Monday, September 29, 2014

GO: Serve

Reading 2PHIL 2:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,
united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests,
but also for those of others.

Have in you the same attitude
that is also in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

"Have in you the same attitude that is in Christ Jesus." Christ emptied Himself. He humbled Himself. He took the form of a slave. He became obedient even to death on a cross.

Have in you the same attitude that is in Christ Jesus. 

As ministers of His message, we have been deemed worthy of passing on the faith to the students entrusted to our care. We would do well to have the same attitude that is in Christ Jesus. We would do well to empty ourselves. We would do well to humble ourselves. We would do well to be servants. We would do well to be obedient to God's call. 

We would do well, considering our ministry, to be like Christ.

We would do well to put others, especially our students, their parents and our colleagues before ourselves. We would do well to humbly regard others as more important than ourselves. We would do well to look out not for our own interests but also for those of others. 

When we do this, when we give ourselves so completely, we participate in the Law of the Gift. In a sense, Jesus didn't fully "become" the Messiah, our Savior, until He completely gave of Himself in death on the cross. In this way, Jesus fully became who He was created to be upon giving Himself away completely, totally, wholly, lovingly, unconditionally. The Law of the Gift argues that we more fully become ourselves in direct proportion to how much we give of ourselves to others. 

As Catholic educators, we already give so much. So much time. So much effort. So much of our own resources and money. We feel drained. We feel emptied. We feel that we cannot possibly give anything else. 

In some cases and in many ways, I believe this is true. Undoubtedly there there are Catholic teachers who give of themselves as Jesus does: completely, totally, wholly, lovingly, unconditionally. They approach each day as an opportunity to serve and fully recognize the eternal importance of their vocation. 

Admittedly, I'm not one of them. Too often, I hope for the pat on the back. The acknowledgement of my sacrifice. The 'at a boy!' after a job well done. I roll out of bed most mornings unrested, late, and with too much to still accomplish before the start of the day. Frequently, my mind is bent on what have to do and how hope for little or no interruption so that can get it done. 

I still have a lot to learn about myself; I still have so much of myself that I need to give away - completely, totally, wholly, lovingly, unconditionally- to others and in service of the Lord. 

Have in me the same attitude that is in Christ Jesus? Not yet. 

Have in me the desire to find out just who I am and what I'm made of? You bet. 

My heart is yours, Jesus. Take it all - completely, totally, wholly, unconditionally, lovingly - so that I may come to know You and myself.

GO: Serve.