December 2, 2022
by Assistant Principal – Mission and Identity, Mr Geoff Brodie
You know ‘the time’ has come: you must wake up now: our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted. (Rom 13:11)
We have entered the Season of Advent: a time of preparation for the great joy of Jesus’ birth at Christmas. As with all times of practice, it requires awareness of our current way of life and the desire to enrich our living with even more significant meaning and value.
Let us take a moment to speculate that the term “Advent” with the focus always on the initiative and power of God’s love. Advent is the combination of two words: advance and event. First, the mystery of Christmas is that God advances to meet us in the child Jesus. God is not a remote and distant being but comes to us – advancing without delay to take on our human condition with all its joys and sufferings – out of infinite love. As we know in our lives, love always moves us closer to those we love, so Christmas is associated with family time and gathering with friends.
Secondly, the mystery of Christmas is a great event – a moment of significant meaning and value. Christmas is a mysterious gift truly beyond our full comprehension. God takes on our human nature. God shares our humanity in Jesus not because we have earned such a gift but because God wants us to share in the perfect joy of love. Unsurprisingly, Christmas is associated with giving gifts as preparation for receiving the perfect gift of God’s love. Think of the joy we see when a child receives a gift beyond all their expectations.
As St Paul says, we must wake up now. We must initiate love in our world. The Season of Advent reminds us that now is the time to move towards those we love, who need love, are without love, and bring this great event of joy and healing into their lives. It is my joy to briefly share with you two stories of people living in the spirit of Advent: going out to meet others in loving service.
As part of the Loreto College Year 12 Religious Education curriculum, Loreto collaborates with Compassionate Ballarat to gather poignant stories from peers who have actively responded to suffering they have encountered. This year included the story of St Patrick’s College Year 10 student Noah Quick.
For several years Noah has actively responded to the suffering of primary or secondary students in Tarneit with a migrant or refugee background. Through his participation in the College tutoring program, Noah encountered students “unable to express themselves through conversation, to focus on the task that was put in front of them, or to complete the work to the standard of their year level.”
Noah, with other students, regularly made the after-school trip to Tarneit to “build connections/friendships between the students (and) gain an understanding of how… extraordinary some students are, (and) through their skills and their abilities (to overcome the challenges that they face through no fault of their own).
In this week’s Crest, our Principal Mr Steven O’Connor has already recognised staff member Mr. Michael Weadon, as the recipient of the National EREA Charter Leadership Award for the Touchstone ‘Justice and Solidarity.’ I wish to add my congratulations to Mr Weadon – another example of living in the spirit of Advent – and my personal thanks for his joy-filled and enduring service over many years to the St. Patrick’s College community. Noah and Michael are inspiring examples of the living spirit of Advent.
Finally, I pray that your Christmas may be a time of great joy and love and that families will unhesitatingly advance towards one another to celebrate the great event: A Saviour is born to us.