April 7th, 2019
I share with you a prayer-reflection that can be used on this special day for the Lasallians:
300th Anniversary of the death of John Baptist De La Salle, in Saint-Yon, Rouen.
At the Institute: Today, solemn Mass in Rouen, France.
May this anniversary be an opportunity to increase the viability and vitality of the Lasallian mission of human and Christian education, so that “we may continue to live our legacy for another 300 years”.
The motto: One heart, one commitment, one life.
The focus: “To deepen our motivations as Lasallians and intensify our service to the poor and vulnerable”.
The goal: To manifest our global unity and to “strengthen ourselves to work for the betterment of humankind”.
Video “#300LaSalle | Subtitlesversion | One Heart. One Commitment. OneLife” (3:05): https://youtu.be/kECibw7vYEs
Saint John Baptist de La Salle (1651 -1719) established an original group of religious laity dedicated exclusively to education: the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Today, this educational movement continues to inspire all educators in La Salle schools in 79 countries.
First steps on the path of life.
Born in Reims, France, in an influential family on April 30, 1651, John Baptist de La Salle decided from an early age to become a priest. His parents died when he was 20 years old and De La Salle became responsible for the family inheritance and took care of his six younger brothers and sisters while completing his studies.
He was ordained in 1678 and two years later received his doctorate in theology.While serving as a canon at the Cathedral of Reims, a chance encounter with a lay man who established schools for poor children put him on a new path of life. Little by little, De La Salle became involved in the project and soon assumed the leadership of a group of crude and illiterate teachers who had little preparation for their craft.
God puts you on a new path
His first step on this new path was to invite teachers to his home for a retreat and a basic training for teachers. Later he moved with the teachers to a new house, resigned his position in the Church, gave away his wealth and formed the community that became known as the Brothers of the Christian Schools (also known as De La Salle Brothers or Lasallians). The authorities of the Church resisted this new form of secular religious life, and the educational authorities were offended by the innovative methods of the Brothers and their insistence on educating people regardless of their ability to pay.
God,he said, « who governs all things with wisdom and gentleness, and who does not tend to force the inclination of men, wanting to commit me to take care of the schools entirely, did it in a totally imperceptible way and in a very long time ; so that one commitment took me to the next, without me having foreseen it in the beginning (Memorial on the origins 6) « .
Building a foundation
In 40 years, De La Salle and his Brothers managed to create a network of schools throughout France that offered the teaching of reading in French (instead of Latin), students grouped according to their ability, the integration of religious instruction with the secular subjects and professors prepared with a sense of vocation and mission. De La Salle also pioneered training programs for lay teachers, Sunday classes for young workers and one of the first institutions in France for young offenders.
The mission continues
De La Salle died near Rouen on Good Friday, April 7,1719, with 23 active communities and 125 Brothers continuing the mission he established. He was canonized as a saint in 1900 and was appointed Patron of all those who educate the children and youth in 1950. His charism, educational spirituality and extensive writings inspired Catholic educators in his time and continue to inspire educators of many traditions today.
And now you are also part of this Great Story.
Video “ENG #300LaSalle The Institute as a transforming presence in the world educations” (4:23): https://youtu.be/o5DCYMi84A8
Song and text to put ourselves in the presence of God: Acordémonos – Jésed (3:20) https://youtu.be/jrZwfoZMfsw
« How can I not feel moved to think of You, oh my God, always having you in me, and not being able to do anything but with you? All my activities should compel me to lift my spirit towards You. The feelings of my heart should be an invitation to be yours.
Put in my intelligence the depth of this text and in my heart the feelings it entails, so that the first always deals with thinking about You and the second is not inclined to anything other than loving you above all « (Method of Prayer, SJBS)
Brief moment of silence.
Video “Saint John Baptist de la Salle” (2:35): https://youtu.be/oQ757_jatoc
Secretly seduced by your love, Lord,
we have left father, mother, brothers and sisters …
We have planted our tents for the future
in the sands of the desert, in the big cities,
in the forests and the mountains, in the villages and towns.
Heralds of your Word,
we dedicate to it with love and comittment to children and young people,
to parents and fellow teachers,
to our own families, relatives and friends.
Missionaries from the five continents,
We make Christian education our sign of identity.
We collaborate with you in the growth of your Kingdom.
In Africa and Europe, in America, Asia and Oceania
We are there to serve through education
and through our testimony, to those who need it,
as John Baptist and his heroic community did in the 17th century.
Facing a world built on the desire to possess
and in the strive for prestige,
we try to live your Word fully and follow your steps.
We share our assets.
We accept the simplicity of our daily work.
We give with hands full, with care and dedication,
our time and our intentions.
We celebrate in our prayer and in our life
your always saving and comforting presence.
In this society that attends only to what is useful, to success and effectiveness,
we have agreed to live the apparent uselessness
of the joyful gift ourselves offered through service.
Called and sent by You, we share your fate and accept being considered crazy,
judged as a wasters of life
who could have achieved so much in life but didn’t.
Your example and your Word are our strength and guidance.
Children, young people, the poor have evangelized us.
Day by day they make us feel the freshness and simplicity of your Gospel.
And we continue listening to your demanding and affectionate call:
« Go, sell what you have, give it to the poor … »
« You did not choose me, I chose you… »
« Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men … »
You, Lord, are our inheritance forever.
Fragment of the film The Lord De La Salle (scene of the day of his death):
-Versión en español: 1:43:35-1:49:27 https://youtu.be/qcUPeB3m7NQ
Long moment of personal prayer
Jésed – Nuevas Hojas de la Vid https://drive.google.com/open?id=1_Ro3HWzxT-mFo80L7yZCnTXM6ftGkC-2
De Compromiso en Compromiso Signum https://drive.google.com/open?id=1PYv7rAHcHOWWe-5phutQur4Eh59itStP
Cantata a San Juan Bautista de la Salle https://drive.google.com/open?id=18s3quWhC8n0Qc1vjUe-JLmeSRJbu19Yf
Oh God, to educate poor children in Christian life and to strengthen the youth in the way of truth, you chose Saint John Baptist de La Salle, and around him, a new religious Congregation arose in your Church, grant us, through his intercession and example, to seek your glory in the salvation of souls, so that we may participate in your reward in Heaven. We ask you to send teachers to your Church who give themselves generously to the human and Christian formation of youth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
SJBS… Pray for us –
Live Jesus in our hearths… FOR EVER!
On April 3, 1719, 300 years ago, Saint John Baptist de La Salle wrote his will, 4 days before his death.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I,the undersigned, John Baptist de La Salle, priest, being sick in a room near the chapel of the house of Saint-Yon, suburb of Saint-Sévere, in the city of Rouen, want to make a will that liquidates all matters pending.
I entrust to God, first of all my soul, and then all the Brothers of the Society of the Christian Schools, with whom I have united myself, and I recommend you,above all, that you always have absolute submission to the Church, especially in these calamitous times, and that, in testimony of this submission, you should not be separated in the least from the Roman Church, always remembering that I sent two Brothers to Rome in order to ask God for the grace that their Society should always be entirely submissive to His Church.
I also recommend that you profess a lot of devotion to Our Lord, that you love Holy Communion and the exercise of mental prayer, and that you have special devotion to the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph, patron and protector of your Society; that you exercise your ministry zealously and very selflessly; and that you have among yourselves an intimate and blind obedience to your superiors, which is the foundation and support of all perfection in a community.
Meditation 193, for the Time of Retreat
« That God in his Providence has established the Christian Schools. »
God is so good that having created us, he wills that all of us come to the knowledge of the truth. This truth is God and what God has desired to reveal to us through Jesus Christ, through the holy Apostles, and through his Church.This is why God wills all people to be instructed, so that their minds may been lightened by the light of faith.
We cannot be instructed in the mysteries of our holy religion unless we have the good fortune to hear about them, and we cannot have this advantage unless someone preaches the word of God. For how can people believe in someone, the Apostle says, about whom they have not heard anyone speak, and how can they hear him spoken about if no one proclaims him to them?
This is what God does by diffusing the fragrance of his teaching throughout the whole world by human ministers. Just as he commanded light to shine out of darkness, so he kindles a light in the hearts of those destined to announce his word to children, so that they may be able to enlighten those children by unveiling for them the glory of God.
Because God in his mercy has given you such a ministry, do not falsify his word, but gain glory before him by unveiling his truth to those whom you are charged to instruct. Let this be your whole effort in the instructions you give them,looking upon yourselves as the ministers of God and the dispensers of his mysteries.
One of the main duties of fathers and mothers is to bring up their children in a Christian manner and to teach them their religion. But most parents are not sufficiently enlightened in these matters. Some are taken up with their daily concerns and the care of their family; others, under the constant anxiety of earning the necessities of life for themselves and their children, cannot take the time to teach their children their duties as Christians.
It is characteristic of the providence of God and of his vigilance over human conduct to substitute for fathers and mothers people who have enough knowledge and zeal to bring children to the knowledge of God and of his mysteries. According to the grace of Jesus Christ that God has given to them, they are like good architects, who give all possible care and attention to lay the foundation of religion and Christian piety in the hearts of these children, a great number of whom would otherwise be abandoned.
You,then, whom God has called to this ministry, work according to the grace that has been given to you to instruct by teaching and to exhort by encouraging those who are entrusted to your care, guiding them with attention and vigilance in order to fulfill toward them the principal duty of fathers and mothers toward their children.
God wills not only that all come to the knowledge of truth but also that all besaved. He cannot truly desire this without providing the means for it and,therefore, without giving children the teachers who will assist them in the fulfillment of his plan. This, says Saint Paul, is the field that God cultivates, the building that he is raising, and you are the ones whom he has chosen to help in this work by announcing to these children the Gospel of his Son and the truths that are contained in it.
This is why you must honor your ministry and keep trying to save some of these children. Because God, according to the expression of the same Apostle, has made you his ministers in order to reconcile them to him and has entrusted to you for this purpose the word of reconciliation for them, exhort them as if God were exhorting them through you, for you have been destined to cultivate these young plants by announcing to them the truths of the Gospel and to procure for them the means of salvation appropriate to their development.
Do not teach them these truths with scholarly words, lest the cross of Christ,source of our sanctification, become void of meaning and all you say to them would produce no results in their minds or hearts. Because these children are simple and for the most part poorly brought up, those who help them save themselves must do this in so simple a manner that every word will be clear andeasy for them to understand. Be faithful to this practice, then, so that youcan contribute, as far as you are able and as God requires of you, to the salvation of those whom he has entrusted to you.