A Christmas Offering

The Cummins Institute extends warm winter wishes to educators everywhere and takes this opportunity to share with our readers a meditation for “The Feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ Our Lord,” written by Saint John Baptist De La Salle. It captures a spirit that continues to inspire Lasallian educators into our fourth century of providing a human and Christian education for all, especially for the marginalized members of society. The spirit that Saint De La Salle speaks of is a spirit of poverty. It is not a poverty that prevents educators from seeking a just wage or from providing adequately for their families and loved ones. Rather, it is a poverty of disposition that makes them attractive to all who come into contact with them. Like a poor person and like Jesus at his birth, Lasallian educators are approachable, both by shepherds and kings. What our Founder wrote originally for his Brothers continues to ring true today for all of us, now and into the future.

Saint De La Salle on the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ Our Lord

(From the Third Point of the meditation for Christmas Day)

The shepherds, says the Gospel of this day, made haste to go over to Bethlehem, where they found Mary and Joseph and the Infant lying in a manger. On seeing him, they recognized what had been told them and then went back, glorifying the Lord for all that they had seen and heard [Lk. 2:16-20].

Nothing draws souls to God more strongly than the poor and humble condition of those who wish to lead them to him. Why did the shepherds praise and bless God? Because they had seen a poor Infant lying in a manger and because on seeing him, they had recognized, thanks to an interior light with which God enlightened them, that this Infant was truly their Savior and that it was to him they must have recourse to escape the misery of their sins.

De Bray Adoration 2
Jan De Bray, The Adoration of the Shepherds, 1665, Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands

Be convinced that as long as you remain bound in your heart to poverty and to everything that can humble you, you will do good for souls. The angels of God will make you known and will inspire fathers and mothers to send you their children to be instructed. By your instructions, you will touch the hearts of these poor children, and most of them will become true Christians. But if you do not resemble the newborn Jesus by these two outstanding qualities, you will be little known and little employed, nor will you be loved or appreciated by the poor. You will never have for them the role of savior that is proper for you in your work, because you will draw them to God only insofar as you resemble them and Jesus at his birth.

(translated by Brothers Richard Arnandez and Augustine Loes).

photo credit: Brother Charles

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