Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    Faith Matters

    Article by Mr Brendan Nicholls

    Faith Matters – Peace

    As we return from our Easter break we are joyous as we have again celebrated Jesus’ victory over death and all that is not of God. On the final day of Term 1 we celebrated this story in our Easter liturgy. This year Mr. David Rock and our Theatre Studies class presented a contemporary performance of the Stations of the Cross. This year an additional station was added to complete our celebration of Holy Week and Easter, with the resurrection also celebrated as we went off to our Easter break. Note that images of this event can be seen on the gallery in our website.

     On our return from holidays we reflect upon our liturgy and are refreshed and rejuvenated after a break from the daily routine and the challenges of school. For a short period, we experience a sense of peace as we reenter in to the routine of school, new learning and assessment tasks that will soon appear. These moments we should make an effort to savour. Soon we will hope to relive them as the pressure of our daily lives challenge the contentment we currently experience.

     Jesus is often and aptly referred to as the Prince of Peace. In the days before he was crucified and when he appeared to the Apostles after his resurrection Jesus offered them his peace, saying: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid”. We are reminded of this promise each mass as these words are offered during the sign of peace.

     Peace is elusive and can seem contradictory. We find peace and then we lose it. Sometimes we seek it desperately and cannot find it and at other times notice we are at peace even though we may be surrounded by chaos. Peace can be contradictory as it can be found at times or in places that are anything but peaceful. I may be that in fact peace finds us.

     The challenge of peace is that we often believe that external factors influence the peace we experience. When we are challenged we might find that we are agitated and cannot find peace. When something happens around us or is directed towards us we may feel that peace is taken from us. Being able to hold onto peace is one of the greatest challenges we face.

     Next week we commemorate ANZAC Day at the College. We remember those who fought to protect our values and way of life. We do not celebrate the violence required to achieve the outcome or the death of the enemy our service men and women fought against. We remember that sacrifice, the end of warfare and ability for people to go about their lives without fear or injustice. We pray that never again will one country seek war or resort to violence to achieve an outcome.

     We are assured that wars will end. The prophet Isaiah promised that a day will come where:

    The cow and the bear shall graze,

    their young shall lie down together;

    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

    The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,

    and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.

    This prophecy depends upon the life, death and resurrection of Jesus to be true. Its fulfillment depends though upon on you and I. For this peace to become a reality upon the earth we need to make decisions each day to offer the love of God to every person we meet and in deciding how we respond to each situation.

    Our belief is that God’s forgiveness, mercy and love are limitless. We are able to understand how much he loves each and every person. Even those we shun or dislike. Our task is to find peace always, especially when confronted with challenge or persecution. Encouraged by the Holy Spirit and the gifts given to us by God we have courage to offer and find peace even in the most hopeless situations. When confronted by aggression or injustice we have the opportunity to respond in light of the Gospel and offer the peace of Jesus, through forgiveness and genuine love for the good that can be found in that person or situation.

    Being able to truly live as a disciple is difficult. Our emotions and biases cloud our thinking and taint our responses if not kept in check. Therefore, we must take time to connect with God and offer our burdens to him. Free of situations that we cannot control or respond as we should we are then able to focus on remaining at peace and reflecting this peace back into the relationship or situation that threatens to remove our sense of peace. In doing so we are able to truly achieve our calling and help bring peace into the world. 

    As we move into the new term we can be certain that we will experience times of difficulty and frustration. We may experience moments of conflict and anger. How we respond during these times are indicative of our spiritual maturity and faith in Jesus. We are called to find God in all things and respond to the person or situation aware of this reality. What is fundamentally true about life is that all things pass. Peace does not have to though; it has been promised to us. Remember that even the enemies vanquished will always, with time, be forgiven and sometimes become our greatest allies.

    As we consider peace and commemorate ANZAC Day let us remember the sacrifice and suffering of so many throughout history and how forgiveness makes an enemy our friend. In the words of comfort offered by Atatürk to the families of the ANZAC’s who died are a buried at Gallipoli let us consider forgiveness, peace and love.

    Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore, rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours ... You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

     Endeavour to always forgive, be merciful and love. Seek peace and offer peace in everything you say and do. In this way you can fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah, through faith in Christ. Because in doing these things “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”.

    Yours in Christ,

    Brendan Nicholls  Liturgy Coordinator



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