Today is the birthday of John Baptist de La Salle. Born in 1651, this man lived an extraordinary life. He lived a saintly life, which is to say a life marked by holiness. If he were here with us and we raised a toast to that holiness at his birthday party, he would be the first to interject that striving for holiness is for each of us! While in his meditations he cast a bright light on the saints, he also cast a bright light on a holy way forward for our own lives. In a nutshell, the holy way he taught and exemplified was remembering the presence of God throughout the day.
The English writer Evelyn Underhill (d. 1941) defined the mystic as living “a life based on this conscious communion with God.” This seems an apt way to talk about De La Salle. Again, he’d say this mystical, holy way is for you and me. That living in awareness of God’s presence is accessible. The simplicity of this prayer (Let us remember . . .) makes it so—all it requires of us is to stay the course. Holiness is not about an achievement or an end point; it’s in the simple effort to stay connected to the living presence in our hearts.
When we open the 46th General Chapter of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools tomorrow, we will most assuredly open with remembering that God is present within and among us. After that, whatever words we pronounce, proposals we offer, decisions we make—whatever the upshot—the measure of its authenticity will be in remembering that God’s presence is the source of our hopes. This is the enduring legacy of our Founder, his birthday gift to us!
Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC, is General Councilor for the Lasallian Region of North America. He will provide reflections throughout the 46th General Chapter, which will be shared on Lasallian.info and on Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about the General Chapter here and from the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Search #FSC46GC on social media for more highlights. Visit the General Councilor’s page for more reflections from Brother Tim >