December 19, 2016
At our faculty retreat in October, we had two guest speakers talk to us about each of the charisms—Dominican and Lasallian—that fuel our Christian Brothers School community. Each, with neither one knowing about the other, spoke a common message. They spoke, via the lenses of their respective charisms, about an active spirituality—a spirituality that calls us out into the world, into the fray, into the messiness of life.
In the Dominican charism, St. Thomas Aquinas refers to this as an “active contemplation,” i.e., praying to God with the heart and thinking about God with the mind and then, inspired by these prayers and thoughts, bounding out into the world to share the conversation with God with others in order to spread the message of the Gospel both in word and in deed.
The Christian Brothers, like the Dominicans, are founded in the spirit “of the streets.” In the case of the Brothers, they are founded to work among the children of the streets of 17th century France in the field of education. De La Salle himself determined from the very beginning that his Brothers were not to be priests, and thus become occupied by priestly duties, but instead should remain laymen dedicated solely to the outreach of their mission. In the case of the Dominicans, they are founded to work among the people of the streets of 13th century Spain to bring the Truth of the Gospels to all.
Although each founder, and thus each charism, is distinct, their founding spirits are similar—spirits rooted in the life of Jesus Christ himself, who went out into the world seeking and ministering to the lost sheep.
Both St. John Baptist de La Salle and St. Dominic are wonderful examples of living an active spirituality. However, Jesus through his Gospel message of love and hope, through his work with those on the margins, and through his dying on the cross and resurrection is the ultimate example of living an active spirituality. My prayer this Christmas season is that each of us may recognize in ourselves and one another the call to live a life of active spirituality.
May God bless you and your family this Christmas season!