Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 18:3)
the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ (1 Sam 16:7)
On reaching this ‘ton’, I thank each of you for your support and encouragement that has made these reflections possible.
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.
G’day! After much prayer and reflection, I’ve decided to strike out in a new direction with the reflections, by reflecting upon pieces of scripture – though always with a Lasallian and Franciscan ‘flavour’. I hope that you find something in them for you!
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)
Such a passage makes me wonder: What does it mean to live life abundantly? What do I need to do to live up to this passage? “Living life to the full” can be an excuse for hedonism. However, this full life is connected to Jesus who is the one speaking in this passage. Think about how Jesus lived his life…selflessly, literally poured out for others. So, I think living life to the full has more to do with making the most of my talents, my opportunities and my relationships. It is my firm belief that a full life is one that is lived for others – one that embraces the Franciscan wisdom of “it is giving that we receive”. A full life is also lived by the Lasallian wisdom of touching hearts – focussing on our relationships. I also believe that a full life entails celebrating the small things that are easily ignored – a flower, a smile, any baby.
It is easy for young people to be seduced into thinking that a full life is centred on “me”. Rather, it is our task to guide them into seeing that the full life is truly centred on “we” – develop and use my talents, so that I can build my community. When we all act in that manner, we might glimpse a Pentecost moment!
Have a great week…and term!
Michelle Newland is a living miracle – and in her own way, an angel of the Lord. This is not just true because of her recovery after dying in her mother’s arms after an asthma attack at age 19. Nor is it true because she can walk and talk now rather than be in a vegetative state that the medical experts said would be her lot. Nor is it true just because of the wonderfully inspirational talks she gives – full of humour and determination. For me, Michelle is a living miracle primarily because of her extraordinary faith. As she said, “My faith is like oxygen to my brain…I can’t live without it”. As Christians, we proclaim that salvation goes through the cross. Michelle and her family have endured a type of crucifixion – yet are now exploring an extraordinary resurrection – full of life and love and hope. Truly a miracle for all who have been blessed to see and hear it. When someone like Michelle says “Never ever give up” – you take notice.
If you want to know more about her story, go to www.michellenewland.com
May all the graces God gives us, no matter how remarkable they may be, incline us also to humble ourselves. John Baptist De La Salle
“My students consistently do well on tests”; “I had a student get a perfect subject score last year”; “My daughter was accepted into the Medicine course”; “My wife and I are travelling overseas next month”. These are all good things in themselves. The point is that each of these situations is a grace, a gift from God. Think of the Olympic gold medallist (in whatever discipline or sport) – they work, they train many long gruelling hours and richly deserve their accolades. How many competitors are there? How many suffer from illness, injury or some relational upset that prevents them from doing their best? Sport is littered with such stories. That is why the humble champion, like Roger Federer, rings true for many people.
Our message for young people? Discover your gifts. Be your best, but don’t get carried away on ego-fuelled flights of fancy. The expression ‘pride comes before a fall’ doesn’t strike us as true for no reason!
Have a great week!