Let us listen to Brother André Dubuc telling us about his experience of the Presence of God in his life.
The experience began in my family and continued throughout my ministry of more than sixty years in Quebec and Cameroon.
My mother was a country schoolteacher, and she lived constantly in the presence of God. Two passages of Holy Scripture governed her whole life. «Walk in my presence and be perfect». (Gn 17,1) «If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him.» (Jn 14, 34-24) Everything was a reason for us to recall the presence of God. At breakfast, when we children were drawn by the smell of the pancakes covered with lashings of maple syrup and took our places around the table, she would ask us: «And when you got up, did you thank God for being alive? Did you make your morning offering to Him?» Then each of us had to give a catechism answer which we had learned off by heart. In the evening it was a different ritual, and little sermon reminded us of the of presence of God. In summer, I often went to the house to fetch cool drinks for the workmen. Mother would take the opportunity to ask me: «Did you thank God for the beautiful sunshine? Your father will be able to bring in a good supply of luzerne which the cows will appreciate in the winter.» When I recite the Canticle of the three children in the furnace, I regret the fact that it does not say anywhere: luzerne and clover, bless the Lord.
A few years later, I took charge of my first class of thirteen yearolds. Every morning, I used to go into class, salute the crucifix and kneel down to adore the presence of God. One day, a pupil asked me why I used to kneel down. When they heard my explanation, another pupil asked: «Can we pray with you?» Every day throughout that year, it became a moment of grace.
In 1962, I was in the Vogt college in Yaounde. From the first day of teaching, I blessed the bell, which reminded me of the voice of my mother, inviting us to recollection on the hour and the half hour. In every class, a pupil broke the silence by saying: «Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God», and all the pupils responded together: «Let us adore Him». This marvelous ritual had such an influence on generations of pupils, and when we had our first reunion of former pupils, the president secretly asked for the bell which marked the hours and half hours to be brought to him. After the introductions, he rang the bell, and all those present immediately fell silent. It was a long silence full of meaning and wonderful memories. The teachers had won the hearts of their pupils. I tasted the fruits of the presence of God: a profound peace and a great joy.