I apologize if it seems like I can’t get over this whole “belovedness” thing. (In truth, I never really want to get over this renewed revelation.) Perhaps the first step is acknowledging our own role as beloved of the Father, but there is another step that follows. It involves seeing how others are beloved children of God, too.
The end of the school year probably isn’t the best time to start deeply considering how my students are uniquely loved by God. However, their behavior is making it necessary for survival. Sophomores are getting more squirrelly and seniors are D.O.N.E. Mentally, most of them are a long ways into summer break, which makes teaching them an exercise in charity. And patience. And forbearance. And long-suffering love. You get the picture.
Last week, I was barely surviving. Tension was high and I felt stressed about several things. Add to that the attitudes and antics of students and I was waking up with stress headaches that lasted throughout the day, pretty much the whole week. Obviously, the Lord doesn’t desire that sort of life for me. It led me to wonder: Lord, what are you doing here?
Frequently on my mind was that familiar title of John as the one whom Jesus loves. Delving into my own belovedness was a good refresher, but it had to also be drawn into seeing the students’ belovedness.
Certain students cause more stress and so I prayed, “Lord, help to see ______________ as your beloved child.” There wasn’t a magical shift as I prayed this about a few different students, but it did make me start wondering. What does the Lord particularly love about these people? I wonder if I can see it, too.
Continue reading “Lord, show me what You love about them”
Last night there was a moment in spiritual direction when the priest was talking to me about seeing Jesus in my students. I was nodding my head, having heard this before and thinking I already knew it but still glad to hear it again.
Then I realized. I haven’t been looking for Jesus in my students. I teach them about Jesus, Sacred Scripture, and the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church and I forgot to look for Jesus in them. I mean, to seriously look for Jesus in them.
I briefly imagined what that would look like. To look at a classroom full of students and see 25 varying pictures of Christ looking at me. To teach to Jesus residing within each one of their souls and to know that, despite exterior appearances, despite however little response I may receive, that Jesus is resting within them. To know that Jesus, within them, is receiving my words. To know that not every person is against me because Christ, dwelling in them, is very much for me. I imagined being able to look at a student who was annoyed with me, making a scene in my class, or being extremely critical and having the grace to calmly ask myself where Jesus was in that student.
That changes everything. It doesn’t make all of the problems or troubles go away. It doesn’t make all of students like me. But I can know that there is someone, very present in the room, who is rooting for me, who is willing me to remain faithful, who is sympathizing with me. He is not just with me, He is with them, too. Mother Teresa found Christ in the poorest of the poor. The streets of Calcutta might not be my streets to go out on but I have a different kind of mission field. And like the streets in India, it is brimming with the many faces of Christ. If I but have the eyes to see and the heart to love.
Bl. Mother Teresa, pray for us.
Bl. Pope John Paul II, pray for us.