Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    Faith Matters - Verse

    Article by Mr Brendan Nicholls

    Faith Matters - Verse

    As we finish the semester we enter into a fortnight of rest and relaxation. It amazes me how quickly two weeks passes during the holidays. Before you know it well-meaning people will be noting that ‘you have less than a week left!’. With this in mind it’s worth spending some time considering what holidays offer us and how we might best utilise the time offered.

    School holidays vary throughout the year and from year to year. Some holidays are pre-planned with ‘holidays’ to overseas destinations or to locations in Australia some distance from home. The Christmas holidays are superb as the weather is hot, Christmas is celebrated and the whole family has a number of weeks together. The term one holidays always offer us excitement in the celebration of Easter and time with family and friends over an extended break, the weather is good so camping is always an option. The term three holidays are usually cold and wet – best spent somewhere north! The mid-year semester break is the period where we generally have not much is planned. The end of semester holidays are an excellent vehicle to explore the idea relaxation and contentment. Let’s consider how these coming weeks may be enhanced and offer more than we might normally experience.

    Assuming nothing ‘big’ is planned these holidays we have fourteen days to fill. The first weekend is often spent idle. Many sports and hobbies have a break over the school holidays. So the first weekend is savoured as a time to ‘chill out. No school work (for teachers or students) and very little is planned. These first few days are a time to unwind and forget the day to day pressures that have for almost three months have become increasingly demanding.

    Once the first weekend passes the challenge is to use the remaining days well. How might one best make use of time offered to rest and rejuvenate? There are a number of options. Take each day as it comes. Or have one activity planned each day so that days don’t simply drift by. Another option might be to book everyday fully and use every minute in doing something that is worthwhile. There is no right or wrong. We each spend the time as we see fit. Each day we are allotted 86400 seconds. How we use them in our holidays is completely up to us. 

    The beauty of the holidays is that they offer us freedom. We have no commitments. We can choose what we do and when we do it. With this freedom we can use the time in a manner that brings contentment and wholeness or we can ‘waste’ the time doing things that leave us unfulfilled. We individually judge what is time well spent and what is time wasted. What we do with our time is unique and personal. The key to enjoying our holidays is to be in control of our choices and in being able to evaluate what was done in that time as being of value.

    I wandered lonely as a cloud

    That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

    When all at once I saw a crowd,

    A host, of golden daffodils;

    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.


    Continuous as the stars that shine

    And twinkle on the milky way,

    They stretched in never-ending line

    Along the margin of a bay:

    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.


    The waves beside them danced; but they

    Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

    A poet could not but be gay,

    In such a jocund company:

    I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

    What wealth the show to me had brought:


    For oft, when on my couch I lie

    In vacant or in pensive mood,

    They flash upon that inward eye

    Which is the bliss of solitude;

    And then my heart with pleasure fills,

    And dances with the daffodils.

    The poem offers a beautiful vision of nature that leads us to a sense of gratitude to God for his gift of creation. The images Wordsworth paints with his words are alone enough to draw us beyond our normal thoughts. They direct us to Ignatius’ vision of ‘finding God in all things’. Nature is remarkable in the way in which it can move us from the ordinary to the profound or transcendent. So much occurs perfectly without the need for our actions. Nature is truly breath-taking.

    As we move towards the school holidays we have the chance to use these thoughts well by spending some time in contemplation. Going out and observing the world that is so often concealed from our gaze nourishes us spiritually. Nature can never lead us to a feeling of boredom. There is so much happening if we simply ‘be’ we will be awestruck with the complexity of the interactions occurring all around. The secret to experience these things is to begin.

    Over the holidays I encourage you to make time each day to go out and observe. Do nothing. Do not go for a jog or walk the dog. These activities offer rewards we often experience. Spend the time doing something different. When you are comfortable with this practice go a step further. As Ignatius suggests intentionally seek to ‘find God’ in the moment. This experience may offer a profound insight to the absolute presence of God that can be camouflaged in our normal interactions. We find God easily in friendships or things such as music. Purposefully seeking God in the ordinary without doing enables us to see with great clarity how present God is in every way; endlessly.

    However you may choose to spend your time over these holidays I hope that when we return as a community you can look back upon the two weeks and say that it was time well spent. I wish you well as you enter this break and that you might be able to take up the suggestion; get out, observe, seek God and relax.

    Yours in Christ,

    Brendan Nicholls  Liturgy Coordinator


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