by Mr Andy Joyce
As I sit at home looking through my window at the snow falling, I could never have envisaged that I would be preparing and teaching online lessons to my students for the second time in less than twelve months. Strangely, it reminds me of the lady who hit the headlines in 2019 at the start of the General Election campaign with, “What another one!”, but here we are for the third time in lockdown. Another one!
Again, our routines have been disrupted, and we have had to change how we interact with each other. Under normal circumstances, I am constantly used to “Sir, Sir”, being shouted in my ear, but now all is quiet, and I get an email instead. It’s not really the same, but my students still need help.
Of course, we all need help from time to time, and just as I try to guide my students online, we teachers too have needed help, be it emotional, physical, or virtual.
What has struck me this time is that the little things I can do will go a long way to help someone. One of my students, whom I have not seen for several weeks, joined one of my online classes. I asked her why it had taken her so long to join the class after so long. Her reply was that she was doing all her work and was getting on with it, but recently the one thing she missed most of all was seeing a face from school.
In ‘normal’ times, we take this for granted, and never give it a thought, but now we crave to see people face to face (without a mask), and I wonder how we will all react once this pandemic is over. I for one, look forward to the day when I can see my student’s face to face, and see their expressions on their faces.
Seeing people face to face reminded me of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, and her love for the Holy Face of Jesus. In her book ‘Story of a Soul’, she contemplates Jesus’s Holy Face, which is the star that guides her steps. Let our faces guide those lonely faces during this pandemic, so that we may all see each other in the face of Jesus.
With Saint Thérèse's reflection we pray.
Jesus! Thy dear and holy Face
Is the bright star that guides my way;
Thy gentle glance, so full of grace,
Is my true heaven on earth, today.
My love finds out the holy charm
Of Thy dear eyes with tear-drops wet;
Through mine own tears I smile at Thee,
And in Thy griefs my pains forget.
Saint Thérèse, pray for us. Saint Jude, pray for us.
Andy is a Guild of Saint Jude Life member and has been a supporter of the Shrine for many years. He is a teacher based in Bradford (and when there is no Pandemic) volunteers in Lourdes for two weeks each year.