Monday, January 21, 2013

Marianist Monday

Marianist spirituality deeply shapes the work of those educators formed through it. The spirit of faith, for example, helps a teacher to be truly present to students not only to teach them but also to love and respect them, created as they are in the image of God. When an educator is truly present to students, students are changed. An educator personally transformed through a faith of the heart teaches students to be not only competent and capable, but also faithful and compassionate. For Marianist educators, a solid grasp of subject matter and effective, creative pedagogical techniques are congruent with and necessarily complemented by a living awareness of the inescapably moral and spiritual dimensions of education.

Blessed Chaminade intended the educational works he founded to be not merely functional and temporary communities, but enduring communities of faith. To bring and hold these communities together, Chaminade held up the ideal of “family spirit” of religious and lay persons, faculty and students, working together to achieve lasting relationships of friendship and trust, supporting and challenging each other in developing their mutual gifts. If a school is to be a community of faith, Chaminade saw clearly that its leaders, religious and lay, must see their work not merely as a job but as a ministry of love and service.

Finally, Marianist spirituality calls for communities of faith to exist not simply for the sake of their members, but to share in the Marianist deep commitment to mission. Marianist schools, therefore, not only commit themselves to effective education and mutual support, but encourage teachers and students alike to emulate Jesus in love of and service to others. Virtue is impossible without some knowledge; but, unfortunately, even a great deal of knowledge can exist without virtue. Marianist educators aim to combine both valuable knowledge and genuine virtue.

Therefore, Marianist educators define success distinctively—rejoicing when their students are faithful to the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, exemplify joy and courage in witnessing to that gospel, form communities of faith resonant with the vibrancy of early Christianity, and use their knowledge and competence to serve and transform society. In countries where Marianist educators serve in a predominantly non-Christian context, we present the same ideal though in an appropriate manner that respects and promotes faith and truth wherever they are found, rejoicing when they are lived courageously and in a spirit of service.