Reconciliation for me works at a personal level. Because I have had extended professional and personal interaction with Indigenous people, reconciliation is not so much an abstract concept but something you work at on an almost daily basis. Reconciliation is a commitment to Christian love, friendship, collegiality, reciprocity – a here-and-now thing that is part of everyday life and work. It is the hundred and one “forgivenesses” that constitute our daily human existence.
How does this relate to the bigger picture? For me it means remembering, and continually bringing to mind, these contacts and experiences with Indigenous people at a personal level, and being able to use this to transcend some of the unwelcome stereotypical attitudes and behaviour we see exhibited only too often towards Indigenous people in our society.
Reconciliation writ large is a reminder to me that peace and harmony is a gift of God to individuals to use in their society to enrich the common good and improve the lot of people at the margins. Reconciliation means drawing in to oneself the hopes and aspirations of others, of Australian’s Indigenous people, recognising and rejoicing in our common humanity, our common weaknesses and our common strengths.
Dr Bill Griffiths
Chief Executive Officer
National Catholic Education Commission