The prayer intention proposed by Pope Francis is a beautiful and vast project. Education is a word that crosses social and human realities. There is no need to be a teacher, professor, special educator or parent to participate in education. Everyone in his profession or hobbies can find himself in the position of educator. All that is required is transmitting to others a skill, wisdom, encouragement, or even helping someone become open to the true, good and beautiful.
For Pope Francis, the educator is first of all a credible witness who has experienced in truth what he seeks to transmit to another. He should not stop at the necessary technical skills, but aim higher to a more universal good. In this context, the relationship of teacher and student can become a source of fraternity, shared joy and creativity.
Furthermore, attention to the most vulnerable young people in society is given as a benchmark by Pope Francis to verify the quality of an educational attitude. The educator can seek his own satisfaction by attending to the “best students,” who will reflect a gratifying image of the work to be accomplished. However, the “weakest” in the class see this attitude as a rejection of themselves as human persons. The key is to treat everyone in an educational setting with the same dignity, while respecting the various gifts and talents they all possess.
Another challenge in our modern world, is how the culture promotes individualistic values, making the task of educators to appear impossible. How can a teacher sow the seeds of fraternity in a classroom when everyone is seeking the “survival of the fittest”? It is challenging to go against modern culture, promoting a lifestyle in accord with the Gospel.
This month, let us pray for educators, as well as ourselves, so that in we may all participate in this beautiful work of education, teaching others how to live according to God’s will and style of living.
Fr. Daniel Régent SJ
(Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – France)