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From the Rector
In the Christian tradition, the 40-day period before Easter (which this year occurs on Sunday 16 April, during the first term holidays) is known as LENT. We began this period on Wednesday 1 March, and in the Christian calendar this day is known as ASH Wednesday. To mark the occasion, the College held a ceremony in “Oratory” groups, during which ashes were placed on the foreheads of staff and students in the form of small cross. The use of ashes has a long tradition, going back to the Old Testament, as a symbol of repentance for the wrong we have done to others, and as an admission that we all need to be forgiven for our failures and mistakes.
The gospel of St Matthew recommends three ways to express our repentance: through prayer, fasting, and helping others (almsgiving). In every Catholic school the tradition of keeping Lent in those three ways has always been given strong emphasis. (Elsewhere you can read the message of Archbishop Hart on Lent and how to celebrate it).
Lent is a time of preparation for the great feast of the Resurrection of Jesus (Easter).
Recently I came across an interesting reflection on fasting during Lent – not just fasting from food and drink, but also from our feelings of negativity. And in line with the preparation for the feast of Easter, we should also reflect on feasting on positive things.
So Lent can be more than just praying and fasting – it can also be a season of feasting.
We could all try to:
Fast from judging others – and feast on God’s image in which we are created.
Fast from negative things – and feast on the positive ones.
Fast from pointing out our differences – and feast on the things that unite us.
Fast from worry of sickness – and feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from discontent – and feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger – and feast on patience.
Fast from selfishness – and feast on generosity.
Fast from complaining – and feast on appreciation.
Fast from bitterness – and feast on forgiveness.
Fast from discouragement and despair – and feast on hope.
Fast from self-pity and anxiety – and feast on compassion for others.
Fast from what is depressing – and feast on what is uplifting.
Fast from hostility and aggression – and feast on tolerance and harmony.
Fast from idle gossip – and feast on relaxing silence.
Fast from problems and noise – and feast on contemplative prayer.
Fast from television and internet – and feast on quality time with family.
Fast from what is material and passing – and feast on what is divine and eternal.
Because, in the end, it is not what we fast FROM that counts, but what fasting enables us to do, that is; shifting our attention from ourselves, and putting the service of God and others first!
Fr Frank Bertagnolli SDB