The light of faith

Thursday, April 07, 2016

 The light of faith
Easter, Day 12

The saint for today, St. John Baptist de la Salle (1651-1719), was born into nobility and began his priestly career teaching poor boys, a ministry that was at first distasteful to him. He allowed his ministry to change him and he became the founder of the Christian Brothers, whose lives are devoted to educating poor boys and young delinquents of wealthy families.  After his ordination, he found himself helping in the establishment of a new religious congregation, the Sisters of the Child Jesus for the care of the sick and education of poor girls.   After his ordination, the young priest had helped them in becoming established, and then served as their chaplain and confessor.

As he worked with education, he realized that the educators also needed help and education and put his efforts into teaching the teachers.   He brought his fellow teachers into live with him and developed the first religious congregation for men who were not priests. Of his ministry, he said:  

I had imagined that the care which I assumed of the schools and the masters would amount only to a marginal involvement committing me to no more than providing for the subsistence of the masters and assuring that they acquitted themselves of their tasks with piety and devotedness ...[3] Indeed, if I had ever thought that the care I was taking of the schoolmasters out of pure charity would ever have made it my duty to live with them, I would have dropped the whole project. ... God, who guides all things with wisdom and serenity, whose way it is not to force the inclinations of persons, willed to commit me entirely to the development of the schools. He did this in an imperceptible way and over a long period of time so that one commitment led to another in a way that I did not foresee in the beginning."

In the Scripture reading for today, the persons in authority did not want to hear about the resurrection of Jesus and the implications of that truth and that reality for the God they were worshiping in their lives. No matter what the reality was, they wanted to keep things “as they where.”  In his lifetime, St. John also experienced opposition to his work for educating the poor and gathering into a community men who were not priests.  People wanted to keep things “as they were.”    John; however, said:

"In the light of faith you see things quite differently.
You can do more with the grace of God than you think.
Your students are living images of Jesus.”
St. John Baptist de la Salle

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