Mission Report – September 19, 2019

September 18, 2019

Spring looks like it may finally be here after a long and cold winter. It is Ballarat so I most likely speak too soon. One of the casualties of winter can be our sense of wonder as we endure bitter low temperatures, the constant interruption of clouds obscuring the sun that make us bow our heads and think about sunny days ahead. But it is always important to keep our sense of wonder in fine health and through it engage today with the world around us.

Surely the beauty of God’s creation is a constant reminder that a sense of wonder and awe should be a fundamental part of each day. Every person we meet is a mystery to us, for we lose something of human living if we think we know all there is to know about a person, and refuse to be surprised by what they say and do. Life is mystery. Life is trust and love, and our sense of wonder is a sixth sense through which we experience the world as it really is. Jesuit priest and poet Gerard Manly Hopkins compels us to live in wonder:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.


And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Nature is never spent! Every person is an invitation to love! The Holy Spirit animates and connects us all in the perfect love of God. The Holy Spirit inspired St Paul to proclaim

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life,

nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers,

nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth,

nor any other creature,

shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Rom 8:38-39)

Let us take a moment during the next fortnight to thank God for all the gifts of this term. For gifts are complex things: there is the giver, the giving, the gift and the gracious receiving. We need to take the time to consider this complexity or run this risk of losing our sense of wonder, taking this life for granted, and wasting the only chance we get at authoring a truly worthwhile story. May God bless us all.