A “Beautiful Beginning”—-of a Friendship

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 2 March 2017)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.

As I walked into my assigned pre-k classroom of Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center for my Christian Service second quarter, I had no idea what I was going to experience. I went in with an open mind and heart, hoping to connect with eighteen students. I thought that I could serve them and leave a lasting impression, when in reality these students served me. The seven weeks I spent at Beautiful Beginnings were spent forming incredible bonds. And I hate to admit it, but I definitely had a few favorites in class who naturally connected with me. But, I felt through the passing weeks that I had a strong connection with every child in the classroom.. Except for one.

A young girl named Margareth didn’t warm up to me as the other children did. She never approached me or wanted my attention as her classmates did. Each time I attempted to make conversation, she stared blankly at me. Through the weeks I felt it was my responsibility to spend at least some time with her. This particular Wednesday, I noticed her on the reading rug with two other classmates. I sat with them and began to read a story. I quickly noticed that two girls were completely engaged, while Margareth sat expressionless. I turned to her after reading and asked if there was any book that she would like to read. Shyly, she handed a picture book over to me and requested, “leelo por favor,” or “read this, please” in Spanish. My heart nearly stopped. Throughout the past weeks, I wrongly judged Margareth and thought her to be unfriendly and shy compared to my other welcoming students. I was wrong, Margareth simply came from a Spanish-speaking family and this was her first year in a classroom being exposed to English. I, a Spanish student and speaker, saw this as a perfect learning opportunity. I immediately began interpreting the story in Spanish for her. She smiled brightly as she told me all about the animals and colors she saw in the picture book. She told me that she loved it, and I could tell she was thrilled that I could understand and communicate with her. I learned in that moment that Margareth is a loving and beautiful child, similar to every student in that classroom. She is charismatic, funny, quirky, and smart. Her communication was different from the others, but she no longer had a language barrier from me. My connection to her taught me to always seek the least of God’s people, and to never judge anyone without knowing their heart. I had the privilege of knowing an adorable student, and enjoyed her teaching me a thing or two about Spanish.

It was from this particular encounter that I felt God’s presence on Christian service. Margareth’s bright personality made my service experience extraordinary. Immediately after reading our story in Spanish, she never left my side. I played with her, gave her instructions, and even challenged her with some words in English. My faith taught me in this encounter to love God and love my neighbor. My connection to Margareth helped me practice my faith and a language that I love. I am deeply thankful for the students I worked with at Beautiful Beginnings, their graceful ability to love me while hardly knowing me, and the memories that we shared together.

Let us Pray:

Lord, help us to love one another as You love us. Help us to see those who are different from us as brothers and sisters, and to use our gifts to make the world a better place. During this season of Lent, help us to change our hearts and see your light in the world in all we do. Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Rebecca Hobin–Class of 2017

Hope in the Ashes

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, 1 March 2017—Ash Wednesday)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Today the Christian churches celebrate Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.

I recently heard a story of a little boy standing at the foot of an escalator in a large department store, never taking his eyes off the handrail as the escalator kept going up and down.  A salesperson saw him and asked if he was lost.  He said, “Nope.  I’m just waiting for my chewing gum to come back.”

That’s hope!


We all face difficulties in life—sometimes we feel as if we are knee-deep in problems.  We can’t just pretend that the pain and hurt aren’t there.  However, we can envelop ourselves in hope.  Hope gives us the power of perseverance.  With hope we can nourish the conviction that the hurts will eventually be healed and the difficulties overcome.

So, Brother, what does hope have to do with Ash Wednesday and Lent?  Today as we receive ashes, we are reminded that there is indeed pain and sorrow in life—“remember that you are dust and to dust you will return”—we are, all of us, after all, human beings.  However, Lenten prayer and fasting and almsgiving (giving of ourselves to those in need) help us to believe that the Lenten ashes are signs of hope.  The cross made of ashes on our foreheads reminds us that Jesus loves us, loves us so much that he died on a cross for us and then was raised from the dead, as we will be raised.  Jesus gives us hope!

Although the ashen cross will disappear from your forehead this evening (if not before), I suggest that each day during Lent, when you look into the mirror in the morning, you see the image of the cross on your forehead and remember that Jesus offers you hope for that day.  Let him set you free from all that keeps you from growth and joy and, as you throw water on your face, like the waters of baptism, start the journey of your day believing that Jesus is with you, always guiding you and loving you.  Like the piece of gum on the escalator railing, Jesus is never far away, always returning to us, always saving us—we just have to wait for him in hope!

Let us pray:

Lord Jesus, we believe that you are always present to us, listening to us, waiting for us to return to you.  During this Lenten season help us to pray, to fast, and to be giving persons so that our hearts might be open to your unconditional love for us. AMEN.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller