Why give something up for Lent?
Life, we come to understand, is not only about joy. It is about the power to endure what is not joyful as well.
Students leading prayer in the Chapel on Ash Wednesday
The primary students gathered together to pray and to be signed with the ashes, remembering that God’s love is unconditional, but like all love, it demands a response.
In a society that invites self-gratification at every level it can be a challenge for young people to grasp the concept of denial. They can ask what difference does it really make; why is it important? Sacrifice makes each of us aware that there are other people for whom we have a responsibility.
When our young people wish to achieve some physical success at sport they work hard training, eating and sleeping well. It is easy to forget that if we are going to develop our souls we also need to train our willpower and strengthen our spirits through prayer and denial. Lent is our time as Christians to pay special attention to this side of our development.
Lent and Mission Action Day
Our students have been challenged to gain sponsors during Lent for Mission Action Day (MAD). MAD is the major fundraising event in the College calendar to assist the poor and disadvantaged both in Australia and abroad. Alongside the challenge of seeking the support of others is an even more important one – the question of what can I personally go without; can I offer the proceeds of my own sacrifice to MAD?
Recently Brother Bill Firman (former Principal of De La Salle) returned for a short respite from South Sudan, where he has been engaged for several years directing a group of missionaries to provide teacher and nursing training. The starvation he spoke about and the fear in which so many families live is tragic. This is just one area where MAD funds relieve at least some of the suffering of the many people who come and knock on Brother’s door seeking help.
We all benefit from practicing some form of asceticism. It is not about giving things up for their own sake. It is as much about achieving more life – another kind of life – as it is about giving it up.
A number of our Year 9 students have spent a half day each week of this term actively engaged in service to others in the community. Aidan Y, Joel K, Rex W, and Beau B attended St Anthony’s Parish and assisted with an outreach program to benefit the lonely, elderly and homeless. They spoke about how much they learnt and enjoyed the experience, and how each week they became more confident in what they were doing.
Mrs Joan Ferguson