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.
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!