College Chaplain Reflection – May 26, 2016

May 25, 2016

Some important marks of the Christian life are the care and attention we are able to show the people around us. I’ve said it before but it is worth repeating. As humans we are created for love. To love and be loved is the meaning of life. Taking this a step further, to love is to look beyond ourselves, to reach beyond the bubble of our own wants and needs. Care and attention are concrete realisations of this -‘other-centredness’ that is fundamental to the vocation to love.

The first place we will live this care and attention will be with those we love. We realise this other-centredness in all those little acts of service and kindness we carry out for our family and friends. We realise it every time we ask -‘How did your day go?’ or -‘Are you okay?’ and wait to hear the answer. These realisations are important; they are like the foundations stones of our being built up in love.

Though a good start, we are called to more. To love those who love us is easy. Christ calls us to move beyond that; to love even without expectation of return. Care and attention therefore must reach out past our own circles of developed relationships. We must show care wherever there is hurt or isolation. We must open our eyes to any and every instance of suffering or injustice. To ignore suffering is not an option. Such indifference erodes our capacity for love.

Of course, the suffering around us is not always immediately apparent. We can only pick up little hints here and there, whispers of a deeper pain. The habit of giving our full attention to the other person allows us to recognise these sign-posts so that we might reach out to those in need. Only then can we fully realise our vocation to love.

Now there is always a value in reflecting on aspects of love. A recent event has however brought this matter to mind. On Wednesday some very reasonable legislation was brought before the Legislative Council of Victoria. This legislation sought to help address the greatest injustice of our time. It sought to reach out to those in distress and to protect the vulnerable. It was voted down. The Council elected instead for the status quo of indifference towards suffering. That was their choice. The question for us is will we give even a moment’s attention to the debate? Do we care?