2 “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” ~ Isaiah 11:2 (NRSVACE)
For those who do not know how Private Catholic Schools work as it relates to rehiring teachers the month of March is known as the ‘Month of Discernment’. A lot of crazy stuff happens in this month. For starters teachers and principals are given the opportunity to decide on whether to return to their school or not. This is done through the use of a ‘Letter of Intent’, where one marks what they intend to do. The options are quite simple really, either one wants to return, not return, or simply hasn’t made up their mind. In any case, March 31st is the deadline, (but each school can set their own deadline), and if each teacher and principal have done their work properly in this month they would have prayed to God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help guide them in the proper direction.
I chose this topic for exploration and reflection because the process can bring new in sites on your job, mission, friends, boss, career, and even on family matters. To actually take a month to reflect on what you are doing in every aspect of your life and the effect you are having on everyone else around you is a humbling process. To embark on such an inwardly journey is really to search like Jesus after His baptism. Therefore, in this posting, I will dive headlong into this process and offer new thoughts and hopefully bring everyone closer to accepting whatever decision they have made.
The Spirit of Wisdom
4 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was famished.” ~ Matthew 4:1-2 (NRSVACE)
When we undergo discernment it is like Christ who purified his body by fasting, knowing he would have to prove himself against temptation. The land is barren, desolate, and utterly unforgiving. Our souls are racked with the temptation of the world and all it has to offer, and the enticements of money that force most catholic teachers to move on after gaining their credentialing to a higher paying public school job. Here is the difference between staying for little money and moving on for much more money; usually those who stay normally do so because the ‘job’ is not a ‘job’, rather it becomes a mission to serve others. Whereas those who move on find out that what started out as a mission has now turned into a job! The spiritual aspect is removed and teaching becomes a profession of academics rather than professionals invested in every child’s future and year to year outcome. In other words, in the religious institutions teaching and learning reps greater intrinsic rewards. Each temptation is met with the strength of Jesus, the Wisdom of Jesus, the knowledge of Jesus rather than relying on yourself. There is much more support and much more satisfaction in the ‘job’ / mission being done in the classrooms. With that said, teaching becomes more about the personal relationships you make with your students and the ability to connect in many ways; the most important way being through the moral aspect of religion, which roots them in the understanding of right and wrong developing in them the gift of the spirit of the fear of God. So, each year this is what is at steak, each year every teacher must decide to continue serving or to move on and take up an earthly pursuit. Each teacher must ask themselves,
“Is the money I earn a replacement for the intrinsic rewards I received daily from seeing my students grow and learn?”
Which Spiritual Gift Should Teachers Ask For?
Clearly, thirty days is not a long time. The healthy practice of faith requires much prayer and reflection. Therefore, the spirit of wisdom and understanding would be the most powerful gifts during this time of discernment.
The prayer usually goes something like this;
“Dear Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus your only son, I pray for the wisdom, the words, the understanding to hear your instructions for me, for my family, and for my students. Dear Lord, guide me in the ways I should go, give me the understanding needed to stay on the path you have put me on. Dear Lord help me stay effective in my teaching, help me stay faithful to your Holy words, and I submit my life to you and to your Holy Spirit. I come to you humbly asking your blessing, your guidance, your strength, your wisdom in the next stage of my life, may my steps reflect your will for me and for all the students I teach and or will teach in the future. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.”
I cannot tell you how many times I had prayed that prayer. How many times I fought off the temptation of more money, better benefits, better housing, car, and or better life that money can bring. But each time God has shown me how I affect the students and how my relationship with them has helped do his will through my mission; the mission he put me on, one that has also molded me into a better human being. In the end, it’s really a no-brainer!
Ways to Communicate
As always, I humbly invite you to stay connected by sending me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting Listening Faithfully Facebook page.
Don’t forget to become part of this awesome community by signing up at Listening Faithfully Community Page. In addition, I have started a new page where you can also visit me at fb.me/listeninfaith and send me messages at m.me/listeninfaith.
Finally, another means of direct communication os by sending me a tweet on Twitter at Brian Keith@, or become a part of our spiritual group: Friends who Like Listening Faithfully…. “Let’s grow together as children of God”