“Prepare the way of the Lord” is our schools Mission Statement – something that we all try to live out day by day.

In the Gospel of Matthew we are told that it was John the Baptist who was sent to prepare the way for the Lord by baptising people in the Lords name as a sign that we had turned away from sin. At St Edmund Arrowsmith we believe it is vitally important to turn away from sin and seek forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and from one another. By doing this, we are moving any obstacles that might be blocking our own paths to Christ. Forgiveness of our sins ensures that the path to Christ remains straight and clear.

To help us understand our Mission Statement better, imagine yourself walking through life with a backpack on your back. It’s heavy! Weighed down with all your worries and hopes and fears and memories. It is filled with good times and bad, grudges and sadness, joy and love. Absolutely everything is packed into that backpack!

Like many people who care to admit, you may tend to hoard things – hold on to things for years and years out of nostalgia or “just in case I ever need it again”; like a jumper that no longer fits or a game you no longer play with. The same can be said for our backpack of life. Sometimes we find it difficult to let go of things like anger or resentment. If someone has been unkind to us, it is all too easy to hold a grudge against that person for years. But that is not preparing the way for the Lord! That is not making our path clear for him. In carrying that heavy backpack we are weighed down and struggling along that path towards Christ and it certainly won’t do our backs any good to haul all that baggage around.

So, here at SEA, we try to encourage pupils to clear out their backpacks. Get rid of all the heavy stuff weighing them down. Keep only what they need – happiness, love, friendship, compassion, forgiveness. Prompt them to remove everything they don’t need – grudges, jealousy, doubt, anger, unkindness. And remind them that their backpacks will be lighter and their journeys made easier as a result.