The 16th Meditation
The reward that a Brother of the Christian Schools ought to expect in heaven if he is faithful in his work
208.1 First Point
It may not be the case that you are familiar with Dante’s inferno, but you may be aware of his mechanism for hell. He has circles of hell which each one is worse than the one before. But there are also circles in heaven, where the ability to receive the Beatific vision becomes greater and greater depending upon the work of the minister.
De La Salle uses this image to help the brothers to see the eternal benefits of their ministry. What is interesting about heaven is that first and foremost it is about a relationship with God. Our joy is increased to the degree we have created a relationship of God that has great depth. And if our joy is so much influenced by our relationship with God, how much more will we have joy if we are able to bring others into this powerful relationship.
“Consider, then, that your reward in heaven will be all the greater inasmuch as you will have accomplished more good in the souls of the children entrusted to your care.” When one is in a powerful relationship with God, it can only become more powerful and joyful when we see others sharing in this joy as well.
203.2 The Second Point
What a consolation for those who have procured the salvation of souls: to see in heaven a great number whom they have helped to obtain the advantage of enjoying so great a happiness!
Wow. Isn’t this a cause for great joy? As we enjoy the loving relationship with Jesus, isn’t it all the more the case that we will burst with even more joy when we see those we taught standing around the throne of God?
While De La Salle does not emphasize it strongly, one reason for this reward is hope. Hope is what the poor children in De La Salle’s time did not have. Hope seemed distant, probably even impossible. By their ministry, the brothers were able to provide the hope of faith through the opportunity they provided for them.
The Christian life, the relationship with Jesus is all about sharing. The joy of a relationship we receive with Jesus, the peace we get when we become more and more aware of his presence, especially in our hearts, it is simply too good to keep to ourselves. And so we share. Abundantly.
203.3 The Third Point
It is always a good idea to rest in the most important points when one is on retreat. For De La Salle, this means making more concrete just how much seeing the students the brothers taught in heaven. For what will become clear is the very way the brother cooperated with the grace present in the life of the student so they could accept this great salvation.
Around the heavenly throne there will be such joy when the very things that were difficult, those things that you thought no one noticed, will be made public! All will see the great things God did through you! There will be great joy as children who could not have known God came to know Jesus through you!
The bottom line is this. There is nothing greater, nothing more joyful, nothing more powerful than seeing grace take effect in the lives of others, and in your own life. Jesus came that all might have life and have it in abundance. In the Lasallian vocation, as we are always in God’s holy presence, this is life in abundance.
Questions to Ponder
What do you think heaven will be like?
In what ways have you changed actions in your life to accept the gift of salvation?
Since providing hope is so important, in what ways do you provide hope for your students?