(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 1 May 2019–Religious Brothers’ Day)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
In 2015 Pope Francis asked us to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life. Many people did just that. We had a wonderful opportunity to think a bit about the Christian life as experienced by Sisters, Brothers, and priests in religious orders. The invitation of Pope Francis for the Year of Consecrated Life hit me hard. He said: “Wake up the world.”
My response to the Pope’s invitation was this: Who me? As we celebrate today the recently created annual Religious Brothers Day, I want to return to the Pope’s invitation. If I am to wake up the world, I should, myself, be awake! I take this to be a call to conversion, a call to awake from my slumber, a call to be alive and attentive to the good news of Jesus and to invite others to wake up as well.
The Brothers want to take the “good news” of Jesus seriously. We try each day to embrace and live that “good news.” Such a goal would be impossible without the grace of God.
The Brothers’ way of life brings a faith that wants to grow to a prayer-filled community of men with a common vision for service. We are inspired by the witness of St. John Baptist de La Salle. Our work always centers on the needs of young people as they grow in mind, body, soul, and spirit.
The Brothers aim to develop individuals who are thinkers, people with heart, men and women who tend to their souls, and folks who care about others and stand with the poor. We do this work together as we celebrate Jesus who lives in our hearts.
Being nurtured and formed over the years with other Brothers in our Lasallian heritage has been accompanied by a wonderful development. We have been inspired by a grace-filled collaboration with other Lasallian educators. These men and women serve in our schools with great energy, faith, and dedication. They also have been formed in the Lasallian spirit. All Lasallian educators hope and pray every day that our students come to find God’s love as they develop their intellects, serve those in need, and make the world a better, more just, place.
We Brothers ourselves would never have created Religious Brothers’ Day. It is not in our way of living to say “Look at us.” However, this day reminds us of the Brothers’ commitment to pray deeply, teach passionately, live simply, and stand with the poor. We are reminded today that the Brothers’ way of life in community and school must always be renewed by the spirit of faith and zeal that was so important to our Founder. This sense of renewal is also important for all of us — young and old — whatever forms our life commitments take. Without commitment and renewal of commitment, we will not succeed in waking up and, we hope, helping to wake up the world!
I ask all of us this morning: Are there challenges that call us to wake up and work for a better world? Wars rage, terrorism grows, family life is in stress, religious commitments waver, the church disappoints, government is paralyzed, and the problems of race, poverty, and injustice at times seem overwhelming. The Pope in 2015 specifically called on religious men and women to wake up the world. Surely, that invitation also applies to everyone. All of us, in our own ways and according to our individual vocations, are called to wake up and do some waking of others. Only then, will our world be better as we awake and move toward God’s dream for us.
Where does or will that happen for you as La Salle students? The opportunities are endless and so are the ways to respond.
Be on the lookout each day for how you can remember and celebrate God’s holy presence. If that is your daily practice, you may just wake up, stay awake, and wake up the world.
Thank you to Mrs. Estes for inviting me to share these words of reflection as we celebrate Religious Brothers Day and thanks to all of you for listening. Have a great day, La Salle!
Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.
Brother Robert J. Wickman, FSC—District Administrator, Resident of La Salle Academy Brothers’ Community, and former teacher at La Salle Academy