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  • Sarah Raad

Achievements

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.” (Saint Augustine).

Defenders of the Eucharist (Peter Paul Rubens)

We are rapidly approaching the end of the academic year.


When I was a little girl, I used to complete examinations, which assessed all the information that I had been taught that year, each year, at the end of the academic year. I remember when I was very little, I did not do anything to prepare for examinations, instead I just showed up to school on the day in question, sat at my desk, gave it my best shot, and went home happily at the end of the day. Later, when I was in high school, I learned to study and prepare, and I spent the time before each examination preparing for it.


Now, we are rapidly approaching the end of the academic year for so many of my students, which means that they need to start working to prepare and ensure that they can achieve their best results.


And so, in the past, during my school years, and now, through my work, I have I focused on achievement at the end of each academic year…


I have been thinking about this process of achievement over the last few weeks, as the children prepare themselves for a return back to school – at some stage – God willing…


For there is a restlessness in a student who is working towards the achievement of their academic goals and this restlessness of a student is the same restlessness of the soul in seeking out God...

Saint Augustine said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in Thee.”

And it is that rest that we are seeking, which is the purpose of our existence.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that we were created so that we could know God, love Him and serve Him and be with Him forever in Paradise.


And it is in understanding this truth and seeking it out that we so actively achieve our purpose on this Earth.


Pope Benedict XVI said, “The truth that sets us free cannot be kept to ourselves; it calls for testimony, it begs to be heard. In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and His Gospel.”


And it is difficult to proclaim Him – very difficult, because it so often results in an affront to our pride. We are called crazy, overbearing, uncompromising and silly in this world when we speak of God!


And yet, in being asked to speak of Him, we are called to do something magnificent – because we are called to witness God and be His children in the world.


Saint Francis of Assisi advised that “Man should be seized with fear, and the earth should tremble, and the heavens rejoice exceedingly when Christ, the Son of the living God, DESCENDS upon the altar in the hands of the priest. Pour your hearts out before Him. Do not keep back anything for yourselves so that He may receive you entirely who gives Himself entirely to you.”


Saint Francis understood something of God’s magnificence. I wish I understood Him too. Because if I truly understood how magnificent is my God, I would bend my knee and pray continuously… because I would be completely enamoured of Him.

The Venerable Fulton Sheen said, “God gave us two weapons: Knees and hands. Knees – to spend an hour a day in reparation for sins” and the hands to show God’s love for humankind.

After all, Saint Augustine said, “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.” As a soul, who was lost, and is now found, I can whole-heartedly agree…


“…to find Him is the greatest human achievement…” possible only through the Grace of God! What a truly marvellous achievement that really is! All Glory and Honour to God!


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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