An Advent Reflection
As we approach the end of our liturgical year, marked this Sunday by the Feast of Christ the King, we become more aware of the miracle of Christmas. It is a miracle in the true sense – a sign of God’s presence in our human existence. The College Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, celebrated by dinners and school Mass on 8 December, and the Advent reminders of God’s slowly unfolding revelation in our history, remind us of the audacity of our belief in the Incarnation.
To claim both perfect humanity and divinity in the person of Jesus Christ is to recognise the remarkable truth that the most authentic and noble expression of human reveals the essence of God. If God were to become human, he would display only the most noble and authentic human character. It is the instinct of the Christian that this character was displayed in the person of Jesus Christ. As Fr Sainter taught us in his assembly last Friday, “Man achieves authenticity in self-transcendence”. The more we transcend, or move beyond, the obstacles and limitations of our habits and relationships, the more authentic we become as human beings. And – following the pattern of the Incarnation – the more authentically human we become, the more closely are we aligned to the divinity of our brother and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Mr Michel, Lay Chaplain
If the World Were a Village of 100 People
Good morning everyone. During my reflection today, I would like us all to think about the diverse world in which we live, our community here at Ratcliffe College and reflect upon how lucky we are because of the wonderful opportunities that we have been given to develop as young people, and because of the secure and safe environment in which we live, where really we want for nothing.
In order to illustrate this point, I want you to imagine the world as if it were a village of one hundred people. Currently in this room we have about 600 people.
I am now going to share with you some facts and figures about this village of one hundred people.
So, if the World were a village of 100 PEOPLE:
50 would be female, 50 would be male.
25 would be children.
There would be 75 adults, 9 of whom would be 65 and older.
There would be:
60 Asians, 16 Africans, 14 people from the Americas and 10 Europeans.
31 people would be Christians, 23 Muslims and 16 people who would not be aligned with a religion. 15 would be Hindus, 7 Buddhists and 8 people who practice other religions.
12 would speak Chinese 6 would speak Spanish
5 would speak English 4 would speak Hindi
3 would speak Arabic 3 would speak Bengali
3 would speak Portuguese 2 would speak Russian
2 would speak Japanese and 60 would speak other languages
86 people would be able to read and write; 14 would not
Only 7 people would have a college degree. Only 40 people would have an Internet connection.
78 people would have a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain, but 22 would not.
1 person would be dying of starvation, 11 would be undernourished and 22 would be overweight.
91 people would have access to safe drinking water but 9 people would have no clean, safe water to drink.
If we now consider that the world is actually a village of just over 7.5 billion people, these statistics tell us that actually there are around 675 million people with no clean, safe, water to drink. 75 million people are dying of starvation. 1.05 billion people would not be able to read or write. 1.65 billion people would not have a place to shelter from the wind or rain. Nearly 7 billion people would not have a college degree. 4.5 billion people would not have an internet connection.
So let’s now consider our community here at school. All of us have access to clean safe water, none of us are dying of starvation, all of us are able to read and write and we all have a place to shelter from the wind and rain. Most of us will end up with a college degree. We all have access to the internet. In fact, we all have so much more.
Our vision of strength of mind, strength of values and strength of purpose reflects the fact that we are indeed a privileged community and so I want to finish my reflection today by asking two things of you to help fulfil our vision.
Firstly, I want to ask you to make sure that you make the most of all the opportunities that you have been given in life because not everyone is as fortunate as you and therefore you should not take things for granted. Participate fully in the extra-curricular programme, study hard and always try your best in order to reach your full, academic potential, don’t waste opportunities, do that music practice that you have been putting off all week, be a kind friend, give of your time and help someone out.
Secondly, I want you to consider what we can do as a school and as individuals to help those less fortunate than ourselves. What can you do to actively get involved in school and year group charities to try and help to make a difference to the lives of others in the world who need it?
I would like us now to bow our heads for a prayer.
Thank you for all the things that we have been given in life; shelter, food, water, an education, love and protection.
Thank you for the wonderful opportunities that we have here and Ratcliffe College and help us to make the right choices in order to fulfil our mission in life.
Guide us in the right direction and help us to be grateful each day for what we have. May we strive to help those less fortunate than ourselves and keep them in our thoughts and prayers, in the hope that one day, they too will want for nothing.
Mrs Leite, Head of Boarding