(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 21 September 2015)
Let us remember that we are in the Holy presence of a loving God…
Last Thursday morning, we came together as a school community to celebrate the Opening of School Mass. Each class walked down to our campus’ stadium together and sat in large sections of our well-constructed bleachers overlooking our beautifully manicured football field. Our high tech sound system was set up to allow the entire school to clearly hear Father Najim celebrate Mass accompanied by our talented chorus. Many volunteers gave of their time in order to ensure that the Mass would flow smoothly.
Before Mass began, however, many of us were complaining about things like the heat, the sun beating down on us, sitting in damp seats, and not being able to sit with our friends. I must admit, I, too, complained about the weather that morning. When Father Najim began his homily, he asked us to recall a photo that went viral a few weeks ago depicting a three year old toddler who had washed up on a Turkish beach after his family desperately tried to escape the Middle East. I remembered seeing this photo online and being overwhelmed with a deep sadness. This poor, innocent child suffered a horrible death because his family was trying to get him to safety. This was just one of many stories of Syrian refugees fleeing the Middle East due to the brutal violence they are forced to endure and witness daily.
I couldn’t help feeling a pang of guilt when I reflected on how blessed I was to be at Mass outside on a beautiful, sunny day surrounded by a loving community, a community that has the privilege to freely worship together without fear. This is certainly not a privilege that is enjoyed everywhere in the world. I reflected on Father Najim’s homily with each of my classes in prayer that day. Together, we prayed for peace and thanked God for the blessings that he has bestowed upon us.
Today begins the International Lasallian Days for Peace. The theme this year is “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God,” which comes from Matthew’s Gospel chapter 5 verse 9. We, together with our brothers and sisters in Lasallian schools across the world, are called to pray for peace, a peace that was unattainable for the three-year-old Syrian toddler. Today, let us pray together as a community for peace and spread that peace through our words and actions.
We ask God, our Father, for His Grace to help us be true peacemakers in the words of Saint Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
St. John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.
Amanda Broccoli–English Teacher