Sunday, September 4, 2016

Back to school

Image result for new school year

On Monday our Marianist high schools began their orientation programs. I find the beginning of a new school year is both traumatic and invigorating. It’s traumatic because you are pulled out of the more restful and reflective time of summer and thrown into the frenetic pace of the year. It’s invigorating because of the excitement of new classes, meeting new students and faculty, and undertaking new initiatives. I hope all of you find that spring in your step, that shot of adrenaline, as you consider all the possibilities of this new year.

Our Marianist schools – and I hope will always be – busy and ambitious places. We hope our classes are not only intellectually engaging but demanding. If we are not pushing our students, we are not doing our job.

I know the dedication of our faculty. They have dedication to both scholarship and teaching, and put long hours into both. They work hard to make their classes as inspiring as they are intellectually engaging.

Our schools should be places where we make time for prayerful moments. In the midst of our plans, projects, and work we should be a community that finds time for quiet prayer and reflection. Jesus lived a busy life—preaching, teaching, healing, traveling, responding to the requests from the crowd who pressed in on him everywhere he went. Yet in the Gospels he periodically goes away by himself to pray. The time of prayer punctuated everything he did.

The reason that these times of prayer are important is that they allow us to listen to the subtle promptings of the Spirit—not our spirit but God’s Spirit—that speaks to us and guides us. “I have said these things to you while I am still with you,” says Jesus in today’s Gospel. “But the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”

That is true of all of us. God sends the Spirit to us all, and asks us to listen.