(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community for the start of Catholic Schools Week, 26 January 2015)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Those words, that reminder, every day of your high school career is such an incredible gift. I can say that to you now that I’ve been out of high school for 24 years. I didn’t realize it at your age but that simple phrase: “Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God” helped me reframe my thinking. God was no longer some distant figure I prayed to on Sundays at mass. God was now a familiar presence in my everyday life. And sometimes when we would start off the day or a class with that phrase it would put things in perspective. Friend drama, family drama, sports drama, academic drama…we are in the holy presence of God. It reminded me to turn to God with my worries because He is always there for me. It also reminded me to treat others with kindness and respect. We never know what might be troubling someone else. Any time you choose to be kind, it is your best bet.
I loved my years here at La Salle examining my faith and realizing how to be the best version of myself. I loved that Christian service was an integral part of our education. I was sent out to tutor fifth grade students in Providence during my senior year. I know the whole point of Christian service is to help others but I’m sure I got way more out of that experience than those fifth graders. You’re probably experiencing that as well. As much as we are doing for others, we seem to get so much more in return.
I went on to become a fourth grade teacher. In fact, some of you listening now were in my fourth grade class. Teaching is the most exhausting, rewarding job on this planet. Students don’t realize this but your teachers worry about you way after the bell rings. I work really hard to be kind and respectful in my daily interactions with children and adults. I am now the library teacher for fourth and fifth graders. It is a humbling and challenging role to meet the needs of every reader in my school. I try to build relationships with every student and adult to foster a love of reading and learning that will serve them well in their future endeavors. As much as my career allows me to help students, they give me so much more in return. I have learned from and cared for countless amazing young people. I burst with pride when I hear of the accomplishments they go on to achieve.
However, you don’t need to have a service-oriented profession in order to live out your faith. No matter what you decide to do with your life, you will remember that you are in the holy presence of God. When you have something nice to say to someone, don’t hesitate to say it. When you can do something to help someone else, by all means do it. You never know when something you do or say will make a big difference in someone else’s life.
Remembering you are in the holy presence of God reminds us to live in a respectful way. A long time from now people will not remember what you wore. They will remember how you treated them. A quote by William J. Toms has always stuck with me: “Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.”
Let us pray that we choose to be kind and respectful to others in all that we say and do. Amen.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle….pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever
Melanie Colangelo Roy–Class of 1991