SJB TOGETHER – 15TH JANUARY 2021
Dear Parents, Guardians and Boys,
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a healthy and fulfilling 2021 and welcome you back to a term that has turned out differently to what we had planned for, back in December. Nevertheless, it promises to be a productive and inspiring term for us all.
It seems now, perhaps more than ever, that the concept of leadership is under the spotlight and the themes of this week’s liturgy were consequently the potential that each of us has for our words and actions to inspire others.
At the beginning of this week, the School gathered together online to celebrate the Feast of Epiphany: a time when the wise men lay their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh at Jesus’ crib. These gifts, unlike perhaps those that we shared with our loved ones this Christmas, were prophetic and recognised in Jesus’s life yet to come his potential for kingship (gold), his relationship with God (frankincense) and his eventual death (myrrh). When they visited Jesus, the kings did not see a young baby and the limitations of his condition, they saw only his potential.
St Ignatius, when he started the Society of Jesus over 450 years ago, exhorted those early Jesuits to live and lead “with greater love than fear”. In other words, in the same way, that the kings did at Christ’s birth, we must strive to look with love upon others and see the potential in everyone we meet.
The Jesuit Pupil Profile theme this half term is Generous & Grateful.
There is an interesting symbiotic relationship between these two words, emphasising the cyclical link between giving and receiving. It is important that we teach the boys by our example that to understand the value of one we must also appreciate the value of the other: both generosity and gratitude rely on each other to exist fully.
Many of us strive to be leaders in one way or another, but Ignatius teaches us that before we lead others we must first learn to lead ourselves. To do this, we must know ourselves, honestly and authentically. We must be able to ask questions that challenge us and in doing so, seek a deeper understanding of who we are and what drives our thoughts and actions. This is why we pray the Examen every day with your sons: to lay the foundations for a life of leadership, whether that be leading themselves or others.
I pray that if and when they do assume this a responsibility that their words and actions will also lead with greater love than fear.