Faith and Justice

POEMS, TREASURES AND ARTS

The following reflection on this Sunday's Gospel is part of a homily by Rev Fr Michael Tate. We are grateful for his permission to use it here. (Gospel this Sunday- Luke 12:32-48).

"I was talking to a group of about forty 16-17 year olds a little while ago. They were on a retreat, the theme of which was Discovering who I am called to be. So, I had been asked to tell them something of my story.

So I did. After recounting my career up until early 1996, I told them the story of the latest turning point. I had been somewhat restless and dissatisfied with the life I was leading when I came across a poem by W H Auden. He had been asked to write an elegy on the death of a young poet who had died - too young - of a debauched life. Those who asked Auden to write something perhaps expected him to laud the artistic life lived at the limits of sensual experience.

But no, Auden was angry - angry with the young poet who had so much potential, now never to be realised. And Auden wrote of and to that poet:

God may reduce you

on Judgement Day

to tears of shame,

reciting by heart

the poems you would

have written, had

your life been good. *

That hit me with great power. What was the poem which I should write to escape that fate? For me, the answer was, 'the poem of the priesthood' and I am trying to write a few stanzas - not exactly with the correct metre and the most apt phrase - but trying.

The challenge to the students was to be alert, to be vigilant for the indication as to the poem that their life should be: to discover the reason they were loved into existence at this stage in the history of the planet.

And, I said, once you have got an inkling, a sense, that this is it - go for it whole-heartedly.

Anything else will be something less, and your heart will shrivel instead of expanding and you will never be who you were meant to be - at least at this early stage of life.

And, then a girl asked: 'But, what if the moment never comes? You never see what is the poem of your life you are meant to write?'

I assured her the moment would come, and most likely, most probably, most commonly, it would be when she falls in love - because that is when the heart really expands. You know at that moment why you and your 'heart-throb' were loved into existence at this time in the earth's history. It elicits a life-long commitment to write that poem without reservation.

That is where your heart and your treasure coincide in a way which prepares you for the unlimited loving of Heavenly bliss.

'Where your treasure is, your heart is also.'

For those of us who have not fallen in love in that way, (or perhaps the love has not been reciprocated), or who have not held the priceless treasure of their baby in their arms, this experience of the heart is not so easy, but the opportunity will come; stand against an injustice, at a cost, practical compassion in some situation, near or far, use of talent to create something beautiful. These are heart-enlarging ways of acting.

But, one thing that Our Lord makes clear in today's Gospel is:

Setting one's heart on possessions will never do the trick. It is cheated and shrivels if directed to possessions.

'Sell your possessions and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.' Luke 12:33-34."

* [Postscript to the MacNeice elegy in 'The Shield of Achilles', Random House 1955, Faber 1955.]

© Fr Michael Tate

… and the 'poems' of our founders

As our College celebrates 'Founders Time' over these three weeks, we celebrate some of their 'heart-enlarging' ways of living: Ignatius' generosity; Mary Ward's commitment to education for women; John XXIII's openness to the needs of our times. John XXIII's big-heartedness and his openness to the work of the Holy Spirit of God will be the focus of our John XXIII Day whole school Mass next Friday, 16th August. (There will be no community Mass on this day.)

PARISH LIFE

Sacramental program

This year, the Sacramental Program has been a team effort of families, parishes and class teachers. If you have any questions about sacramental preparation, please contact Mary-Anne Lumley: Lumley.mary-anne@johnxxiii.edu.au

We are delighted to congratulate the following Primary students celebrating the Sacraments in their respective parishes at this time.

First Reconciliation at Holy Spirit, City Beach:

Owen Lilleyman, Tayla Vivian, Chantal Briede and Holly Martin.

First Holy Communion at St John's, Scarborough:

Levi Young, Holly Cannon and Ruby Vlahov.

Confirmation at St Cecilia's Floreat:

Caitlin Thornton, Matthew Coker, Amy Exten, Joseph Hardisty, Samuel Jobson and Olivia Purnell.

Come and see....

The world Christian Life Community (CLC) is a lay Ignatian association, with a growing membership in WA. In the spirit of St Ignatius of Loyola, CLC seeks to find God in all things. To learn more about this spirit-building movement and how the spirituality of Ignatius can bring meaning to contemporary life, come to the formation meeting of the Nedlands-CLC group.

Date: Tuesday, 20 August

Time: 9:30-11am

Where: Holy Rosary Parish Centre, Elizabeth St. corner Tyrell, Nedlands.

Visit www.clcaustralia.org.au for more information, or call Alma Kort at 9386-3782, aakort@gmail.com. See you there!

Assumption

Next Thursday, 15th August, is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. It is one of the two significant Church feasts that don't fall on Sunday (the other being Christmas). The College will celebrate the feast with lunch time Mass at 12:50 in the Chapel. Celebratory Masses will also take place in parishes - and in our local parishes as below:

NEDLANDS

Holy Rosary: 9:00am and 7:30pm

Carmel: 7:00am

St Thomas More College (UWA): 5:15pm; Vigil Mass on Wed. at 5:15pm.

COTTESLOE

Star of the Sea: 9:00am

FLOREAT/WEMBLEY

St Cecilia's: 6:45am & 6:30pm

CLAREMONT

St Thomas the Apostle: 12.30pm

CITY BEACH

Holy Spirit: 6.45am; 9.00am (with school); 6.45pm

On a visit to the College last year, Fr Patrick O'Sullivan SJ gave us a thought about Mary: "Mary was so deeply rooted in her relationship with God that she never doubted her self-worth". Perhaps the occasion of the feast of the Assumption gives us the opportunity to reflect on this quality of Mary?