(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 27 September 2017)
Good morning, La Salle.
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
For the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would say for this morning’s reflection. I have been inspired by the words of so many teachers, and if I am being honest, I don’t know if I could give you much more than what has already been said.
However, I thought I would share something that has been on my mind recently, and that is: I believe most high-schoolers get Christianity wrong.
Prior to my recent move to the Ocean State, I taught for 3 years at an all-boys Catholic High School on Long Island, New York; the course I taught was called Christian Humanism, which is formal and fancy talk for “morality.” In that course, we studied everything—if there was something to be talked about, debated, studied, argued…you name it, we covered it. It was a great experience, one that I will never forget, but I was always a little afraid when teaching it. Why was I “afraid”? Simply put: I didn’t want my students to think Christianity was simply a moral system of “do’s” and “don’ts.” “Don’t do this, that’s bad.” “Don’t do that, that’s not good for you.” “And definitely don’t do that—that might put you into the 4th circle of Dante’s purgatory, as he described in the Inferno.”
Anyone who has a clue about Christianity knows it’s claim: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. Christianity, fundamentally, is not a behavior-modification program; it is not sin-management. To be a Christian means to be redeemed—to be deeply loved by God and to be transformed by that love. God knows my sins and your sins; He knows what gives us great joy; He knows our deepest desires. He sees us through-and-through, and loves us all the same.
So today, I challenge you: crack open the door of your mind, heart, intellect, and will just a little bit. Let God’s light and love inside. It is there for each and every one of us.
Oh, and remember: the next time you think Christianity is just a matter of “do’s” and “don’ts”…think again.
Let us pray,
Lord, enter into our hearts this day. Bless all our endeavors, and give us the grace and strength to be the young men and women you have called us to be.
St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts, forever.
Daniel McQuillan–Religion Teacher