Dear members of the Whitefriars College family,
As Catholic Educators it is our mission to bring the Good News of Jesus to the young people we serve. I have to say that in our quest to achieve this lofty aim, we don’t always hit the mark. Trying to explain the great mysteries of our faith is an art that we can spend a lifetime developing and still, we never truly know if we have left some sort of impression. In these moments when we attempt to connect our young people with faith, I say thank God for Mary. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is a gift to us – of what it truly means to live a Christian life. It is little wonder that the first Carmelites who came to together on Mt. Carmel over 800 years ago, chose Mary as their guide. Today when a person chooses the life of a Carmelite, they are asked to take on Mary as their model for life. Mary helps to understand not only who Jesus was, but also what he is calling each of us to be.
Like any good mother, Mary lived in the moment. Mary never cloistered herself away or lived in the past or for the future. She was there for her family at the most significant moments of their lives. When her family was in need, she reached out in support of them, putting aside her own concerns to be with others in need. When her son was lost, she dropped everything to search for him. When he started his public life, she believed in him. When he was taking his last breath on the cross, she was with him. When the early church was at it’s most fragile, she was there to inspire, support and lead her community.
All the while in every circumstance or experience, Mary always pondered these things in her heart. Which to me means that, like the rest of us, she grappled with things, struggled to make meaning of what was happening and searched in her heart to find the answers.
In my life, I grapple and struggle to make sense of what is happening around me and in the world, particularly at this time. It is at these moments, I try to do what Mary did. Stop, ponder, contemplate and pray. One of most important prayers in our Church is one that was written in about the fifteenth century. It was a prayer to Mary, called the Memorare. A prayer which reminds us that Mary is ready to help us when we need it.
On Saturday 15 August, we celebrated one of the most significant feast days in the Church’s calendar – The feast of the Assumption of Mary. On this day, we celebrate the central role of Mary in our Church and in our faith. Our good friend, Pope Francis, tells us that Mary’s assumption into heaven calls people to put aside all those insignificant, mundane and petty concerns competing for their attention and instead be drawn to God and his greatness.
At Whitefriars, I see every day how much pride our young men have in our College. I have never heard of a Whitefriars boy, who was shy of letting everyone know the school he come from. They proudly wear their uniform with the crest on their pocket; a symbol of the place of Mary in our College. So if then, we steadfastly identify ourselves as people of Whitefriars, should we not as proudly identify ourselves as people of Mary? Should we not take some time to ponder, to reflect, to contemplate and perhaps to pray about the times we are in and see how the example of Mary can guide us in these challenging times?
As people committed to the Carmelite tradition, let us remember the example of Mary who…
- took a leap of faith (Annunciation)
- put her own needs aside and go out to where the real need is (Visitation)
- reflected and ponder the Good News of Jesus in her heart (The Temple)
- didn’t run away when times were hard (The Cross)
- Got on with the business of spreading the Good News (Pentecost)
Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Pray for us
Almae In Fide Parentis
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help, or sought your intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy, hear and answer me.
Mr Mark Murphy