Lasallian Thought for the Day

Lasallian Spirituality: Spirit of Zeal

The other side of the coin to the spirit of faith is the spirit of zeal. According to the early Rule of the Brothers, we are to have "an ardent zeal" for the instruction of children, doing our utmost to bring them up in a true Christian spirit, in accord with the standards and values of the Gospel.

To be zealous is to be passionate or very enthusiastic about something. In our Lasallian world this zeal and passion is expressed in our service to others especially in the field of education. "Are you ardent and zealous for the salvation of your neighbour and in the performance of your professional duties?"

La Salle regarded the spirit of Zeal as so important that he includes it in his last will and testament. He also makes it one of the twelve virtues of a good teacher. He makes frequent reference to it in his Meditations and devotes two complete Meditations to this theme. (Meditations nine and ten for the time of retreat.)

Teachers above all need this spirit of zeal. To La Salle, teaching children is "the work of God" and of his Church and we are God!|s "ministers" and the "ambassadors of Jesus Christ." We are to be the role models of all the virtues since children learn more by seeing than hearing. We are to instil moral values in the children, helping them to speak the truth, to forgive each other, to love and respect their parents, to be self-controlled, gentle, patient and so on.

The spirit of zeal also involves watching over the children with care and concern. We are to pray for them earnestly and especially for those who are wayward. We will have zeal for the good of all, rich or poor, talented or slow, believers or unbelievers.

La Salle even went so far to say that, if need be, we should lay down our lives for the children, so dear and precious are they in God's sight.

How do we know if we have spirit of zeal? Perhaps the clearest sign is if we try to practise what we preach.

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