(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, morning, 28 May 2014)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
We are now deep into the Easter season. A hallmark of the liturgy, during this entire season, has been the readings from the Acts of the Apostles, a thoroughly interesting account of the early Christian community as it branched out of Jerusalem, embraced the Gentiles, such as me, and perhaps you, and established itself across Asia Minor, Greece, and even into Rome, the empire’s capital. The characters of Acts are strong and the stories full of drama. There is the death by stoning of Steven, with Paul looking on. There is the encounter between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. There is the generous hospitality of Lydia. There is the earthquake, tearing out the gates of the jail. And on and on. Tomorrow, on the feast of the Ascension, we get to listen to the very first paragraphs of the Acts of the Apostles.
As I listen to these stories I become aware of remarkable parallels between the early Christian community that Luke writes about and the early history of the Brothers, under our Founder, John Baptist de la Salle. The persecution. The deliberation. The zeal for the mission.
Allow me to dwell with you on one small phrase from Acts. When Barnabas and Paul (who had been abruptly brought to his senses) returned to Jerusalem after a brief expedition, Luke tells us that they reported to the community about, and I quote, “what God had done with them.” Imagine, they reported what God had done with them!
What a remarkable phrase! Clearly, Paul and Barnabas had simply turned themselves over to God, so that God’s will might be done.
Now, our Founder was a master at this very same thing, as you can see from the words, emblazoned on our cafeteria ceiling. De la Salle’s very last words were, “I love, among all things, the will of God for me.”
He did not always see God’s will immediately, but it was always his singular intention to discover that will. And he followed it with tenacity, like Paul and Peter and Barnabas and Philip.
So I ask, what is God’s will for me today, and for you? Does God want me to mend a relationship? Does God want me to stop thinking about myself all the time? Does God want me to be more careful in recalling God’s presence in my classroom, in my soul?
Let us pray.
Dear Creator, Lover of the universe, we thank you for the wonderful stories by your servant, Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles. And we thank your for the zeal and persistence of our Founder, and the rich inheritance left to us, right here in Providence.
Help each of us to know what you ask of us today. May your will be done by us on earth as it is in heaven.
St. John Baptist de la Salle, pray for us.
St. Luke, pray for us,
Live, Jesus, in our hearts. Forever!
Have I been able to discern elements of God’s will for me?
I will continue to search for that will, which alone will make me thoroughly human and completely happy.
Michael McNamara (Member of Mathematics Department)