January 11, 2018
In his meditations on the Feast of the Epiphany, St. La Salle calls his teachers to have the focused and singular goal that St. Joseph himself had in obeying God’s order to bring the child Jesus to Egypt to escape from Herod. Despite Joseph’s comfort in Judea, he nevertheless followed God’s command to venture forth into the unknown. St. Lasalle says that we too should occupy the same mindset; we should not become distracted by the din that surrounds us each day in the many forms it takes but instead act “so that you may preserve the life of Jesus Christ in the hearts of those entrusted to your care….”
As parents in the modern age, we are constantly bombarded by the “noise” of the outside world. I myself as a parent require a constant energy, it seems, thwarting that noise—electronics, peer pressure, television, and the internet, to name a few. God provides us (and St. La Salle reinforces for us) St. Joseph as a wonderful example of clarity of faith.
St. Lasalle goes on to say that oftentimes the teachers themselves are the distraction. He cautions the teachers to recede into the background and allow Jesus to fully manifest himself into the hearts and lives of the students. The same can be said for us as parents. Let us be sure that we promote the Gospel Truth of Jesus as primary in the lives of our children both by our words and our actions. Let us be sure that we ourselves are not a distraction to our children’s full participation in the Kingdom of God. This is no small task, to be sure. I firmly believe, however, that the collective spiritual strength of the community is a strength that can fuel each of us individually in our journey as parents in a complicated world.
In St. La Salle’s final point of his meditation he recalls the speed with which Joseph returned to Judea. God’s summons was all he needed in performing what God wanted of him with the greatest fidelity. There was no hesitation on the part of Joseph. De La Salle then give us more concrete advice: “Be prompt to leave everything as soon as the bell rings to call you to some other exercise; let nothing keep you back.”
Although he meant the literal bell of the school day as he was speaking to his teachers, it seems to me the idea of a metaphorical “bell” also applies. As we embark on a new year likely filled with promises we’ve made to others and ourselves, with new resolutions, and perhaps unfinished business, let us follow the example of St. Joseph and his purity of faith. Let us always be sure to move when the bell rings! Let nothing keep us back!
God bless you and your family this new year!