Faith matters – transformation

Brendan Nicholl 19 August 2020

Are we able to transform ourselves to cope with the challenge of the pandemic?

Are we able to transform ourselves to cope with the challenge of the pandemic?

As we take part in the second round of remote and flexible learning you may notice that the change is easier to bear than our first experience. We have learned from the first period of satellite teaching and have adapted the framework to better support the students academically and emotionally.

However, there have been a number of changes which will affect our whole community and transform this academic year, as well as potentially the years to come.

When I was young we struggled to be entertained as children. There was no internet, streaming, YouTube or dedicated kids channels on TV.

We got up early for the cartoons and waited for the test pattern to end at 6am! Sadly, growing up in the 80s was much more about ‘don’t come back until dinner time’ than social media, television and gaming. I remember a saving grace fondly being a TV show called Transformers. An animated series about vehicles that could transform to humanoid robots with two groups that fought in a deeply moral war of good versus evil.


I fondly remember playing with my transformer toys and imagining our old car transforming with me and going into battle.

When I think of the show today I now think about how the characters were able to change when needed from their ordinary form into something new; something extraordinarily powerful and virtuous. The vehicle in its ordinary form had everything needed to become something better than what it was. Paradoxically, the robots were always happy to transform back into the ordinary vehicle they originally were when the battle was over and serve in their ‘ordinary’ way.

As we serve others through the sacrifices Stage 3 restrictions have on our lives and educationally, we would do well to consider the relevance of the Transformers’ narrative to our current situation.

We are moving from the ordinary into challenging times emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. We have everything within us to transform into someone that not only can cope with the challenges presented at this time but reach out to others and help them.


Philosophically and theologically we are always presented with the competing demands of our own needs and desires and the decision to put others first. Jesus offered us a guide to this conundrum in the Golden Rule, ‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.’

There are a myriad of ways you can transform your thinking and actions to be more sacrificial. However, you may need to make a choice to move beyond your own challenges and frustrations at this time.

Offering a positive or supportive comment might be the transformation that helps someone else make the decision to do so for others. There is much wisdom in the concept of paying it forward. You might consider supporting others in financial hardship by donating to the College’s meals program. You may simply spend time in prayer asking for guidance and spiritual contentment.


However, you chose to enter into this period of restrictions aim to be transformed positively because of it. Believe in the gifts you have been given. You are stronger than you can imagine and are able to help those around you in a unique way. Look beyond yourself and the ordinary and strive to be more because of the challenges we face. When this period of restrictions ends you, like the Transformers, may take a step back. You might though be changed forever.

If nothing else, these next few weeks will go by swiftly. Today there are any number of streaming platforms and dedicated TV channels. If you get ‘bored’ though you might want to watch a few episodes of the Transformers and contemplate how relevant the story is to our lives today.

Brendan Nicholls is Liturgy Coordinator at St Ignatius College, Geelong.


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