Two Months with Year 11

For the months of October and November we were working with Year 11 groups, mostly. We welcomed our neighbours, St. Mary’s CBGS, Year 11s here to our Centre and then we travelled down to Downpatrick to facilitate the Year 11 retreats of fellow Lasallians, St. Patrick’s Grammar School. We enjoyed these experiences immensely.

We were exploring our own images of God together. Each one of us has an image of God that depends on our experience, our upbringing, our education, our friendships and our own research. Sometimes our image of God is helpful and other times, it is a hindrance to belief. It is important to recognise the image of God that is operative for you, and to question, “Is this image of God I have, helping me to grow in love for others?” If the answer is, “No!” then perhaps you could try expanding, broadening or deepening that image. Maybe you’ve never really thought about what your image of God is, but it bears thinking about, as belief in God has always been a feature of human experience.

In our Christian tradition, we try to imitate Jesus, who asked us to “Love one another!” As Christians, we are tasked with showing Christ-like love to others. So, with the Year 11s we explored, what that might look like. How do we show love to others and who is our “neighbour?” Our belief in God will always demand a response form us, a response that takes us beyond ourselves and leads us to Christ-like love for “the other.” If our faith is something that makes us feel comfortable, but doesn’t challenge us to love more, can it be genuine?

How do I respond to God’s love for me? How do I reflect that love to others? We explored these questions with the year 11s through discussion, meditation, art and liturgy. From the feedback we received it was evident that they enjoyed this experience, we did to. So to the pupils of St. Mary’s CBGS and St. Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick, many thanks for being with us and may God bless and keep you all.

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