Kia ora e te whanau
In a previous school I have worked in, the school motto was “Truth is Light.” I always loved this motto, and it was something the students really lived. When we broke a school rule, lied about completing a task or chose to hurt another person, we could be reminded of this motto and be challenged to bring our truths to the light. This is a truism that can be lived by all Catholics, whether we are on the receiving or giving ends.
To be true to ourselves it starts with honesty about who we really are. We have to rationalise less, lay down our defences and confess to ourselves what our real motives are. We need to let go of the strong, dark need to share our side of the story and convince others our motives are more important or are the right ones. All of us have a light side and a shadow side to our personalities and it is human nature to lean towards the shadow side, to darkness and negativity. To come to the light, we need to admit some of the ugliest things about ourselves first and that is not easy to do. We can sometimes be ashamed of our choices, knowing we can be petty and self-serving.
Our school value of compassion encompasses all that we do here at St Peter’s College, but we can all get caught up in the busyness of sports practices, assignments due, work commitments and deadlines, and this can minimise our capacity to show compassion towards each other. When our compassion is undersized, we may be unwilling to love our enemies or forgive those who injure us. We prefer the darkness to the light. In darkness, we can pretend we are better people. We can feel better about ourselves without having to change. But once we come into the light, things have to change. We must change. The good news is, Jesus makes such change possible, even desirable. We become who we have longed to be. And God so loved the world, just for this.
What truths are hardest to admit about ourselves? What kind of people do we long to be?
This week Bishop Michael celebrated our Commissioning Mass with the staff from St Peter’s College and St Mary’s school in our chapel and his sermon resonated with me strongly. For us to be people of the light we must go out of comfort zones and the darkness to partake in acts of goodness. We need to build on the good that has come to us. If someone was merciful to us, we will show mercy to others. If someone was generous, we will give generously. If someone listened to us, we can be present to those in need.
In term 4 of last year, the Education Review Office (ERO) began piloting its new operating model with 75 schools. The new model is intended to shift the focus of ERO’s interaction with schools from event-based external reviews to becoming an evaluation partner that supports each school’s own process of continuous improvement. One important focus of the new approach is strengthening schools’ own engagement with and accountability to whānau. Myself and Board of Trustees chair, Mr Karl Metzler, have already had our first meeting with our new ERO partner, Mrs Christine Gold and we look forward to continuing to build on this mutually beneficial relationship.
Truth is Light!