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Principal’s Message: Term 2, Week 4, 2022

“Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear families and friends of St Edmund’s College,

I find it difficult to believe that we find ourselves nearly at the halfway point of this term. We have had a very strong commencement to the term, and hopefully our boys are able to continue their positive spirits into the second half of the term.

Over the past few weeks we have had a number of events where year groups have come together for purposes of formation.  A number of year groups have already had their retreat days, with Year 12 students having their three day retreat next week in Jindabyne. The retreat experience has a significant place at St Edmund’s College, whether it is a one day experience or three days. Retreats give our students the opportunity to take a step back from their busy lives at school and at home, and reflect on who they are, what they do and where they are going. Most of us probably don’t have the time to sit down every day and meditate on who we’ve been in the past, but retreats give us this opportunity. By reflecting on who we’ve been, we can better understand who God desires us to become.  More importantly, retreats provide the opportunity to put this understanding of who we are and who we aim to be in the context of others.  Retreats are perfect opportunities to build community with people, to connect further with people we know well and to connect with people we may not know well. The relationship with ourselves, with others and with the diversity of our faith is the cornerstone of our retreat program.

Relationships are at the core of last week’s Gospel reading (John 13:31-33A, 34-35). “When Judas had left them, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.’”

On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus used the expression “little children” to lovingly refer to His disciples as he prepared them for his imminent departure.  Jesus’ affection for the disciples is clear in the passage, as he wants to leave the disciples with an invaluable life lesson, hence the new commandment. Jesus’ love for his disciples here is akin to the love that a parent has for their child.

The new commandment is not really new as there are many passages in the Old and New Testament that refer to the love of others. The Old Testament used similar words in the commandment to “love your neighbour as yourself” and Leviticus 19:18 tells us, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord”.  So why does Jesus refer to his words as a new commandment?

In Jesus’ new commandment, the significant words are “as I have loved you.” Christ’s command to love “as I have loved you” is the new commandment.  This depth of love takes us to a whole new way of expressing love for others. The love that Jesus Christ had and continues to have for His followers is infinitely more profound than the love expressed in “you shall love your neighbour as yourself.” When we express love toward others, it should not be just as we love ourselves, but as Christ loves us.  Jesus presents himself as the model and source of love. His is a love without limits, universal, with the power to transform even suffering and negative circumstances into opportunities to love. This is indeed a very powerful concept and can seem almost too overwhelmingly impossible to achieve that some of us would not even try.  But with thought and prayer, followed by appropriate action, it is achievable as Pope Francis reminds us,

“We must ask the Lord to make us correctly understand this law of love. How beautiful it is to love one another as true brothers and sisters. How beautiful! Let’s do something today. We may all have likes and dislikes; many of us are perhaps a little angry with someone; then let us say to the Lord: Lord, I am angry with this or that person; I am praying to you for him or her. To pray for those with whom we are angry is a beautiful step towards that law of love. Shall we take it? Let’s take it today!” (from the Pope’s General Audience, 12 June 2013).

As I was writing this article, I looked up from my desk and immediately saw two things in my office that reflected so clearly the concept of Jesus’ new commandment.  First was a poster of our 2022 Scriptural Theme, “Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works” which gives a wonderfully uplifting message of not only the love that we as individuals need to have for others, but how we can stir each other to that same love.  The second was the framed version of the Statement of Eddies Pride that sits in my office.  It struck me that four of the five statements have to do with relationships with others (with the first statement focusing on the relationship we have with ourselves).  The final four statements in the Statement of Eddies Pride asks the boys to always keep their relationship with others at the forefront of their thoughts and action:

  • “investing in respectful, positive relationships with everyone in my College and wider community.
  • contributing to a constructive learning environment and meeting College expectations
  • honouring our College name, reputation and faculties.
  • reflecting the College motto, Christus Lux Mea, in all that I say and do”.

This is a big ask of our students, but like Jesus’ new commandment, it is not insurmountable.  Our boys can achieve the aspirations in the Statement of Eddies Pride by thinking before they act, by learning from their poor decisions and by always seeing themselves as part of a much wider and important community. It is not impossible.  It may be easy to achieve these on some days and very difficult on other days, but we do not give up and waste the opportunities given to us to love others as Jesus loves others.

Congratulations
On the weekend of 23‑24 April 2022, Henry Martin (Year 8, Haydon) competed in the Australian Little Athletics Championships held at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne. Henry was selected to represent the ACT and competed individually in the 100m and 200m Sprints, 200m Hurdles, Shot Put, and Discus, and was a member of the 4x100m Relay team. Henry achieved a personal best in Shot Put throwing a distance of 9.96m, just missing out on the final round of throws.

Leading up to being selected in the ACT Team, Henry needed to compete in a number of selection events including the Under 14-18s Athletics ACT Championships where he won three silver and one bronze medal. He also competed in the Under 13s Little Athletics ACT Championships where he won three gold and one silver medal, and at that time achieved personal bests in the 200m Sprint, 200m Hurdles, Shot Put and Discus. He currently now ‘dually’ holds the Corroboree Little Athletics Club record for Discus.

Henry commenced competing in athletics with Corroboree Little Athletics Club in 2019 to increase his fitness. He says he never expected to like athletics so much but he truly enjoys it, particularly because he has formed some great friendships outside of school, gets to compete against his friends and challenges him to achieve personal bests in each event over the year.  Henry also enjoys competing as part of the St Edmund’s Athletics Team for the same reasons.

Henry hopes to continue to improve in all events and continue to compete as part of Athletics ACT at national champions. He hopes to one day compete in decathlons with his Athletics Club and also represent St Edmund’s College in future athletics events.

Prayer: Bless us with Love
Bless us with Love, O Merciful God;
that we may Love as you Love!
That we may show patience, tolerance,
kindness, caring and love to all!
Give me knowledge; O giver of Knowledge,
that I may be one with my Universe and Mother Earth!
O Compassionate One, grant compassion unto us;
that we may help all fellow souls in need!
Bless us with your Love O God.
Bless us with your Love.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever

Joe Zavone
Principal
Christus Lux Mea

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