During this coming week or shortly thereafter, a number of children of all ages will be returning to school. Going to school offers an excellent opportunity to put our spirituality to work. The way in which we relate to the necessity of going to school is a very spiritual matter.
A wise spiritual director suggested that for our well-being, three things need to occur in our lives in the following order. The first of these is PRAYER. As we pray about attending school, we can come to regard this experience as a precious opportunity that is offered to us. As we go through school, we become more clearly aware of our aptitudes and skills. The Lord would work through this growing awareness to lead us to where He wants us to become as adults. While we are in school, we also become aware of our limitations. This contributes to the painful aspect of attending school. Prayer helps us to appreciate that having limitations does not deprive us of the common dignity that the Lord offers to all of us as human beings.
Prayer enables us to see ourselves in a meaningful way in relation to others. As we pray about going to school, we grow in the awareness that many persons are pulling for us to do well in school. These include our parents, teachers, principal, siblings, classmates and others. By going to school in a prayerful spirit, we can become more aware that others in our school community need us and the support that we can offer them.
According to the spiritual director to which I referred earlier, after prayer, the next most important activity in our lives should be that of PLAYING. We instinctively are attracted to playful, recreational activities. When I was in school, my favorite activities were lunch time, gym (physical educational time) and library time. During this time, we were free to read books of our own choosing. Fun times and recreational activities make it easy to develop friendships, some of which are life-long.
As we return to school, the third priority calling for our time and energy is that of WORK. Prayer and play provide the all-needed motivation to want to work hard in school. Experience has indicated that during sports tournament times in the school year, many students are very diligent in keeping up with their studies. Why? Because they have that to which to look forward in upcoming games. In the bigger school of life as a whole, many of us tend to do our best in our work when we have that to which to look forward. As we grow more and more into a prayerful, playful spirit, we will want to put forth the best that we are and have, both in academic school and in the larger school of life itself.
In the school of living in this world, in which we are all students, I invite us to pray, to play and to work in this order. In this way, we can grow into the ability to relate to the school of living here as an opportunity to be embraced rather than as an ordeal to be endured.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor