Mission Report – August 11, 2016

August 10, 2016

This week Year 11 students heard a presentation from Mr. John Maher. This is what John writes on his website:

Carmen (age 18), the youngest of our four beautiful daughters lost her life in a car crash on 18th Nov 1995. Since then I have waged my own very personal road safety campaign in the hope that other parents don’t have to live the life that we live, a life without your child as a result of a car crash.

For the past 17 years 150,000 secondary school students throughout Australia have heard Carmen’s Road Safety Message, and this year at 80 secondary schools, 16,000 students heard Carmen’s story, and their lives have been changed forever. They now understand their responsibility as a road user through Carmen’s potentially life-saving message.

As a follow up to this extraordinary presentation, I sent our Year 11 students the following e-mail.

Good afternoon Year 11 students,

– On Tuesday many of us were privileged to hear John Maher speak about the tragic events in his life. I would like to offer you some thoughts as a follow up to this time together.

  1. Can you recall how you felt as you listened to John speak? Students have remarked that they felt a connection that was deeply personal and emotional -“ they physically reacted to what they were hearing. If this was also the case with you, can you explain why?

  2. When John repeated that each of you were the most important person in the world, and that each person you meet is the most important person in the world, how did that make you feel? Did that amazing claim sing with a truth deep in your heart and soul? If so, can you explain why?

I would like to propose an answer to you in three parts.

  1. What you experienced was the creative power of love. When John spoke about the impact on his life of his own accident and the death of Carmen, you knew he was speaking out of love. When you reacted to his story in the way that you did, in a way that could not be controlled, you were reacting with your capacity to love. This capacity is both uniquely personal and binding in the way we all share the same capacity. When he said that we are all the most important person in the world he was confirming the power of love to transcend this physical universe -“ we are more than just adding up atoms and particles. You experienced who you really are. What you were experiencing is your transcendent identity.

  2. In a very real way you experienced God. This was a religious experience because when we encounter the deepest desires of our heart, that which we know we did not create but have been given to us a gift because we are human, then we encounter the giver of those gifts. When we receive a birthday present that seems so generous our reaction is to the giver, not the inanimate object that will one day be forgotten, lost or be broken. But the generosity and love that was from the giver will never disappear. In your deep response to the power of John story you encountered the part of you that will never change, erode or disappear; it will be your guide in life as you seek the joys and deal with the suffering of this life -“ it was the presence of God that you experienced.

  3. Jesus did not give in to hate and violence but endured his suffering out of love. This love was the resurrection from the dead to eternal life. John has followed this path, and endured his suffering with love, so he speaks the power of the Resurrection into our lives. Christ was in the room on Tuesday.- –

Do you understand what I am trying to say? Is it an explanation that is worthy of the depth of feeling that you experienced on Tuesday? What other explanations do you have? That is up to you to answer. However, you do need some explanation of what you feel whenever you experience what seems inescapably real and important.

– Peace and joy