Principal’s Message – Newsletter 22 August

Welcome to Week Five. This week marks the half-way point of Term Three – a significant time of the year for all of us, in particular our senior students who enter into the last eight weeks of their secondary schooling. We mark the occasion with a mid-term break in the hope that the boys will use this time to reflect on their progress to this point and set themselves goals for the remainder of this term as well as catch up on any work that is required.

In the football mad state that we reside, we often hear the catch cry “the third quarter is the premiership quarter”. I believe this to be very true of a school year. The third term can often be the hardest as we have completed a significant portion of the year – however there is still a significant way to go. Some of us will lose our focus and tell ourselves how tired we are. I encourage all boys, especially our Year 12 students, to focus on the fact that the academic year is almost finished. A little pain in the next 10 weeks will lead to gain in November.

Over the past couple of weeks I have reflected on the story of St Paul and the message he had for the people of his time. Today’s reflection focuses on the life of St Paul and the importance his life holds for us today.

St Paul belonged to the Jewish Diaspora, the Greek-speaking Jewish communities that had spread throughout the Greco-Roman world following the conquests of Alexander the Great some centuries earlier. His privileged dual cultural background allowed him the luxury of an education in both Greek and Jewish culture leading to an ability to easily move between Jewish and Greek communities. This would later hold him in good stead in his missionary career.

St Paul’s early adult life was spent ruthlessly persecuting the early Christians, fuelled by his anger that such a group would threaten his faith, the Torah, Law of Moses and his relationship with God. He saw this as a duty of his ancestral Jewish faith and his role as a Pharisee. St Paul was uncompromising in carrying out his mission which was to last two or three years. It was only after his encounter with the risen Lord that he was to convert to Christianity and become an apostle of Jesus.

For me, St Paul’s story has such significance because of his willingness to change his life following his encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus. Whilst an encounter such as this would have an impact on all of us, I wonder in our busy lives today whether we would have the openness to the Grace of God that would allow such an event to change our lives so significantly. St Paul was a person, who up until this encounter, thought he knew exactly what he was to do with his life. St Paul’s openness to God would lead him to dramatically change the direction of his life, turning his back on a life of persecution of Christians to become an Apostle of the Lord, to preach the Gospel and found the Church.

I encourage us all to reflect on the life of St Paul and his missionary works and ask the questions; are we open to the moments of Grace that we are blessed with in our lives? Would we be willing to change the direction of our lives if we were to discover that there is another calling for us?

Whilst most of us have quite strong views on what we want to do and how we want to do it, should we allow ourselves an openness to be influenced or even changed by someone or something greater than ourselves? Perhaps these thoughts are worth reflecting on.

God Bless.

Robert Brennan