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27/05/2022
'Congratulations'
  Photo/Artwork is from Pixabay  
 
In many secondary schools this week Graduation Ceremonies are taking place for Leaving Cert students. With all the Covid restrictions over the past few years, this is the first time these ceremonies will take place since 2019. We wish them the very best and of course our congratulations & prayers as they move onto new beginnings. The following reflection was read by a parent last evening in Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí (Bantry Community College)

Reflection of a Parent

I give you life, but I cannot live it for you.
I can give you directions, but I cannot be there to lead you.
I can teach you right from wrong, but I cannot always decide for you.
I can buy you beautiful clothes, but I cannot make you beautiful inside.
I can offer you advice, but I cannot accept it for you.
I can give you love, but I cannot force it upon you.
I can teach you to share, but I cannot make you unselfish
I can teach you respect, but I cannot force you to show honour
I can advise you about your friends, but I cannot choose them for you
I can tell you about alcohol and drugs, but I can't say 'no' for you
I can tell you about lofty goals, but I can't achieve them for you.
I can teach you about kindness, but I can't force you to be gracious
I can pray for you, but I cannot make you walk with God.
I can tell you how to live, but I cannot give you eternal life.
I can love you with unconditional love all my life:
....And I will
Thought For Today

'Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, the defects. We despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from us. We neglect to water the good within us and eventually it dies. We never realise our potential' ~Author Unknown

There is a story told about a certain man who planted a rose and watered it faithfully and before it blossomed he examined it. He saw that the bud would soon blossom but also saw the thorns. He thought: How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns? Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose and before it was ready to bloom, it died.

Sadly this story can happen with us too. Imnot sure is it inbuilt in our human nature, but we tend to see the thorns so easy, particularly in ourselves. In our Gospel stories it is easy to see how Jesus recognised the thorns in everyone's story. But carefully and lovingly he always saw beyond the thorns to the flower. Most importantly he encouraged each person to see beyond the outer thorns to the great beauty within each person. There is a great hunger and need for more of this today. We need to nurture and celebrate everything good that's within each of us. This needs to be done, not occasionally but every single today.

There was a beautiful line in Sundays Gospel: It goes, Peace I give to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. This can also be our prayer moment too. We are all looking for an inner peace and calm. We live in a world that is troubled and fragile with many visible thorns. Jesus did not live in a bubble or was untouched by the challenges of life. He understands better than anyone else what we are going through. It is a beautiful invitation from Jesus to be open to his gifts to us. These are the gifts of peace, calm, light, hope and so much more. The invitation is to be open to these gifts. They are absolutely free and without any conditions attached. They are ours today and everyday.

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