House Feast Day – 25 January
“Cursum ad finem”
Run the race to the finish (2 Timothy 4:7)
A message to all in St Paul House
Fr Jim Callaghan
'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.'
This extract from a letter to Timothy, a fellow missionary, is one of St Paul’s last writings before his death. It constitutes the final thoughts of his last days, knowing that his departure from this life was at hand. Indeed, the finishing line was imminent, as Paul would soon give the ultimate witness by being beheaded for his faith in Christ.
There are obvious sporting metaphors at play here: being engaged in a fight, running a race, receiving a crown as a reward for victory achieved - all aspects of modern life that we can well relate to. But for Paul, this is not really about a contest in a sporting arena, but rather, about the struggles of life, and more particularly, the life of faith, which as we all know, is never easy or straightforward. We might sometimes lose sight of God, but he never loses sight of us.
As you might expect from a man close to the end, St Paul is reflecting on what constitutes a worthwhile life, a faith-full life, and he is anxious to pass on this wisdom, not just to Timothy, but to all of us as we strive to run our own race, with our eyes on the crown.
Where are you in your race, I wonder? Well, you've heard the starting gun and full of enthusiasm, you’ve sprinted down the first straight - that was childhood. Then you’ve come to the first bend and because you are still in lanes, some of you appear to be further ahead than others, but this may well be just an illusion until the stagger begins to unwind - this is like your adolescent or teenage years. Some of you may be just entering this bend, and some of you may be coming out of it, but all of you will be thinking of jostling for position as you try to find your own place in the race. St Paul, and all your teachers will tell you what you are now beginning to realise - that this is not a sprint. There will be all sorts of challenges to face, hurdles to jump, pain barriers to get through, fatigue or tiredness to overcome, barging, collisions, and even deliberately disruptive tactics from fellow runners, not to mention the concern about losing touch with the pack and falling behind. You might hope for a second or even third wind, and then begin to speed up towards the end on the final straight as you sprint finish to have one last push for glory. Adults will testify to this as they tell you how, as you get older, time seems to fly by, and the days pass more quickly.
So, with St Paul as your coach, what advice might he give you that would help you achieve your dream for this race which we call life? He would probably tell you that your race is not so much about the distance or the time, but about the quality of your effort. Not so much about competing with others, but about competing with yourself and running your own race. Not so much about ascending the podium, but about crossing the line - whenever that might be. Perhaps the most important thing he would urge you to do would be to keep faith - faith in yourself and in others, and ultimately, faith in God. He would remind you to be always conscious that you can live more perfectly and run more assuredly by the breath of God’s Spirit within you - if would only allow him to help you. It is a powerful, living force that helps us gain the crown for which we all long - oneness with God, or as he would call it, union with Christ. Our faith tells us that the race will finish, but the journey will continue. In one sense, St Paul was at the end when he wrote this piece of advice and then suffered martyrdom in Rome - but in another sense, he was only at the beginning - as he crossed the line into eternity.
St Paul House Info
Staff Information and Contact Details
The House manager is the member of staff you should contact if you have a query/question regarding your child. The House Manager can liaise on your behalf with other staff to answer your query or solve your problem.
Tel: 01274 941990
Tel: 01274 941995
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Tel: 01274 941900
Paul House (ID 1183)