Sandpiper: Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst

WWW.SANDPIPER.ORG.AU NOVEMBER 2018 2 A WORD FROM THE BISHOP Disclaimer: SandPiper is a free newspaper published monthly (except January) by the Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst. It is distributed through all Diocesan Catholic schools and parishes. Views expressed in published articles are not necessarily those of the Diocese. SandPiper may refuse to accept advertisements for publication; however, inclusion of an advertisement in SandPiper does not reflect an endorsement from the Diocese. Readers should rely on their own investigations to determine the suitability of advertised products and services. No responsibility will be taken by SandPiper for the accuracy or otherwise of representations, statements and information contained in advertisements. No responsibility will be taken by SandPiper to ensure that advertisements do not infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties. SandPiper accepts no responsibility or liability in relation to any loss due to the failure of an advertisement to appear or if it appears in a form that is not in accordance with the instructions received by SandPiper . Chancery and Diocesan Ministry: 174 McCrae Street (PO Box 201) Bendigo Vic 3552. Ph: (03) 5441 2544 Fax: (03) 5441 8278 Website: Bishop’s Secretary: Katrina Strong, katrina.strong@ Adult Faith Education Co-ordinator: Lyn Breen, Marriage Tribunal: Senior Youth Ministry Worker: Ruth Lawlor Youth Ministry Worker: Samuel Matuszek website: Business Manager: Cameron Fraser, Personal Assistant to Business Manager: Sally Holmes, Diocesan Development Fund: Postal address: PO Box 201, Bendigo, VIC, 3552. Telephone: (03) 5441 2544. Fax: (03) 5441 8278. Email: Diocesan Archivist: Donna Bailey, Chancery contacts: SandPiper Vision: SandPiper aims to develop a sense of community, linking faith and life through dialogue. Editor: Damian Griffin. 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If you experience delays or have any issues regarding your SandPiper delivery, please notify the editor. 03 5445 3610 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” – John 3:16 Bishop Les Tomlinson The wisdom to follow through L ooking at some birthday cards in a newsagent’s recently, I was interested to see quite a few cards advised ‘Dream Big’, or ‘Follow your Dreams’. I thought about that and it seemed good advice to have a goal, a good aim in life. Organisations’ websites often display their ‘Vision and Mission’, and the same websites provide informa- tion about the chief executives who lead that vision and mission. Today’s chief executives generally want their company to be known for innovation, humanity and impact, as well as making good financial returns. Similarly, a president or prime minister wishes to be re-elected, and lead their country to historic successes, to have a name in history. They make public their vision. Vision matters. Long-term aims are essen- tial. Yet in leadership, they are the easier bit. We can all dream and have big visions. They are seen by many to be fundamental. The question of what I shall DO, NOW is infi- nitely more difficult, because that begins to turn dreams into reality or failure. We need wisdom to follow through on our vision … on our dreams. Then I remembered St James in his writ- ing to ‘the twelve tribes’. In his letter, he shares his thoughts on wisdom in no uncer- tain manner! “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wis- dom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:13-4:3 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – St James “ So what does wisdom say? True wisdom leads us step by step. Wisdom from above sees the human being as precious; not their status, denomination, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, background, class, looks, or anything else, but the fact that they are human beings. To be peacemakers leads us to peace in our own lives and in our own church, and James goes on to confront his readers with the reason for the absence of peace – the failure to pray. The reality of Jesus is seen in a holy people of prayer, who desire God from the bottom of their hearts. The search for God-centred wisdom, the holy understanding of what to do now, begins with our identity, which is found truthfully in Christ alone. Christ called his disciples to “go”. As we know that has been followed through the ages by all the greatest exponents of the spiritual life. But to go we must listen. St Benedict in his rule starts by saying “My child, listen…” St Ignatius Loyola in his exercises seeks to enable a self-understanding, to permit us to know where we are, what has renewed us, what has guided us, what has debased us. St Francis of Assisi calls for a simplicity of life in each person, and the Church collec- tively, that removes those things that distract us from God so that we may hear Jesus and go and meet him in the poor. And is not that just what Pope Francis has been trying to tell us again and again during his Pontificate? So, where do we start for ourselves? As usual it is Jesus who gives us the key. I am sure you remember the story of Jesus saying “let the little children come to me”. Children of less than seven counted for little at that time and in that society. Jesus put the child in the centre of attention because a child is dependent on the wisdom of others. Jesus is rebuking his ambitious, narcissistic disciples by calling them to dependence on God alone; and we will do well to listen. We all make mistakes when we speak without thinking, and what we say can be remembered for a long time and play havoc with the lives of others. The same goes for what we post on Facebook or tweet on Twitter. Who do we honour in our lives by our words, actions and inactions? What wisdom do we bring to bear? Despite electronic social networking, it is essential for us to have live interaction with friends and loved ones. If we seek just the wisdom of the world for attaining our own hap- piness and fulfilment, our life will be hollow and empty. But if we go against our own selfish desires and instead seek good and justice for others as we would wish for ourselves, despite some difficulties from time to time, we will find ourselves living and enjoying life . I am sure we often wonder, amidst our many global crises, what will the next six months, let alone years bring? It may be good or ter- rible. People speak of crises coming, of cyber wars as a reality, of terrorism renewed. In the Church there may be difficulties and disagree- ments, because we are human beings. But we cannot predict the details, because we do not know. Even the best minds do not know what is going to happen in the future. But we know that those with wisdom will flourish. They will be like the community of which St James speaks, the disciples who Jesus taught, who faced disaster and saw the risen Lord, and served in the most beautiful of human communities. If we pray for the gift of wisdom, the people of God – the wise Church of the future – will be resilient in a hard world and will spread resilience. It will know when to speak, when to be silent, how to act and what to do next. Such a Church will of course have great vision, but it will also have wisdom. You will recall that Wisdom is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Such a wise Church, guided by the Spirit, will be courageous, act rightly in the moment and live in holiness on its journey, by the grace of God, to everlasting life.