Last week, we visited the first part of the Lasallian equation for good teaching- Faith. This week, we complete the equation with that which excites us, wakes up in the morning, and gives us motivation to teach and touch our students intellectually- our ardent “zeal.”
We were called to accept Jesus and bear good fruit through our imitation of Him. As educators, we are given an extra task to not only produce fruit, but to also teach others how to garden their souls so that they may produce fruit “thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.”(Mark 4) To do so, God has given us a great gardening tool in the gift of zeal.
We teachers are a zealous race that combines creativity with action and mystery. To engage our students, we exude a high degree of passion for what we teach so as not to bore or give a conception of disinterest to those who look upon us so highly. The energy and interest that we dedicate to our lessons will set the tone for our students to catch the contagious fire of interest that we emanate. The key to this process is our zeal.
Beyond our academic curriculum, we are compelled as Christians to demonstrate our zealous faith through our teaching. John Baptist De La Salle tells us in his ninth meditation for the time of retreat:
“You must not doubt that it is a great gift of God, this grace he has given you to be entrusted with the instruction of children, to announce the Gospel to them and to bring them up in the spirit of religion. But in calling you to this holy ministry, God demands that you fulfill it with ardent zeal for their salvation, because this is the work of God, and he curses the one who does his work carelessly.”*
We are God’s workers and at the same time we are His work. It would do us well to complete His work with the same enthusiasm, passion, and zeal that He exemplified for us while on Earth, and that He continues to exemplify in heaven through those who call themselves His Children.
Live Jesus and His ardent zeal in our hearts forever!
*De La Salle, St. John Baptist, Meditations for the Time of Retreat, Rouen, France 1730 found online at http://www.lasallian.info/index.cfm/BooksByTheFounder