In times of crisis, we tend to look for comfort in the familiar. It could be a home-cooked meal that brings back memories of our youth, an album of our favourite singer, or photos from celebrations over the years. Faith can also be a comfort during these difficult times.
Faith is the ability to trust and hope in something that is not easily defined or able to be seen. I have spent the last couple of weeks, exercising on my local beach. During this time, I feel the sand beneath my toes and the water wash over my feet; I feel the rain on my face and the wind in my hair. I can see the water, sand and rain, but I can’t see the wind. The impact the wind has on the environment is visible, but I don’t actually see the wind move around me. I feel the wind.
“ For me, this is what faith is; it is seeing the impact of those who trust and hope in a belief then feeling what this belief can offer me and my community.”
The rapid changes of the world meant we had to change our ways of gathering as a community and connecting with each other. We also had to change how we nurture our faith. In our Catholic context, there are many spiritualities and ways of practising our faith that helps us find new ways of being with each other, without actually being there. For me, I try to find God in all things. This type of practice is called Ignatian Spirituality. It encourages us to find wonder and awe in all we do. For example, when I walk on the beach and feel happy because it is just so beautiful.
In the Catholic Education community, many of the schools and colleges were founded by women and men who brought their own spirituality with them to help them in their work. The Good Samaritan Sisters practise deep listening through meditation, the Mercy Sisters have created virtual prayer rooms to practise
the Spiritual and Corporal Words of Mercy and the Augustinians work for justice through a practical love of neighbour.
“ I have been encouraging teachers and students to make time for journaling. Whether we find comfort through our faith, through the practise of a spirituality or through music, food or photos, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on what brings you comfort and how you are managing this time. These journal will be a rich read that you can reflect on at a later date.”
You can read more about why faith matters here.
Sharon O’Keeffe is the Director – Identity and Outreach at Cairns Catholic Education