Table of Contents
The obligation of those who instruct youth to have much zeal to fulfill well so holy a work
194.1 First Point
A Lasallian, as a successful teacher, must be filled with a lot of zeal. Such is the notion for Saint John Baptist de la Salle. And it is also important to note that such zeal has as its source, the Lord Jesus Himself. In return for this gift, the Lasallian then offers this gift to those to whom he ministers.
And so this is the important exchange. Jesus pours out for us the zeal needed to be a successful teacher, while we then use the gift as a minister of Jesus and the Church. What we do is not done for ourselves, but for the children served by the brothers, for Jesus and for the Church.
It seems also important to note that while it may be the belief that lay ministry began with the Second Vatican Council, but the truth is much clearer. God has always been calling all the baptized to act as ministers in his name. What De La Salle tries to recapture is the high dignity of this call.
194.2 The Second Point
The zeal that Lasallians are called to have comes when there is a focus on the love and the glory of God as the focus in the ministry of teaching. To me a minister, which all Lasallians are means to see in the lives of all other human beings, but especially in the children we teach, the Lord Jesus Himself who is who we serve when we serve others.
This zeal is also motivated by a love for the Church. Consider the two-fold meaning of the Body of Christ. There is, of course, the Eucharist, the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus. Yet Saint Paul tells us that we too, as baptized believers, that we too are the Body of Christ.
So there is a profound connection between the love of Jesus for us and us for him, the Church, the Body of Christ, and those we teach and minister to so that we can help them to see the wonder and glory of God.
If we consider that for De La Salle, the wayward poor, those whose families could not pay for their education, that they could be left in the sad state without the zeal of those who served Jesus, the desire to serve Jesus by serving the poor was important indeed. This is really the task for all of us today. We are called to develop a personal relationship with Jesus, and to become active in His Church.
194.3 The Third Point
De La Salle writes, “The zeal you are obliged to have in your work must be so active and so alive that you can tell the parents of the children entrusted to your care what is said in Holy Scripture: Give us their souls; keep everything else for yourselves, that is, what we have undertaken is to work for the salvation of their souls.”
And so the task is monumental. Lasallians, according to De La Salle, are to work for the salvation of the children they teach. On so many levels, this meditation sets a priority for De La Salle. All that we do is about the salvation of the souls of the students. Our eyes should never be taken off of looking at this goal as the reason for all we do.
This is not some far off goal that we need to wait decades to achieve. Rather, it is nothing but imitating the call of Jesus who wanted those to whom he preached to have life, and life in abundance. Full Life. Today. Here. Now.
And all of this does not happen without the focus of the brother on his own salvation. That is to say, Lasallians participate in and share this charism to the degree they witness to the salvation they have earned.
Questions to Ponder
What aspects of your ministry as a Lasallian educator fill you with zeal?
What are the needs of those “entrusted to your care” that call for a Lasallian response in faith?
How is it you witness to this gift of salvation to the persons whose life is entwined with yours?