A Reflection by Br. Hank Hammer, President of Marist High School in Chicago, Illinois
“I still firmly believe that God desires this work in this age when unbelief is making such frightful progress.” (Marcellin Champagnat, circa 1830)
If we’re not careful, it is all too easy to relegate the past to “simpler, less complicated times.” The France of Marcellin Champagnat was anything but simple and less complicated. The brutal realities of the French Revolution were still fresh in people’s minds, and secularism, the likes of which had never been seen in France before, was at a fever pitch.
Why, then, would Marcellin undertake his mission at such a time? His faith, clearly evident in the quote above, convinced him that there was only one way to counter the realities of his time.
We’ve all heard Marcellin’s challenge to “read the signs of the times.” For Marcellin, reading the signs of the times also included acting in response to the signs of the times. His quote above is amazingly relevant today when secularism is rampant and faith is downplayed.
What are we to do? We must act like Marcellin did by meeting today’s challenges with equal amounts of faith and action. This may not be easy, but as inheritors of Marcellin’s story and legacy, we owe it to him and to God to believe that Catholic schools are needed more than ever and that each one of us can play a part in securing the future of Catholic education in the United States.
A Timely Reflection: TO FACE ALL OF THIS
To face all of this, we will need courage. We will need energy. We will need vision. We will need to be at ease with ourselves and our decisions.
Above all, like the psalmist, we will need to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, our God, until God lets us rest.
And then we will know, as we have always known, that the effort was worth the gift of our lives, the best of our years, the length of our days.
(Sister Clare Dunn, CSJ and Sister Judy Lovchik, CSJ)