Ann Rennie Reflects

I am sitting under the Dome at the State Library on the second day of the New Year. Around me there are people studying or working or checking their social media accounts. There are visitors admiring the architectural magnificence of this great reading room with its cascading light and sense of history. It is a room for words and writing. 

I have the gift of time on my hands so thought I would get going with February’s column. Perhaps this indicates that this year I will again try to use my time fruitfully and well. I have had a couple of indolent, slumbery days so far these holidays and will have a couple more, but in three weeks’ time, after Australia Day, the year will sharpen into its usual structure of work, routine and purpose.

Yesterday at Mass I was again reminded of those last lines of the Eucharistic liturgy we hear every week: Go in peace and glorify the Lord with your life. Sometimes we are so used to certain words and their familiar hum that we do not think about their significance. Perhaps the Go in peace is the easy part of these concluding directives. During Mass we have had time to reflect on things and to reorient ourselves for the week to come. Certainly, I had my thoughts about the year ahead and my hopes for it. I gently closed the door on 2022, thanked God for good things, prayed to do and be better this year and know that, as with everyone else, I will have to find that inner fortitude if my world becomes wobbly. I may need to lean on family and they may need to lean on me. The peace I will need will be maintained by a pace that is measured and timely and that interacts generously with the other people in my life. The peace I need will also come from the unconditional companionship of God as he journeys with me through the days of my life.

But how to glorify God with what I do in 2023? 

Perhaps this is done in small steps, rather than grand gestures. So, during the week I will be working with the young people who are our future. Here, I will try to notice the individual in the class, that God-child with their dreams and idiosyncrasies, their worries and wonders, their growing into themselves and finding the place they belong. George Bernard Shaw may have said youth is wasted on the young, but these days we know that our young people need more guidance and support than ever, even though they are more sophisticated and aware than we were at the same age. If I can do some good in the classroom, in the corridor, with colleagues, on camp, I am dignifying my work with effort and enthusiasm. The Spirit is enabling me, adding small graces and glories to overlapping life stories.

Perhaps another way of glorifying God is doing the best we can.

I will start the day with a prayer of gladness and close it with gratitude. In between I’ll do my best, knowing that sometimes this will work wonderfully and sometimes there will be challenges and missteps. 

I will look up and around, being alert to the new, curious and hopeful. I will pursue my interests and laugh with friends and gaze at the scintillating blanket of stars at night. I will read and write and wonder and keep trying because trying is the story of most lives. I will be fascinated by words and pictures, complete newspaper quizzes without cheating and notice the ladybird on the leaf. 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning reminds us that Earth’s crammed with heaven And every common bush afire with God. I will seek out those daily bits of heaven on Earth; the hug from mothers as their children head off to school; the cheeriness of the tram driver who takes the time to let an elderly passenger find a seat; the poetry of welcome when new friends are made at school. I will be charmed by happy little rainbow lorikeets dipping and diving through the green canopy looking for a place to nestle. I will turn up the radio when I hear favourite songs and enjoy the comfort of a cup of tea late at night. I will plan sprees with siblings and catch-ups with friends and anticipate walking in the footsteps of Jesus in a hot July in Israel. I will be at home in the world around me.

I will encourage and affirm and hope will be my anthem. I will disregard the small arrows of hurt that are as inevitable as breathing because we are all simply human and fallible. I will forgive and hope that I am forgiven. I will listen more closely to conversations because sometimes clues are being shared that need to be followed up. I will acknowledge my good fortune in having much love around me and the agency to direct my life as I will, most of the time. I will do my best to live out the Gospel imperative, without piety or pretension, in daily witness to the faith that lifts my heart.

I will offer all the small glories of my life to God, a thank you for the gift of my being here and now with life’s 2023 mission possible clearly in front of me.

By Ann Rennie



Faith Reflections


Profile image

"The unconditional companionship of God". Wow!!!

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.

Profile image
Laura Facci

What a wonderful reflection Ann. If only I was young enough to be a student at your school with you as my teacher, mentor & friend.
God Bless you as you minister to your students and to the general community through your writings in the Australian Catholics magazine and through your regular column in the OLGC newsletter.

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.

Profile image
Sharon Freeman

Ann, a beautiful reflection. Something I will be able to carry with me in the coming days. I particularly like the phrase - " I will encourage and affirm and hope will be my anthem". I will bring these into my day.
Thank you, Ann

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.

Add Comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.