“Faith is not a light that scatters the darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey.”
As all of our teachers began professional development today, Partnership Superintendent Kathleen Porter-Magee started our morning prayer with this reminder from Pope Francis’ of what true faith is. Faith is not certainty. It is the means by which we make our way amid uncertainty.
There are plenty of things we cannot see about the school year that starts next week. Veteran teacher Colleen Evans shared a reading today about a time when the disciples faced a similar time of anxious unknowing, locked in the Upper Room after the crucifixion. Jesus appeared in their midst, and he began the Church in that moment with just four moves. None of those four moves involved giving anyone precise certainty or clarity about what would happen next. Instead he repeated one phrase: peace be with you. He showed them his wounds, affirming that his suffering was real. He gave the disciples a mission. And he breathed on them the Holy Spirit.
The spirit moved today, two thousand years later, in the light of computer screens where our colleagues’ faces appeared in a Zoom grid. From rooms stretching from Cleveland to New York, teachers, leaders, and operations colleagues shared readings, reflections, and prayer intentions. And when teacher Sandy Grant sang “I pray for you; you pray for me,” her steady voice assuring us that “we are all a part of God’s body”–many of us could feel the truth of what she sang.
Animated, then, by each others’ faith, we can proclaim with music teacher Michelle Trinidad, “I shall not fear”:
“Jehovah Sabaoth,” by Donald Lawrence, performed by Sacred Heart music teacher Michelle Trinidad.
As uplifting as today’s service was, our praying this year has only begun. So in all humility, we ask you to pray for us–in particular for the teachers, staff and school leaders who are carrying the lamp of faith before our students this year. If you are so inclined, you can pray–as we did today–that the Holy Spirit will indeed illuminate the journey we are on:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.