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This Wednesday we celebrated Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Happiness is not something we usually associate with Lent. The theme of Lent is often associated with sacrifice and struggle. Yet it is the law of all progress that we should pass through stages of instability in order to grow. Pope Francis illustrates that Lent leads to lifelong conversion that asks for a change of heart, mind, and body, perhaps even to the extent of losing our lives.

Increasingly in society we find today’s addictions to be more subtle. Students may feel the need to project an image of themselves that is socially acceptable and may find themselves suppressing their real self. Modern devices can engender a new narcissism creating personalities that are more reliant on seeking affirmation and acceptance through others. It can be hard to find our true selves if we don’t know where to listen. In a world of digital gratification, it can be hard for God’s message of love to get a look in.

Conversion is returning to receive the happiness for which we were created, helping us to become fully human in communion with self, others, and God. In Ignatius’ world view, our memory, imagination, understanding, and will all came from God, and all was offered back in return to use as His will. Ignatius stated that ‘a thick and shapeless tree trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture, and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor, who sees by her genius what she can make of it’. In offering himself, Ignatius found conversion towards those greater gifts for which we were created, of love and human fulfilment.

Mr Nic Boys
Head of Junior School

Below: Images from the Ash Wednesday Liturgy

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