(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 27 May 2015)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.
I once heard that teachers are asked hundreds of questions in any given day. So, last week, I decided to try and count how many I was asked from the time I arrived at school to the time I left.
While this enterprise was shamefully unscientific, probably not very accurate, and overall pretty stupid, it did make me think. And it did make some of my freshmen very curious, seeing me jotting down seemingly everything they said in a petite blue notebook.
My grand total was somewhere around 215 questions – but I know I missed at least a few dozen throughout the day. And those were only questions asked out loud… email inquiries didn’t count.
I was already at nearly 40 questions before homeroom had even ended… woah.
Here’s a sampling:
Do you have tissues?
Do you purposely pick the tissue box patterns that match the stuff on your desk?
What would happen if I just didn’t come to school again until exam week?
Do you think that if you ate hand lotion, you’d die?
How much hand lotion do you think you’d have to eat before you’d die?
You can probably imagine some of the questions from the rest of the day. For instance: Can I go to the bathroom? We teachers get that one a lot.
Then there were the generic questions: How are you, what class is first today, do we have homework tonight, etc.
Then there were questions unique to the situations and personalities that each class period presented:
Do you have a glue stick?
Do you have a band-aid?
Did Gene really push Finny out of the tree on purpose?
Was Gatsby a bootlegger after all?
Did you grade our research papers yet?
Do you have any snacks I can eat?
When my students caught on that I was writing down everything they asked, you can imagine the field day they had. At one point, during period B, I had to close my little blue book and threaten a quiz because my hand was ready to fall off from trying to keep up with capturing their inquiries.
How many questions are you at now?
What’s the meaning of life?
Is the final exam going to be hard?
Why is the sky blue?
While most of these questions had answers, and pretty simple ones, answers I knew, some of them did not.
This past Sunday, the church commemorated Pentecost. And I can’t help thinking about the Disciples, who, throughout so much of their journey with Jesus, were full of questions of their own.
And, even when Jesus tried to give them answers, they were probably like… huh? What? I don’t get it.
Jesus is often referred to and depicted as the consummate teacher. But I can imagine that sometimes his “lesson plans” didn’t always go smoothly. And in this I find some solace. What if, for example, Jesus wanted to move on to a lecture on loving the poor, but his disciples just couldn’t get past the “fishers of men” bit. Is that a metaphor? Or do you really want us to go fishing?
And… let’s be honest. The Holy Spirit? It’s still hard for us to fathom, even with centuries of church doctrine to help us. If someone told you that you were going to receive a gift, a bunch of gifts, 7 to be exact, but that they’d sort of be invisible, and so would the giver, but also maybe the giver would be like a dove, but also like a fire, which if you know anything about literature, those things have pretty different symbolic meanings… you’d have a lot of questions too.
And that’s where prayer comes in. Sometimes, more important than answers we receive, is bringing our questions to God.
Let us pray.
Lord, help us never to be afraid to ask questions, and keep us open enough to your presence in our lives to hear the answers you are giving us.
St. John Baptist de la Salle….
Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts….
Julianne Frega–English Teacher