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Homilies - Bishop Brendan Leahy

Teachers and Chaplains - 12 January 2016 -  Woodlands Hotel, Adare

Bringing God into the classroom – a high calling and a challenge! So, firstly a word of thanks for your commitment, professionalism and zeal.

Apart from strategies, we know that first and foremost it is we ourselves who communicate God. Two thoughts to encourage us:

Be attentive to the work of the Holy Spirit within you.

Saint Ignatius taught that “it is typical of the evil spirit to instil remorse, sadness and difficulties, and to cause needless worry so as to prevent us from going forward; instead, it is typical of the good spirit to instil courage and energy, consolations and tears, inspirations and serenity, and to lessen and remove every difficulty so as to make us advance on the path of goodness.”[ Spiritual Exercises, 315]

It’s important to follow the Holy Spirit, trust in the One who brings ahead the Christian revolution in the world – God himself! Only God can really bring God into the classroom!

Secondly, believe that we have an important part to play but ultimately we are not in control, God is. Let’s listen to the magnificent prayer, commonly attributed to Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero, but pronounced for the first time by Cardinal John Dearden and quoted recently by Pope Francis:

Every now and then it helps us to take a step back
and to see things from a distance.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is also beyond our visions.
In our lives, we manage to achieve only a small part
of the marvellous plan that is God’s work.
Nothing that we do is complete,
which is to say that the Kingdom is greater than ourselves.
No statement says everything that can be said.
No prayer completely expresses the faith.
No Creed brings perfection.
No pastoral visit solves every problem.
No programme fully accomplishes the mission of the Church.
No goal or purpose ever reaches completion.
This is what it is about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that others will watch over them.
We lay the foundations of something that will develop.
We add the yeast which will multiply our possibilities.
We cannot do everything,
yet it is liberating to begin.
This gives us the strength to do something and to do it well.
It may remain incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way.
It is an opportunity for the grace of God to enter
and to do the rest.
It may be that we will never see its completion,
but that is the difference between the master and the labourer.
We are labourers, not master builders,
servants, not the Messiah.
We are prophets of a future that does not belong to us.