14 August 2020

The power of faith

On Sunday while at Mass, I was captured by a succinct Irish proverb that my parish priest concluded his homily with: “Sorrow looks back, fear looks around,faith looks forward.”

The truth of this little gem stayed with me for the rest of the day. Then on Monday night when I was sitting at Optus Stadium with my son Zack, I found myself tempering his optimism that this could be a night when we get to hear our beloved Dockers’ anthem resounding around the oval. “Unlikely bud,” I scoffed, the wise old Fremantle supporter that I am, and proceeded to list the reasons why the game against the Hawks was destined to end badly.

I wallowed in sorrow, looking back at Nat Fyfe’s failure to kick truly in the first quarter of the 2013 Grand Final. If Fyfe had steeled his nerves and delivered those two crucial goals, maybe my Eagles-supporting friends would no longer be mocking me on my team's lack of premiership glory. My sorrow was feeding my fear – essentially the prime instinct I face every time Zack and I watch a Dockers’ game, wondering what could possibly go wrong today.

But as the players came out and warmed up, looking fit and strong and ready to take the game head on, and with Father Dat Vuong’s words still ringing in my ears, I realised this was the perfect analogy to explain faith to my football-loving boy, sitting beside me and soaking up the change in atmosphere as the stadium became charged with excitement. My faith glimmered into light as, despite no supporting tangible evidence, my future hopes remain alive in my team and I look forward to the day when I will see purple streamers around the AFL premiership cup. I’m not sure that Khalil Gibran had the Dockers in mind when he wrote ‘Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof,’ but I can’t say for certain as he was a very wise philosopher.

Faith takes us out of the paralysing zone of fear. It awakens the possibilities and shows us a broader horizon. Often in life, we may look back with sorrow and regret at opportunities missed, things that could have turned out differently or bad decisions. Sorrow is an important learning emotion; we can grow from our mistakes but it should not define us. As Confucius said, “We should feel sorrow but not sink under its oppression.”

Fear can make us react in a way that can be contradictory to our values and morals. Through a societal lens, fear can cause bigotry, hatred, violence and vilification. Even a strong commitment to a truly inclusive community, where hearts and minds are open to learning experiences, can be very quickly deprioritised through fear. A famous Grand Master Jedi once said, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

But through Faith, we can see the big picture and move forward. We can experience the constructive feelings of hope and positivity. Faith guides us to place our confidence and trust in something and to realise the potential of goodness. Faith opens our heart to love. Jesus taught us to live our lives by his two new commandments: Love God, and love one another. If all else fails, if sorrow and fear momentarily blind us, just love God and love one another and this will be enough to inspire us to move out of our paralysis into a realm of hope and compassion.

At CBC, as a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition, it is our privilege to share this vision with our community through the teachings and mission of Christ. The College has a plan of evangelisation that is visible in everything we do, with the ultimate aim to illustrate to our community that faith in God is faith in each other. We keep accountable for our actions – just like we do with everything else in our curriculum – through the CBC Evangelisation Plan, which outlines a structure of intents and goals that come under the areas of Head, Heart and Hands. The Head is our critical thinking and analysis activities; the Heart is the nurturing of compassion, and Hands is the section that engages in action and service.

To find out more you can read our Evangelisation Plan here. I recommend that you at least have a look at the beautiful pictures of our young men on their journey towards becoming forward-looking thinkers and learners who seek to build a better world through loving God and loving one another, but I also urge you to read the mission as partners in this development.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have about this document or anything else regarding the College’s mission.

May God Bless you and your families.

Mr Neil Alweyn
Vice Principal – Identity & Mission