(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 2 June 2017)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God
Recently, I heard a former professor of mine tell a story from his family that moved and inspired me. I’d like to share that story with you this morning as our prayer this last official day of classes at the academy this year.
Michael—my professor—had been visiting his elderly mother faithfully and routinely in the nursing home every week for the last year of her life as she struggled with the ravaging effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Two or three times per week, he would visit with her, help feed her, tell her about his day, and read to her as she dozed off to sleep for the evening. One night a couple of months before her death, Michael’s mom seemed particularly agitated, disoriented, and anxious. She wouldn’t eat, she refused to sit with him, and kept asking him to go home. Not sure how to proceed or what to say, Michael reached for his mom’s hand and asked her, “Do you remember who I am?” Michael’s mom stood very still and stared at him for a long time. In a soft voice, barely above a whisper, she told him, “I’m sorry, darling. I don’t know that I could remember your name but I do know that you are someone I loved very much.”
In the Christian tradition, God’s love is referred to as agape—a complete, unconditional, “no holds barred” kind of love. It does not depend on anything we do or do not do. Agape is freely given. And it is that love to which we are called, each day, every day.
As we wrap up the 2016-2017 academic year, I’d like us to consider the most fundamental of all questions—-How well have we loved this year? In a school the size and magnitude of La Salle, it is easy to get lost in the minutiae, in the details. If you’re like me, the most honest way to answer that question is to say that sometimes I get it right—I act selflessly and give as Jesus would want me to. But often, I fall short. I miss the mark. I rush to judge another, react out of fear or self interest, and count the cost of loving.
Day in and day out, in our classrooms, hallways, athletic fields, locker rooms, theater, cafeteria, and cars—we have opportunities to learn how to give of ourselves bravely and courageously to one another. In doing so, we learn that we belong to God. We learn that we belong to one another.
Let us pray
Good and gracious God,
We believe that you are present wherever love is.
Help us to remember that we are not called to success.
We are called to be instruments of love and mercy.
Alone and together, in this Lasallian community, may we discern that call daily
So that we may see where and when and how
We can give of ourselves freely, selflessly to one another.
And when everything else fades away, may it be said that we loved one another.
St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for Us
Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever!
Christine Estes–Director of Campus Ministry