Dear Brothers, Partners, Students and all members of the Lasallian Family,
In anticipation of the 2019 Year of Lasallian Vocations, we have been “accompanying” – through social media and official communications – de La Salle during the final five years of his life. During the last two years of his life, he worked on completing the Explanation of the Method of Interior Prayer, revised The Rule and the Conduct of Schools, served as chaplain at St. Yon, continued his extensive letter writing and bolstered the authority of Brother Superior Barthelemy. His final years were characterized by generativity; that is, a practical fraternal concern for the next generation of Brothers.
I have witnessed a similar spirit of generativity in many Brothers and Partners throughout the Institute, and most recently during my pastoral visit to Europe and the Mediterranean (RELEM). Many senior Brothers and Partners remain active in the mission and Brothers and Partners in the prime of life are energetically devising contemporary pedagogies based on Lasallian principals. Their active concern for the next generation of Lasallians inspires them to develop strategies to insure that our educational communities continue to be student centered formative experiences rooted in faith and infused with Gospel values.
Throughout his life, John Baptist de La Salle placed great emphasis on a strong prayer life and formed his Brothers to be men of the Spirit. Not surprisingly, the last book he wrote was the Explanation of the Method of Interior Prayer. On the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the birth of the Founder, Saint John Paul II wrote:
The secret of John Baptist de La Salle is the personal and living relationship he maintained with the Lord in daily meditation, a source from which he drew the inventive audacity that characterized him. By listening to God, he received the enlightenment that gradually enabled him to discern the urgent needs of his time, so that he could respond to them in a suitable manner.
May we honor our holy Founder by emulating his love of prayer and meditation, often consciously placing ourselves in God’s presence so as to know his will for our mission of human and Christian education. May our own contemplation of God’s saving presence and of Jesus’ project for the Reign of God fill us with inventive audacity and generativity so that we can respond – today and in the future -to the educational needs of marginalized, vulnerable and neglected children and young people.
Brother Robert Schieler, FSC