Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Called, Courageous, Committed

Over the course of the past few years, an almost daily prayer of mine for my children has been that they will have the wisdom to know the call that God has for their life, the courage to say yes to this, and the strength to remain committed to this holy work. 

Specifically, I pray that they have wisdom, courage, and strength. 

Put another way, I want them to know that they are called, I hope that they can be courageous, and it is my prayer that they can remain committed to what God has called them to do. 

I think that this cadence is important for all of us: called, courageous, committed. 

Wisdom, courage, strength. 

This past year has taxed all of us in varied ways and to various degrees. Since this is a blog specific to Catholic education, I will single out Catholic school teachers for their heroics since March of 2020. 

We have all heard this story:

  • Pivoting to online instruction overnight. 
  • Prioritizing in-person instruction and jumping through the necessary hoops - health screenings, testing, mask wearing, hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes - to incarnationally instruct. 
  • Embracing a hybrid approach to meet the needs of families by managing students in classrooms and on-line. At. The. Same. Time. 
  • Classroom and school quarantines and re-entries into the building. 
  • Elbow bumps, air handshakes, eye smiles, and other attempts at showing the love, care and compassion for students that had epitomized your ministry up until this point. 
As you limp, stagger, crawl, and drag yourselves across the finish line of this school year, may the summer of 2021 bring you much needed rest, relaxation, rejuvenation, and re-creation. 

Allow your survival over the past 15 months to turn into revival.


Remember your original call to this ministry. It wasn't for the money, accolades, or ease. It most likely had something to do with making a difference in the lives of children. You've done that in spades, especially since the pandemic began. Take time over the summer to rediscover and re-anchor yourself in your WHY. Trust that in this apostolate of Catholic education that you are carrying out Christ's call to the apostles

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)

May you have the wisdom to remember your call.  

Ask the Holy Spirit for another measure of courage. Your tank is undoubtedly beyond empty.Well past fumes, you have run on the atomic level of your will and the fundamental level of God's grace. Pray for restoration. Sadly, as our world returns to "normal" many of our youth are facing unprecedented fears, our nation is still suffering from the sin and ramifications of racism and political polarization, and the effects of the pandemic on church attendance and faith remains to be seen. Whereas it seems that instruction in the fall will, for the most part, go back to pre-pandemic norms, our ministry will face other challenges. 

May we have the courage to frame these and all challenges as opportunities to live out our call in a world so desperately in need of "the reason for your hope" (1 Peter 3:15). 

Finally, please stay committed to this work. You are appreciated and loved. Your ministry helps to establish the kingdom of God here on earth while advancing it in heaven. As you remember your call, and muster up new stores of courage, may you look back at these 15 months with a convicted sense that you are strong. Take stock of all that you accomplished and lay each victory - no matter how small - as another brick in your foundation of teaching. Whereas you might feel weaker and more tired and more burnt out than ever before, recognize that you did more than just endure. You prevailed. 

It wasn't perfect. 

No school year ever is. 

It wasn't what you had planned. 

Again, though, does anything ever go as planned in education?

This summer, as you recover from your efforts on the battlefield of ministry, take stock of just how strong you are, and believe that you will move into next year even stronger than you were before any of this happened. 

May you have the strength to remain committed to this holy work God has entrusted to you. 

You are called, courageous, and committed. 

God has gifted you with wisdom, courage, and strength.  

You are changing the world. May you continue to do so. 

For now, though, enjoy your summer! Thank you and congratulations, Catholic educators!  

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Novena - Day 9

Opening Prayer:

+Lord, open our lips. And we shall praise your holy name.

We celebrate the memorial of your Death and Resurrection, Lord, and we offer you the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation. We give thanks that you have held us worthy to stand in your presence and minister to you. 

When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again. We do this at each Mass, in memory of You. 

Reading:

Luke 22:14-20

When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles.

He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover* with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you [that] from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ. 

Reflection:

Jesus, you told the apostles that you eagerly desired to eat the Passover meal with them before your suffering, and we know that you eagerly desire for us to join you at the Eucharistic table as well. We thank you for inviting us to join you and others at the Supper of the Lamb. 

Closing Prayer:

Lord, we celebrate the Mass in memory of You. We remember your sacrifice on the Cross and we praise you for this new and eternal covenant as we pray:

Our Father...

Lord, bless us, keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life through the Eucharist, your new and eternal covenant. Amen.+

Song:



Thursday, April 29, 2021

Novena - Day 8

Opening Prayer: 

+Lord, open our lips. And we shall praise your holy name.

We celebrate the memorial of your Death and Resurrection, Lord, and we offer you the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation. We give thanks that you have held us worthy to stand in your presence and minister to you. 

At the Last Supper, you instructed us to take and eat the Bread of life and to drink from the Chalice of salvation. Blessed are we who are called to the supper of the Lamb. 

Reading:

Matthew 26:26-30

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.”

Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection

Lord, at the Last Supper, you instituted the Eucharist. You give us your Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the bread and the wine that we receive at Mass. We are so thankful for calling us to Your table. May we who receive the Eucharist become who we receive. May we who receive the Eucharist become more like You.  

Closing Prayer

Jesus, strengthen us to follow your instructions to receive our daily bread, the Bread of life, as we pray:

Our Father...

Lord, bless us, keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.+

Closing Song: 




Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Novena - Day 7

Opening Prayer:

+Lord, open our lips. And we shall praise your holy name.

We celebrate the memorial of your Death and Resurrection, Lord, and we offer you the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation. We give thanks that you have held us worthy to stand in your presence and minister to you. 

May your Body and Blood make us one with you. May it make us into the people that you have created us to be.  


Reading:

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”

He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”

The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour [his] servant was healed.

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ. 

Reflection:

Jesus, we, too, are unworthy to have you enter under the roofs of our mouths and into the depths of our being. Yet, despite our unworthiness, you invite us to Your heavenly banquet to eat of the Bread of Life. May our partaking of Your Precious Body and Blood redeem us, restore us and bring us to everlasting life.

Closing Prayer:

Lord, please come to us in the Eucharist and heal us as you healed the centurion's servant; only say the word and our souls shall be healed. You are the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are we who are called to the supper of the Lamb:

Our Father...

Lord, bless us, keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.+

Closing Song




Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Novena - Day 6

 Opening Prayer

+Lord, open our lips. And we shall praise your holy name.

We celebrate the memorial of your Death and Resurrection, Lord, and we offer you the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation. We give thanks that you have held us worthy to stand in your presence and minister to you. 

May this daily bread give us the strength to serve both you and others, bringing glory to your holy and precious name. 


Reading:


Before the feast of Passover,* Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced* Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.”

Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” 

Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”

Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed* has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.”

For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ. 

Reflection:

Lord, at the Last Supper, in addition to instituting the Eucharist, you also issued a commission for your disciples to serve You through service to others. With nourishment from the Eucharist, may we follow the command given to us at the end of each Mass to "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life" by washing the feet of others. 

Closing Prayer

Lord, may we have the courage to follow your model of service. In a spirit of humility, we pray:

Our Father...

Lord, bless us, keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.+

Closing Song


Monday, April 26, 2021

Novena - Day 5

 Opening Prayer:

+Lord, open our lips. And we shall praise your holy name.

We celebrate the memorial of your Death and Resurrection, Lord, and we offer you the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation. We give thanks that you have held us worthy to stand in your presence and minister to you. 

Stir our hearts so that they burn with love for you. Reveal yourself to us, like you did for the apostles, in the breaking of the bread at the Eucharistic table.

Reading:

Luke 24:13-25

Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast.

One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”

And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” 

They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”

So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection:

Lord, the disciples recognized you in the breaking of the bread. May we see your Real Presence in the Eucharist and may our hearts burn for this communion with you and with others. May we, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, run to tell others of your infinite goodness. 

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, your heart burns with love for us. We humbly pray that partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ can make our hearts burn with love for you and for others:

Our Father...

Lord, bless us, keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.+


Closing Song:

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Novena - Day 4

 Opening Prayer:

+Lord, open our lips. And we shall praise your holy name.

We celebrate the memorial of your Death and Resurrection, Lord, and we offer you the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation. We give thanks that you have held us worthy to stand in your presence and minister to you. 

Take the fruit of the earth and vine and the work of our human hands - this bread and wine - and transform them so that they may become the bread of life and our spiritual drink. 

Reading


When Jesus heard of it, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”

[Jesus] said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”

But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”

Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking* the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.

They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over*—twelve wicker baskets full.

Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ. 

Reflection: 

Jesus, please take our meager offering of bread and wine and transform them into your Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. May we who eat at the Eucharistic table become who we receive, multiplying your presence in our lives and in our world.

Closing Prayer

Jesus, with your grace, our efforts are multiplied into something beyond measure. With thankful hearts, we pray:

Our Father...

Lord, bless us, keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.+

Closing Song: