A time for reflection

There are certain times of the year that I connect with deeply.

As a lover of all things sporting, one of my favourite times of the year is the AFL Grand Final weekend. Watching the players and fans celebrate the ultimate sporting possibility after a lot of preparation and sacrifice is a stirring time (with the exception being 2013 when the Dockers broke my heart). Although vastly different to that last weekend in September, as a Catholic, Lent is a period on our liturgical calendar that also moves me. It is a time of reconnecting with God and finding strength in our faith, and I find it allows for renewal and inspiration that makes me look at so many aspects of my life in a deeper and more profound way. This special time encourages us to revalue our lives, ponder the deeper questions, go without luxuries and material extravagances, and get in touch with our spirituality. In a nutshell: Lent offers us a chance to get real.

Lent reflects the time that Jesus was in the desert enduring temptation by Satan and culminated in His return to Galilee to commence His final mission to go out and spread the word of God. Alone in the Judaean Desert for 40 days, Jesus met His deepest and darkest fears, He was tested beyond belief but not beyond His strength, and He relied on the Holy Scriptures to resist. 

Lent reminds us to do the same – to rely on God to help us though periods of spiritual abstinence, through times of famine and hardship. It reminds us to think of others who do not have the same privileges that we do, who live without the comforts we have and who do without the small things we take for granted every day. During this Lenten period, we should look at the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us as our motivation to repent for our wrongs and live a life in the glory of His teachings. The Gospel Values are not rocket science and they do not belong to one particular faith; they are things like kindness, compassion, patience, service and love. Lent encourages us all – Christian or not – to ponder our part in the universe and how we can make the world a better place.

As Catholics, this time of contemplation and reflection prepares us for the significance of Easter, when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the hope and joy that we can feel from the salvation and redemption that His sacrifice gave to all of humanity. At CBC we provide opportunities for the boys to appreciate this by small and large activities. From Dr Holohan’s Shrove Tuesday pancakes in his Mentor Group, to the beautiful community Ash Wednesday liturgy and the dramatic Easter celebration that is always mesmerising, as well as daily RE classes that explore the possibilities and power of spiritual life, the College is awake and alive to the blessings of our faith more than ever during this time.

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Dr Holohan's famous pancakes were a hit on Tuesday morning.

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Mr Burgio anoints Nicholas Dart at Wednesday's Ash Wednesday Liturgy. 

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Students prepare a timeline of the Catholic Church's history in an RE class.

The boys also engage in Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion, which we participate in annually to raise awareness of the plight of the marginalised around the globe. Giving up a slice of their pocket money encourages the boys to think about sacrifice and what it means to them. Caritas are an incredible organisation who do far more than many realise for people in need and the boys’ small change combined with many other Catholic students around the nation goes a long way towards helping them in their mission.

Today I encourage you to take time to reflect on your connection with your God, whether it is time out for a little prayer or meditating on the wonder of nature. Maybe consider what you could give up for Lent, or a practice you could adopt to get more in touch with the Gospel Values if you – like me – have a dodgy track record with resolutions even with a liberal dose of good intentions. But despite my lack of self-discipline with doughnuts and beer, I do make the most of the Lenten period to deepen my relationship with God and I urge you to do the same.

God bless.

Mr Neil Alweyn
Vice Principal: Identity and Mission