The Gospel in Four Sentences

Some time ago, Fr Philip Marshall, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Adelaide introduced the Gospel in four sentences. He said: 

  1. Everybody matters, absolutely
  2. Every broken heart and relationship are to be mended and every captive heart set free
  3. Everyone is created for joy and life to the full
  4. All humanity and creation are to be a glorious and eternal song of joy

When you read these sentences, it would be hard to disagree with them and perhaps many of you would believe deeply in each one of these sentences. Let me share my perspective on each one.

Everybody matters, absolutely is grounded in Jesus’ teaching of loving one another as Jesus loves us. Every person when born, from a Christian perspective, is made in the image of God. They are born with an abundance of love and a capacity to be nurtured to love, but it starts with the parents and family who model this love, supported by the family and community. Just over three months ago my granddaughter Hailey was baptised in the Catholic church. Her parents and sponsors were asked if they were prepared to nurture and support her in her journey as a person captured in love and they responded, “I do”. The community was also asked to do the same and they responded, “I do” and then welcomed with applause a child in the family. At Cardijn College, as a Catholic school we believe deeply that everybody matters absolutely.

Every broken heart and relationship are to be mended and every captive heart set free – this is the reality of life that we face each day. Relationships are complex and they are precious, they cannot be taken for granted and they require hard work on the part of individuals. They require compassion, forgiveness and selflessness – key features we know are fundamental in being a good person. People face enormous struggles whether they are to do with their economic circumstances, their personal health and wellbeing, feeling helpless which has turned into hopelessness, all these circumstances are real for many people and prevents people from being able to thrive. Our community must be alert and aware with an abundance of empathy to support and empower people to be free to thrive.

Everyone is created for joy and to live life to the full. An opportunity to live to one’s full God-given potential to be a person who can change the world and make it a better place. A better place for those close to us, in our community and our world. Our capacity to see, hear and feel using all our senses, to understand the perspectives of others around us and to deeply reflect on the Gospels, well explained in these four sentences. Importantly to act in the best interest for the greater good of our whole community.

All humanity and creation are to be a glorious and eternal song of joy explains to me my deep appreciation and gratitude that I can live in a world where I understand the fine balance of people and their relationships, that we live in harmony with all creatures large and small, that we have a responsibility to this beautiful Earth for our prosperous future, to be stewards and custodians of the delicate balance of our own existence and attitude to climate change. Life on Earth must continue to be one of peace, faith, love and hope. These conditions I want to see grow for my grandchildren, their children and generations thereafter.

The Gospel in four sentences is about people being able to thrive because we care, we believe and respond, we value our responsibility to others and we want this world to continue to be a better place for eternity.

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.

1 comment on “The Gospel in Four Sentences

  1. Paul while every reflection of yours has something powerful to say and leave the reader with much to ponder , this one ” out of the box” in the very special category at a time when the Institution in Australia is suffering many attacks by people who no little or nothing of what our Church is founded on or stands for . There was a recent rebuttal by Paul Collins of erroneous judgments made by media figures and the post industrial , secular movement that would see us abolished like Robespierre attempted to do like succeeding dictatorships of right and left , but the truth of these four sentences cannot be ignored ,


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