By Brother Damien Price
As the Year 12s of 2019 prepare to graduate few may recognize the name Makybe Diva.
Yes, the horse that made history by winning the Melbourne Cup on three occasions: 2003, 2004 and again in 2005. During the 2004 call, with Makybe Diva 10 metres from the finish the racecaller said, “The champion becomes the legend”.
In his first letter to the people of Corinth, St Paul used the image of a race: “Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last for ever. That is why I run straight for the finishing–line; to win the prize – Christ Jesus my Lord!”
As our Year 12s come to the end of the formal schooling part of their race, I hope and pray that they take the time to reflect – and set their compass, reassess their goals – for gold. Gold that will truly last!
All that glitters is not gold!
True gold is that which has been built upon integrity, courage and love.
Some will dally with drugs – hoping that all-night rave parties and drug-induced, blurred “highs” will carry them upward. But, sadly, the morning after and the next and the next are empty, meaningless and fake – a wreath that will not last.
For some, the false lure of sexual experiences devoid of respect, commitment and love will entice them and leave them empty – a wreath that will not last.
Some will place all their hope and energy into money and while wealth in itself is not bad we must never build our wealth on the misery of others.
For some, greed will entrap their hearts; for wealth as an end in itself is truly a wreath that will not last.
Some – acting out of fear and weakness – will seek solace in power and violence (both emotional and physical) only to find integrity, courage and truth staring them down and calling their bluff for what it really is: power over and not power with, not empowering, not liberating – a wreath that will not last.
Some will make light of the truth and will live by the maxim that “the end justifies the means” and in business and relationship will be ruthless in the pursuit of their righteousness at the expense of all others – a wreath that will not last.
Two thousand years ago, a simple carpenter from a small hillside town called Nazareth, took off his outer garment, took a towel and washed the feet of his chosen 12. The same carpenter told his listeners to be like little children or the lilies of the field in integrity, simplicity, courage and love!
That same carpenter, that others claimed to be King, simply said: “By your love for one another they will know that you are my disciples!”
Seniors of 2019! May you truly find gold: the gold of deep personal integrity; the gold of love-filled fidelity; the gold of child-like joy in simple things; the gold of risked adventure beyond visionless comfort; the gold of the dreamer; the gold of courage and respect in the little things, the little choices and the little people of your life – gold that will truly change our world for the better!
No doubt St Paul, writing to the community of Corinth, had often seen athletes in training.
Well – graduands of 2019 – it is time to leave the training track, set out on the adventure that is life, and, despite all I’ve tried to say above, life is actually NOT a race, it is a dance, it is a total embrace, it is an affair-of-the-heart that will give you a sparkle of eye, a lightness of step and an aura of love that will touch all who enter your life if you truly believe; believe in self and in your God’s love for you.
John’s Gospel has Jesus saying: “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life”! Yes, friends, our Catholic schools and your wonderful guardians would have done their job well if you can truly know that LOVE is the way, love – the truth – love – the only life worth living!
Go for gold Class of 2019. Never for you, anything less! Carpe Diem and know that your God walks with you!
Christian Brother Damien Price is a former teacher in Brisbane schools including St Joseph’s, Gregory Terrace; St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe; and St Laurence’s College, South Brisbane. He continues to work with schools across the country.