Monday, 23 January 2012

Little Bees...

'When little bees are caught in a storm they take hold of small stones so they can keep their
balance when they fly. Our firm resolution to stay with God is like stability to the soul amid the rolling waves of life.'
 Francis de Sales (1567 - 1622) only lived fifty-six years, but his short life has had a profound impact upon how some approach the Christian life.  Many people sought him out as their spiritual director, and his correspondence with Madam de Chamoisy evolved into one of the most beautiful, simply written advice for Christians living and working everyday - An Introduction to the devout life. By the time this post is published, I will be meeting Section 48 Inspectors at my school. They have come to examine the 'Catholic Ethos', and will be taking a long, hard and detailed look at how my school ensures that we live up to our mission statement to have 'prayer at the centre of our lives'. They will look at our liturgies, our assemblies, our time with our tutor group, how RE is taught, the schemes of work we use in RE and across the curriculum, the extra curricula clubs we run, the charities we support, the way our school uses statues, crucifixes and other visual reminders to encourage us all to remember we are living a very busy life of faith. They will speak to staff and students about how they see the school too, and try to get a feel of how everyone tries to live up to what we say we are as a Catholic place of education. I am scared: terrified actually. I have been unable to sleep much which is very unusual, and when I wake I discover I have been dreaming about lessons going wrong or Inspectors discovering unmarked books! I am new in my post. Preparing to answer questions on your 'management style' all seems a bit grown up to me. It petrifies me. But, to have this process begin on the Feast of St. Francis de Sales is auspicious. If there was a man who offered simple, practical advice about how to 'be good' it was him, throughout his life he had a calm, gentle approach, even when negotiating difficult issues. He always gripped tightly onto the rock, his faith.

Francis' message, really, was that simple things sustain us, he does not over complicate the life of prayer. He does not over complicate God. Tomorrow, I aim not to over complicate a Section 48 Inspection.

A simple and uncomplicated thing then....

Mustard Mash
(Serve 3)

400g potatoes
85ml whole milk
85g butter
1 scallion / spring onion
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
a handful of chopped parsley

Peel and boil the potatoes in salted water until they are soft. Heat the milk with chopped spring onion Drain the potatoes, and then mash thoroughly. Strain the milk and add it to the potatoes. Stir in the butter and two types of mustard, season generously and mash until smooth. Stir in the chopped parsley. Serve with your favourite sausages, green vegetables and gravy. Sorted.

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