Lasallian Spirituality & Laity St. John Baptist de La Salle was born in Reims, France on April 30th, 1651. “At 16, St. John Baptist de La Salle was named Canon of the Reims Cathedral, a position of great honor and financial benefit, and one that placed him on a course for high ecclesiastical power” (Christian Brothers Conference). After the death of his parents he completed his theological studies and was ordained a priest on April 9th, 1678. St.
John Baptist de La Salle grew up in a wealthy family but for the majority of people this was not the case as “most of the people were extremely poor: peasants in the country, and slum dwellers in the towns.
Only, a few could send their children to school; most children had little hope for the future” (IBCS). St. John Baptist de La Salle “found himself immersed in the world of the poor and their desperate need for education” (Christian Brothers Conference). He traveled establishing schools for the benefit of the poor children; he ended up referring to his school instructors as “Brothers.
Two years after his ordination, St. John Baptist de La Salle established the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools which is a “society of male religious…having for its object the personal sanctification of its members and the Christian education of youth, especially of the children of artisans and the poor” (Knight). St. John Baptist de La Salle died on April 7th, 1719. The spirituality of St. John Baptist de La Salle was built on four pillars: faith, compassion, prayer, and action. The first pillar, faith, is an aim for union with God.
This pillar allows one to see, evaluate and act like Christ. “Your faith should be for you a light which guides you in all things, and a shining light for those whom you instruct, to lead them on the path to heaven” (Meditations No. 178. 1 qtd. in Rummery). Faith involves a “trusting providence in discerning God’s will [and allows us to be] centered in and nourished by the life of faith” (Van Grieken, FSC). For St. John Baptist de La Salle, faith is the recognition, and awe of God in everyone and thing, especially those in need. It is faith that drives our lives. The second pillar, prayer, illuminates faith.
As previously stated, faith involves discernment. Prayer or the constant communication with God helps one understand what He is asking of them. St. John Baptist de La Salle felt htat prayer was so important that he wrote an entire book, Meditations, on how and when to pray. Meditations features prayers for different liturgical times throughout the year, such as Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, as well as different prayers for other Saints’ feast days. Upon forming his schools, St. John Baptist de La Salle instructed his teachers to end prayer with a call and response.
The call was and has endured through this very day: “Live Jesus in Our Hearts” and the response remains: “Forever” (Van Grieken, FSC). The third pillar, compassion, is rooted in agape and community. Agape or love or charity is a HUGE part of Lasallian spirituality. In a sense Mother Theresa best emulated this pillar: “Look into the eyes of the poor and you will see Jesus. ” “To express compassion, the Lasallian must first have a concern for the poor and for social justice” (Van Grieken, FSC). The fourth pillar, action, is St. John Baptist de La Salle’s urging to be an apostle.
The way to achieve this is by understanding that faith, prayer, and compassion are interrelated. Faith in the Father, understanding His will, and acknowledging that we are a Christocentric church allows us to realize how God wants to use us in the world. Prayer allows us to stay in constant communication with Him and allows us to refer to Him in time of struggle or challenge. Compassion or love comes from how Christ lived as a brother to all. Jesus set an example for us of how to live our lives. He commissioned us to “go and make disciples of all nations. ” St. John Baptist de La Salle set for us models through his book: Meditations.
We are called by God to our work: “You have been chosen by God to make Jesus Christ known and to proclaim him” (Meditations No. 87. 2 qtd. in Rummery). We are co-workers with God: “Let this be your whole effort in the instructions you give them, looking upon yourself as the ministers of God and the dispensers of his mysteries” (Meditations No. 193. 1 qtd. in Rummery). We work for the poor: “Every day you have poor to instruct. Love them tenderly…these poor are also the ones whom God has entrusted to you and to whom you are obliged to proclaim the truths of the holy Gospel” (Meditations No. 66. 2 qtd. in Rummery). We work through the movement of the Holy Spirit: “You need the fullness of the Spirit of God in our state, for you should live and be guided only according to the spirit and the light of faith” (Meditations No. 43. 2 qtd. in Rummery). Because we are called by God to our work, we know that we are co-workers with God acting in persona Christi through the movement of the Holy Spirit. Our Lasallian heritage means that we work for the poor. As a young Lasallian and laity in the Church, I have been able to experience all four of these pillars.
At Calvert Hall or CHC (the first Lasallian school in the United States), I found that I was definitely nurtured and driven by the four pillars. For the first pillar, at the beginning every class, we’d start with prayer and end with “Live Jesus in Our Hearts, Forever. ” We learned in our theology classes about the Trinity, Sacred Scripture, and my senior year I took a class called “Lasallian Life: Faith and Prayer. ” To nurture the second pillar, in Advent and Lent, CHC held prayer groups. We were given individual reflection books and we’d gather and share our experiences with God and Christ through prayer.
To enliven the pillar of compassion, we’d hold canned food drives; we had service events both on and off campus. We even partner with an underprivileged school in Baltimore City. To best live out the fourth pillar, I have found that the foundation (first three pillars) that I was given at CHC has help alter my lifestyle. Today to put into action ‘action,’ I volunteer at Bean & Bread, help with my parish’s charity events, and this summer I am travelling to Mexico City to teach people, who are legally immigrating to America, English.
This summer service is, just the first of many cultivations of my Lasallian heritage. Going to a place where they have less than I and providing them with a valuable education is exactly what St. John Baptist de La Salle wanted his legacy to accomplish. With the pillars of faith, prayer, compassion and action, my life as a Lasallian adult will always be my way of life. Works Cited Christian Brothers Conference. The LaSallian Mission. Christian Brothers Conference, 2008. Print. EWTN. “St. John Baptist De La Salle. ” Eternal Word Television Network. John J.
Crawley & Co. , Inc. , 1999. Web. The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian School. (IBCS). “Lasallian Heritage. ” De LaSalle. The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, 21 Feb. 2011. Web. Knight, Kevin. “CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Christian Brothers. ” NEW ADVENT. NEW ADVENT, 2009. Web. Rummery, Br. Gerard. “LASALLIAN SPIRITUALITY. ” De LaSalle. The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, 2008. Web. Van Grieken, FSC, Br. George. “Lasallian Spirituality. ” LaSalle Network. Christian Brothers Publications, Jan. 2008. Web.
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Lasallian Spirituality & Laity. (2016, Oct 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/lasallian-spirituality-laity/