The Catholic Teacher And God’s Abundance

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In today’s video I want to talk about the tension between the demands and pressures of your work as a Catholic teacher and the fact that God is the God of all abundance. Surely, we think, “If God is so powerful and so capable then why do I still find my vocation and teaching work can often be a real challenge?”

It’s a very fair question.

Today I want to share a couple of insights from John’s Gospel. It’s a well known story where Jesus takes five loaves and two fishes and basically feeds well over 5000 people. I know some ‘enlightened’ scripture scholars like to think that this was simply a ‘miracle of sharing’ and that Jesus somehow convinced people to share their food. Personally, I am just taking the Gospel’s word for it and believing that Jesus miraculously created enough food for everyone. I figure that if you can create the cosmos then a few bread loaves is not really a stretch.

The first insight is simply to draw our attention to the fact that Jesus was genuinely interested in the real need of people. He was not some disconnected guru who separated himself from the realities of human existence and the needs of real people. Jesus understood that people get hungry. We can assume there were many women and children with the 5000 men who are described. I sense that he would have been filled with genuine compassion and concern for the fact they were probably hot, tired and exhausted after a long day walking. Keep in mind there was zero public transport. These people had walked a long way to see Jesus.

I want you to understand that Jesus cares about human needs. Real human needs. He cares about your real needs as a Catholic teacher. He cares about the challenges and difficulties you face. It’s so easy to fall into the belief that Jesus is off somewhere ‘sitting at God’s right hand’ maybe discussing important issues about the upkeep of the universe but he is definitely too busy to be concerned with your unruly class or difficult colleague or challenging parent. It’s just not true. If he was concerned about people’s dinner enough to feed them then he is just as concerned about all the challenges you face in all the dimensions of your life and particularly as a Catholic teacher. I always liked the beautiful scripture: “ Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.“ 1 Peter 5 :7

 

teacher burnoutThe second insight is to realise that Jesus did not send the loaves and fishes to their houses via some kind of ancient Palestine home delivery service. He fed them because they had left their homes and come to find Him. They had been seeking Him. They experienced the abundance because they had chosen to seek the Christ

In the video I call this, ‘positioning’  The crowds experienced the abundance of God due to a previous decision to seek Him. I think we can learn a lot from this. Can we expect to receive the abundance of God if we either physically or metaphorically ‘stay home?” We have to seek Him also and position ourselves close to Him to experience the abundance that only He can give.

For me this means I start my days at 4am with my bible and times of silence and prayer and journaling. I have come to believe that I cannot experience the abundance of Jesus if I am not sitting at His feet. If I am not positioned.

I just want to encourage to stop fighting the battle of your vocation cut off from the wonderful abundance that Jesus alone can bring into your heart and life and teaching. But, he is always a gentleman. He will not force this on you. You need to choose to seek Him.

Start small. Just set aside ten minutes in the morning at home or maybe in your school chapel. Just sit at this feet and ask Him to pour His abundance into your work. He will not let you down.

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Going Deeper is a weekly online staff formation formation program in Catholic identity and Catholic teaching on education. It inspires, educates and challenges every Catholic teacher to deepen in their personal faith and knowledge of Catholic teaching so they can fulfil their noble vocation within the great mission of Catholic education.