mySTMC

Principal’s Blog

Ash Wednesday

March 3, 2020

I wished that I was more musically inclined than I am. For if I was… and had I been brave enough… I would have begun my post-Ash Wednesday Service reflection with our STMC staff & students by singing several of the verses and the chorus of “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love”. You may be familiar with this hymn yourself. It has long been a favourite of mine, and it fills me with utter joy when I hear it being sung. Perhaps it is because we sang it almost every week at our Friday masses when I attended Sacred Heart in Ladner, but it is likely even more so because (even 40 years later) I can still see Sister Louise’s face light up with shear delight as we sang it. I’m certain that her emotional response had little to do with our less-than-angelic-voices and more to do with the sense of hope that it brought her.
The lyrics of the hymn never fail to lift my spirits for they help me see that – as a Christian – I am never alone. They also serve to remind me, as a follower of Jesus, of what it is that I am called to do. I believe Ash Wednesday serves these very same purposes. It helps us see, in a very visual sense, that as Christians we are not alone. It also reminds us of the courage that is sometimes required by each of us to proclaim and bear witness our Catholic identity. This year, Ash Wednesday and Pink Shirt Day (Anti-Bullying Day) fell on the exact same day. I shared with everyone in attendance at our service that I felt the coincidence of the timing could not have been more fitting. Early Christians and martyrs of the Church were marginalized and persecuted for their beliefs. Yet in spite of it all, they remained steadfast and brave in their commitment to the faith and the proclamation of the Good News of the New Testament. The mark of the ashes on our forehead allowed all 700+, pink shirt wearing individuals in the gymnasium last Wednesday to look around and see that they were not alone! We also used the occasion to call on all to continue to strive to live the Charism of Blessed Edmund Rice, to stand in solidarity with the marginalized, to celebrate the value and dignity of all, and to do as Jesus has asked us to do. It is the our call to action as Christians and it is precisely what the Ash Wednesday’s gospel reading (Matthew 6:1) professed.
May the prayer-filled, reflective period of Lent find everyone associated with St. Thomas More Collegiate buoyed with renewed courage to be a little more kinder and a little more gentle towards others. May our personal spiritual journey over the next forty-days bring us closer to others – and in turn – closer to God.
They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored.
Chorus: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand;
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand;
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land.
Chorus: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
We Will work with each other, we will work side by side;
We will work with each other, we will work side by side;
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride.
All praise to the Father, from whom all things come;
And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son.
And all praise to the Spirit who makes us one.
Chorus: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
Live Jesus in our hearts… forever!
Yours in Christ,
Steve Garland – Principal, STMC

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