September 8, 2017
As you may know, a week ago the faculties of all four Lasallian schools in the New Orleans area (CBS, St. Paul’s School, Archbishop Rummel, and De La Salle High School) participated in a convocation. Our keynote speaker was former U.S. District Attorney and De La Salle graduate Kenneth Polite. He was both captivating and motivating. He told a number of personal stories about growing up in New Orleans, his time at De La Salle, and his experiences as an attorney and federal prosecutor. One phrase he repeated often that rang true to me and that connects very strongly with our Lasallian and Dominican heritage is the phrase Love in Action. Both St. La Salle and St. Dominic were particularly attracted to the idea that a conversion of heart took place with the people in the streets in a very practical and earthly manner and not via some ethereal philosophy or theory. St. Dominic founded his order so that he could bring the Church and the Gospel message of Truth to the people of Spain during the 12th and 13th centuries. St. La Salle’s cause was rooted in education in France during the 17th and 18th centuries. Though different places and time periods and even different vehicles by which to deliver the message, the message itself nonetheless is the same—salvation requires reaching people where they are in their specific circumstances and it is a message to be delivered by all.
We are each called uniquely to Love in Action. Occasionally, we get sidetracked by the world around us-materialism, competition, arrogance, jealousy, and other unhealthy focuses that distract us from God’s call to Love in Action. We forget that Jesus’ message of salvation and Love in Action is not a message of exclusion but inclusion where all are called and all are welcomed. There is no competition to get into heaven. Instead life is a process of growth during which we are not judged by our accomplishments in and of themselves but by our progress and conversion.
This is very important in the school setting, both in the classroom and on the field. All too often, particularly in our ultra-competitive society, the focus becomes on the end product with little to no regard to the process by which we arrived at that product. We are very good at establishing goals but not very skilled at establishing the path to take to achieve those goals. We become hyper-focused on the trophy, the certificate, the report card, the championship and lose sight of everything that occurs along the journey. We look upon failure as a moment of weakness as opposed to an opportunity for growth. This is not to say that goals do not matter, for there is no greater accomplishment and reward than eternal life in heaven. But it is to say that Jesus provides us with examples as to how we can reach that goal, and it is through our daily interactions with one another, our lived faith, our Love in Action that we achieve that goal.
In what ways can we be Love in Action for our children, our spouses, our students, and all members of our community? May we witness God’s call this weekend as we gather as a community for the annual Fishing Rodeo. Have fun and be safe!