Dear Staff, Parents and Friends of the College,
Here we are at the end of a very long but successful term. It has been a very challenging term indeed.
Although we have not faced lockdowns, we have faced a term of unprecedented high absences of staff and students due to Covid isolation requirements. Either way, by accepting these challenges we have accepted the additional penances God has imposed upon us at this time in a spirit of reparation for our sins and in service of Our Lord and King. With all this now behind us, we prepare ourselves for the Sacred Triduum, that is the holy ceremonies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.
Since we are approaching Good Friday, allow me to write a few brief words on sacrifice because all human life only progresses and flourishes insofar as we accept to comply with the fundamental laws of life, which, along with renunciation of unbridled liberty, demands self- mastery, renouncement, effort and sacrifice. “Liberty”, says Dr Alexis Carrel, a Catholic author writing on this subject”is like dynamite – it is an effective, but dangerous instrument. You have to learn how to use it, and no-one can handle it safely unless he possesses intelligence and will … Observance of the laws of our human nature requires…voluntary restriction of liberty. Without interior discipline, success in life is impossible.” As parents, this is a fundamental concept to appreciate. If we give our children all the freedoms their little hearts desire, we would be acting like a father giving his little son a semi-automatic rifle for his birthday. The freedom to operate such a device only comes with compliance to a multitude of laws to ensure safety of the user and everyone else. What I am saying is that if parents need to curb the liberties of their children at times, it is because their children’s minds and hearts are not mature enough to cope with responsibilities of unbridled liberty.
The dichotomy or opposition between human liberty and the requirements of God’s laws and civil laws makes the practice of asceticism necessary. In order to avoid catastrophe (for ourselves or our children) we must resist many of our impulses, tastes and desires. Therefore, it is impossible to conform to the order of the world, as created by God and ruled by humans, without sacrifice – sacrifice is a law of life . . .There is neither greatness, nor beauty, nor sanctity without sacrifice. To accomplish their destiny, many have had to renounce comfort, leisure, fortune or even their very life.
Our Christian era began beneath the shadow of the Cross, Christ Himself leading the way of self-conquest through the law of sacrifice, but sacrifice is not a virtue limited to heroes and saints – it must be practiced by all since it is a specific requirement of human life. Success in life demands sacrifice, and great success demands great sacrifice.
As I leave you with these thoughts to ponder while you revisit the drama of Christ’s Passion during Holy Week, I wish you all the blessings of the Sacred Triduum, a most joyful Easter and a safe holiday.
Sincerely yours in the Two Hearts,
Father Andrew Cranshaw