Sunday, 1 August 2010
It was Friday once again, and Father Ignatius took the Catechism Class at the local Catholic School.
He noticed the children were somewhat subdued and not as perky and chatty as always.
“Is everything OK today?” he asked, “you have never been so quiet … or am I going slightly deaf in my old age?”
They smiled quietly and said nothing at first, then one of them hesitated “have you not heard Father … the school is being inspected tomorrow and we will all have to sit an English test and a Mathematics test set by the inspectors … no one knows what is in the tests …
“Our form teacher, Miss Farthing, said that if we don’t do well compared to the National Average, it will cause repercussions for the school and ourselves …”
“I understand you concerns …” said the priest gently.
“It’s more than concerns …” said another pupil, “we’re afraid and worried out of our minds … no one told us of these tests until a few minutes ago …”
“And what have you done about it?” asked the priest maintaining his gentle tone of voice.
“What can we do?” replied another child, “we’ve been told they’re new national tests and even Miss Farthing doesn’t know what is involved.”
“All right …” continued Father Ignatius, “let’s spend the next few minutes on these tests … no Catechism class today …
“First of all … don’t let your fears guide you; but allow God to do so.
“You have all done various English and Mathematics tests before … and these tests tomorrow, no matter how new and no matter how different, they will only involve material which you have already been taught. I doubt very much the inspectors will test material not on the national curriculum. The tests may be new but not the subjects which you have been taught.
“So do some quick revision … nothing too long and too thorough … just general stuff which you’ve been taught so far and do your best tomorrow.
“The reason you have been given so little time to prepare is deliberate … the inspectors do this to test a whole class at a given point in time with no prior warning. They do this in every school … so you’ll be no different to anyone else.”
He stopped for a while to check they’d calmed down a little.
“And now, if I may … a word or two about fear …
“Often in life we are faced with seemingly insoluble problems. So our first instincts are to work hard at finding a solution … we struggle … we worry … and we fear what may happen next.
“And in our fears and struggles we forget that God has the answer.
“There is no problem, however inconceivable it might be, which may come to us in life which God has not met before. And if God has met it … He sure has the answer and the solution.
“I am not talking just about English or Mathematics tests here … but any problems that you may face as you grow up and become responsible adults … any problems at all … faithfully hand them to God.
“Pray to God and trust Him to show you the way ahead. He wouldn’t be an omnipotent all-knowing God otherwise.
“Our hesitation to hand over our problems to Him, is itself a problem of our own making – not His
“So I repeat what I said earlier … do not let your fears guide you, but allow God to do so.”
He stopped as he physically noticed they’d regained confidence in themselves and their abilities. He led them in prayer that they would do well and allowed them to spend the rest of the afternoon revising English and Mathematics.