Fr Peter on Lent

In teaching we are always looking at ways and means to improve student learning.

The days of ‘chalk and talk’ are long gone. New teaching strategies focus on engagement of the student in their own learning and students taking ownership of the process.

In the teaching profession itself Professional Development is an important part of a teacher’s lot. Teachers are committed to continually improve their skill-set. Collaborative meetings, additional study, professional development, peer mentoring are part and parcel of a teacher’s life. All with the aim of improving the quality of teaching.

In the Christian life too, we are always challenged to improve. On Ash Wednesday many of us along with staff and students were donned with ashes on the forehead in the shape of a cross and challenged to ‘repent and believe in the gospel.’ In the younger classes words were slightly different, words chosen at a level students could comprehend and relate.

In essence, repent means to turn away from something and turn towards something else, executing a 180 degrees turn in a sense. The whole Christian life can be summed up in love of God and neighbour. The season of Lent gives us 40 special days to grow closer to God and love our neighbour more. Three strategies given for this are prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Fasting is ‘more than denying ourselves some food, it is eliminating our faults.’ (St Leo fifth century) In Lent maybe we can focus on fasting in some areas and feasting on others. Maybe we could:

  • Fast from judging others; feast on seeing the best in people.
  • Fast from using words that destroy; feast on words that are encouraging.
  • Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
  • Fast from anger; feast on patience.
  • Fast from being negative; feast on being positive.
  • Fast from worry; feast on trust.
  • Fast from hostility; feast on peacemaking.
  • Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
  • Fast from constant activity; feast on slowing down.
  • Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.

Improvement, that is the name of the game. Whether we are students, parents or teachers, there is always room for improvement. To live is to change, the saints are those who have changed often. Happy Lent everyone!

Fr Peter Rankin SDB - Rector