Say a little prayer!

This week I continue with the topic of our school motto. I am going share with you the truth of method. This method Joseph Cardijn named “See, Judge, Act” has been adopted as a universal way of decision-making and problem-solving, both in the Catholic church and in the secular world.

Every day, when I drive to work, I am blessed to see the amazing coastline overlooking the Gulf of St Vincent. Then I see the amazing hills leading to the world-renowned McLaren Vale. Every day I am greeted by Cardijn students, every day I see the amazing talents and care that teachers at Cardijn College have for their students, each day I meet parents who share with me their joy of seeing their children flourish and thrive. These are amazing grace moments in my life. These are moments which in our Christian church we call ‘God-moments’. In Psalm 78 we are reminded of God’s goodness and our capacity to take these gifts for granted – we read “Do not forget the works of the Lord”. In the busyness of the day and our circumstances we may miss and not see these God-moments. God appears to us in the plain and ordinary moments of the day just like I described above, however today we are all experiencing something extraordinary. Across the globe every person has been impacted by the global pandemic of COVID-19. We have seen suffering, we have seen the pain, the helplessness and now the hopelessness. Each day we hear state leaders tell us that we need to do more to beat this virus – lockdown, distance, stay home, get tested, isolate and more. Each day we hear more about the effects of this virus and our hope that life can return to normal is further away and more distant. These circumstances have created conditions of fatigue. We know about fatigue such as combat fatigue suffered by soldiers deployed on operations away from their families for months and living each day in harm’s way. Parents with newborn babies know too well the effect of fatigue when you do not get enough sleep looking after your child. There are other types of fatigue such as donor fatigue the effect of being continually asked to give generously and dig deeper. Fatigue can cause us to miss these God-moments.

We are all aware of being vulnerable and it is not cool to show your vulnerability, in fact as a leader or teacher we are expected to be brave and stoic, keep your chin up and get on with your work. Be focussed, do not let others down. The reality however is that we are fatigued and we are human. We are fatigued from this pandemic, we have reached that point where we have become helpless and beginning to think that the future is hopeless.

In coping with fatigue, whichever type and especially the COVID-19 fatigue, there are three key strategies to consider. First, never compromise on your values, such as compassion, care, friendship, generosity, presence, family and many more. It is what sustains us. Keep these safe and foremost. Second, take time to retreat, find time to relax, to be generous to yourself, to be still, to focus on your inner self, to meditate. Third and most importantly, live in community, do not travel alone, be with others, share your burdens, look out for one another and reach out to people who have helped you. To See what is happening around us now is to be present to the daily reality of what we are facing during this global pandemic. To Judge is to live our faith and show those important values which form the foundation of what we stand for. To Act is to respond by using these three strategies I described above.

Say a little prayer!

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, an R-12 co-educational Catholic school in the Marist tradition, deeply inspired by the method of College patron Joseph Cardijn with a foundation built on the three pillars of his teachings; to See, Judge and Act. Educating and inspiring students in the beautiful Southern Vales region of Adelaide since 1984, Cardijn has grown to encompass three schools, each with distinct offerings. Cardijn College Galilee at Aldinga offers Reception to Year 7, expanding to include Year 8 in 2022 and Year 9 in 2023. Cardijn College at Noarlunga Downs offers Years 7-12 and is renowned for academic excellence and a vibrant extra-curricular program. Cardijn College Marcellin at Christie Downs provides a wide variety of vocational education and training opportunities for students in Years 10 – 12 and beyond, with relationships that extend well into their careers. With a current enrolment of 1750 students and 240 staff, Cardijn College is an institution which strives to be a beacon of faith in the community, with students who have enormous influence and impact on both a local and global level. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

3 comments on “Say a little prayer!

  1. Viano Jaksa

    I am really loving reading your reflections, Paul. They are full of grace and wisdom, wrapped in love. What an inspiration. Rich blessings to you, to your work, and to the whole school community.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christine Morgan

    As a past Cardijn student, I remember our See, Judge, Act , but never really took the time to understand . As an adult , business owner and most importantly a mother I now understand these words and of late have seen how important it is to stop and take in those little moments you take for granted. The other night after dinner, our daughter was practising her trumpet and a tune my Dad loved to tap along to and I suddenly felt his presence as Lauren suddenly nailed the part she was having trouble with. Just an example of hope I guess.

    Liked by 1 person


    Paul thankyou for this reflection. I have missed previous reflections and would enjoy reading them . We have been running online campaign for last six months since lockout and then border closures to contact isolated elders , families and others to support them . The negative media and political attacks on leaders to undermine public confidence has shown morale. So with inspirational posts , examples of positive action , nostalgia, humour and other material we have been linking people together online , on phone or by letter and email . This will add to this process.
    To other contributors like Christine Morgan, it is good that method has come to life which has been part of our DNA for past 57 years for me
    Wayne McGough
    National President
    Cardijn Community of Australia


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