Dear Members of the Marist College Ashgrove Family,
Belated best wishes to all fathers for Father’s Day last Sunday. I hope the day brought forward many joys. We had over one thousand guests over the two mornings for our Father and Son breakfasts. Sincere thanks to the Events, Mission and Services teams at the College for achieving such an amazing outcome.
Our guest speaker was Mr Brendan Cox. Brendan is the CEO of Legacy. He gave a wonderful account of his Catholic upbringing in Melbourne and his career in the military during which his faith sustained him. A story he told regarding a choice he made in Bosnia in the late 1990s to support a family who were victims of the horrific conflict was inspirational! Amazingly, he met a captain back in Australia many years later who asked him if he was the Captain Cox from Bosnia. He was. The Captain recounted how he led the company sometime after Brendan, and every leader of that company had chosen to continue to support that family Brendan had first helped, who by now were living in a Bosnian city and their son (a victim of a rifle butt attack that caused significant facial disfigurement) had received restorative surgery and was studying engineering at university. A truly heart-warming story!
On August 25, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, spoke about the significant role of Mary, Our Good Mother, in our lives. This resonated with Brendan Cox’s account of the significant influence from both his mother and father. The Holy Father stated the way to heaven is difficult and the gate to enter small, but Jesus’ mother, Mary, who herself entered through the narrow gate, will help those who ask.
Mary can be invoked under the title “Gate of Heaven”, the Pope said in his Angelus address.
“She welcomed [Jesus] with all her heart and followed him every day of her life, even when she did not understand, even when a sword pierced her soul.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary is “a gate that exactly follows the form of Jesus: the gate of the heart of Jesus, demanding, but open to all,” he said. “May the Virgin Mary help us in this.”
Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel passage from Luke, when someone asks Jesus, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
This was a highly debated issue at the time, Francis said, and with his answer, Jesus turned the question “upside-down”. Instead of focusing on the number of people who get to heaven, he speaks of the path to heaven, and how many will choose to follow it.
Using the present tense, Jesus invites people to take personal responsibility, saying, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”
“With these words, Jesus makes it clear that it is not a question of numbers, there is no ‘closed number’ in Paradise! But it is a question of going through the right passage, which is there, for everyone, but it is narrow,” Francis said.
He said Jesus does not deceive people, he does not say that the way to heaven is a big, beautiful highway with a large door at the end, to not worry.
“No, Jesus tells us things as they are: the passage is narrow,” he said.
“In what sense? In the sense that to be saved, one must love God and one’s neighbour, and this is not comfortable! It is a ‘narrow door’ because it is demanding, it requires commitment, indeed, ‘effort,’ that is a determined and persevering will to live according to the Gospel.”
Let’s all continue to practise the two great commandments – Love of God and one’s neighbour in the coming weeks.
Yours in Jesus, Mary and St Marcellin,