On February 9, the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast Day of San Miguel Febres Cordero. San Miguel has touched the hearts of many through his short, yet profound message: “I must enter into all that I do with a spirit of love.” When you stop and think about it, this presents a somewhat daunting task. I must enter into all that I do with a spirit of love? Everything that I do? Even on the days when I got too little sleep? Or the days when those kids just don’t listen?
But therein lies the wisdom of San Miguel’s words. Maintaining a mindset of love is something that we all must do. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, to focus on the challenges and negative aspects of every day. Throughout this year I’ve felt burnt out, overwhelmed, and defeated. I’ve harbored these feelings throughout the day, and it impacted my teaching. This is no way to work, or to live. The only way to change my experience is to change my attitude. While it may seem challenging, and while there are definitely days in my ministry that I feel everything but “love,” looking at things through that spirit of love is what is going to make a difference. This adjustment of attitude turns those sleepless nights spent planning and working into labors of love. It turns “those kids,” with all their frustrating behavior, into “my students,” young men of integrity with stories, gifts, and wisdom to share.
As proof of their wisdom, throughout the week Brother Lawrence Goyette, who lives and breathes that spirit of love, led our students through a reflection of where and how they see love at De La Salle Academy. Their responses were amazing. Every single student wrote at length about their experience. “When we pick our brothers up when they are down.” “When we help each other out on our homework.” “When my brothers support me and encourage me to do better.” “When our teachers help us to learn because they want us to have a good future.”
It’s amazing how easy it is to overlook the great things happening right in front of you. Everyone you meet, and everything you do, presents you with an opportunity to be inspired and changed for the better. You just have to choose to see it.
Anthony Carbone is a 2nd year LV serving at De La Salle Academy in Concord, California and is a 2014 graduate of La Salle University.