Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,
I always feel at this time of the year that there is a sense of urgency among us. It’s like we are all rushing to meet a deadline and that deadline is Christmas day! How many times do we hear people say, I have so much to do before Christmas. Some of us even count down the days, often though, not with a sense of excitement but with fear and dread for all the things we need to do between now and then. There are so many boxes to tick between now and when the Christmas roast comes out of the oven – and the list just seems to get longer!
How nice would be if we could just buy a bit of time to stop and be reflective at this time of the year. What a gift it would be just have a couple more days to give us some breathing space. Unfortunately, I think we would probably just find more things to do to fill in the time.
Our Church presents us with a very different approach as to how we should attend to these last few weeks of the year. As you read this article, we are about to enter the season of Advent in the Christian Church. To me it is like a pre-Christmas gift. A gift that gives us permission to breath, to take time to reflect on our year, to be grateful for all the blessings in our lives and most importantly to prepare for the coming of Jesus, the true gift of Christmas.
Now you might say, that is all well and good, but I still have all these things to get done, to tick off my list, I haven’t got time to reflect, to breath and perhaps even to pray.
Our good friend Pope Francis speaks about advent as time when we should be focussing on the search for peace as we prepare for the coming of Jesus, at Christmas. This Advent season, he says is time to be humble and try to build peace in our souls, in our families and in the world.
It’s really not that hard to find a few minutes in the day to breath, to count our blessings, to say a short prayer for peace, to light a candle in remembrance of a loved one, to make time to listen to the needs of another, to lift someone’s spirits with a kind word or simple gesture. By doing these things we answer Francis’ call to bring a little peace to our world, our family and our own soul.
There is another Francis after whom our Pope is named – St. Francis of Assisi. This other Francis lived around 900 years ago and was famous for his love of nature, his love and devotion to God and his desire for peace in the world. He wrote a famous prayer for peace which I think sums up the intention of advent as we await the coming of Christ – Prince of Peace. I leave it with you as a little gift which you might pray in a moment of quiet amidst the noise of the pre-Christmas rush.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Please keep in your thoughts and prayers the family of Alec Laidlaw 11M2, Dominic Batten 8E5 and John Laidlaw (Class of 2015) whose maternal grandfather (Opa), Anthony Charles Hughes Dale, passed last week. May he rest in peace.
Mr Mark Murphy