have a great week!
Adults and teenagers
Duck and weave
Through the downpour
Along comes a grim-faced mother
Holding the hand
Of a drenched six year old
Who yells with joy
At being in the rain
Such unbridled joy
Makes me grin
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God”
Glimpse of the glory
The world is a big place
Its sheer size
Is testament to God’s grandeur
But it’s more than that.
Our tiny brains
Occasionally glimpse God’s work
Where we live
But travel opens our eyes
To the size, complexity and subtlety
Of God’s canvas.
We catch a glimpse
Of the Artist at work
What Merton refers to
As the ‘cosmic dance’.
We describe, ascribe and define
What we see
As if we can control it.
Out of our comfort zones
As we travel
We can delight
In the glory
Of the Artist’s creation.
Would that we keep that
In our hearts and souls