How The Incarnation Appears in Your Catholic Classroom

Earlier today I spent some time reading the collected works of the rather wonderful Catholic mystic, writer and poet, Caryll Houselander. In today’s episode I want to share with you a wonderful quote in which she helps us more deeply understand what the Incarnation really means for a Catholic teacher. Rather than an abstract concept, the Incarnation is the real and dynamic way in which every Catholic teacher can partner with God in bringing Jesus to birth in every Catholic school and every Catholic classroom.

How Every Catholic Teacher Can Make The Incarnation A Reality

Well. Hey everybody, Jonathan Doyle with you once again for The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. It’s growing friends. The podcast is growing. It’s really exciting. Only started recently, but watching the numbers come up each day, so thank you. If you’re a regular listener, I want to thank you so much for checking in. I know we’re all so busy, but I didn’t want to do a two or three hour podcast. I may occasionally do some longer interviews with people, but I wanted to give you a little daily shot in the arm. So that you got a little bit of encouragement as you take this journey of Catholic education. What a life that is, huh? What a vocation. What a partnering with God’s salvific action in history. The vocation of Catholic teacher is Catholic principal, Catholic administrator. Often say that some of the greatest work in the Catholic school is often done by the janitor.

Met some amazing Catholic men and women that have done beautiful work in roles outside the classroom home. We’re going to acknowledge that. They often want to get booked to do big conferences. They’re like,” Oh, could you also mention the admin staff?” And I go,” Are you kidding? I always do that.” It’s crucial that we acknowledge everybody that contributes to the wonderful basis and nature of our Catholic schools. Okay, so we’re heading towards Christmas day. It’s not far away. So we’re coming to the end of advent and most of us are winding down towards the end of the year. But I want to keep putting good stuff on your radar. And what I want to share with you today is a beautiful quote from someone I’ve discovered quite recently. Who’s was having a big effect upon me and this is a lady called Caryll Houselander. Some of you may have heard of her.

She died at only 53 years of age. She was writing around the time of the second world war and was a bit of a mystic. Like a lot of our Catholic mystics, she had a lot of suffering in life. She had a pretty traumatic, difficult childhood. But I’m really was given some fascinating supernatural mystical visions. But was very down to earth, she worked, she fell in love, all these sorts of things. But she was really good at this concept of what she called Christing the world. The Christ was trying to constantly come to birth in the midst of the world through us and through the circumstances of our lives. It’s very incarnational, isn’t it? So I’m talking about that because we’re in advent. And what’s advent leading towards? It’s leading towards the incarnation, the infleshment.

So as Catholic teachers, what we’re sharing with our young people is this beautiful awareness. Now I know that we’re heading into the Christmas break, so I want you to file this away. Because this is a concept that yes, it’s linked to advent, but it’s also very much linked to the… I guess the whole liturgical year. We’re always talking about Christ breaking into history. What’s the great challenge that so many of our students faced, if it’s not this idea that Jesus was a wisdom teacher. So many times at schools, the best some people have hoped for is that they think Jesus was a nice guy. He’s holding lambs and he’s apparently nice to everybody. This is what they call that old remote therapeutic dayism model. That God is this remote being who sits up somewhere in the cosmos or the clouds.

He’s therapeutic. His job is to make us feel better and to take away our problems. And the only problem is that that meek and mild Jesus isn’t the one in the gospels. He was capable of that phenomenal gentleness and mercy and compassion. But let’s not forget that the church also understands him to be what’s called the Christus Pantokrator, the Christ Lord of the universe. Last year I had a chance to visit the national shrine in Washington DC. And for those of you that have been there, you see that mosaic on the high altar and people, they either love it or they don’t. Because it is Christ King of the universe. But whether your model of Jesus, your experience of Jesus, is Jesus as meek and mild or Jesus as Lord and King. The crucial thing is that this is a Christ who’s broken into history.

This is a Christ who’s taken on physical flesh. This is a Christ who didn’t sit remote in the clouds and magically snap fingers and bring everyone to heaven. That didn’t happen. He wanted us to experience him so fully that he entered into our physical reality and that takes us to this beautiful quote today from Caryll Houselander. Listen to this. She says, now listen carefully. She says,” Because of the incarnation, our natural life is super naturalized. Love has become incarnate in flesh. God has become human. Because of Christ’s birth a new stream of goodness is se flowing. Holiness has become the completion of nature, the fulfilling of the law.” Love that first line. Because of the incarnation our natural life is super naturalized. That the grace of Christ and then that what’s released when he sends the holy spirit is that our natural human life is elevated and caught up into the pear and the dynamic of who he is.

So what’s advent? Advent is this preparation time for this phenomenal mystery. That this Christ entered into human experience in the most basic and humble of ways. This was not in the world’s greatest children’s hospital. It didn’t have a team of 300 of the world’s best obstetricians. This was a stable, this was a cave possibly. They think maybe a little cave cut into a rock. But cared about us so much that entered this reality. So my friends, as we lead up to Christmas day, I pray that this grace of incarnation is going to be present for you as a Catholic teacher. That it will be a seed that grows in your consciousness, both at Christmas, but then throughout coming year as you undertake your amazing vocation as a Catholic educator. That Christ will come to birth in you. How? Specifically in the classroom, through your words and actions, your gentleness, your… Sometimes being the opposite of generalist, sometimes being tough and challenging and demanding a higher standard and seeing the capacity and the potential in a student and refusing to let them slack off.

You’re being the person that Jesus Christ is coming to birth into the world through your vocation as you partner with him and the grace that he wants to give you. All right, I’m going to pray for you. Father, ask you to bless every teacher listening. Thank you for their vocation. Thank you for their goodness. Thank you for the yes. Like we’re celebrating now that the yes of Mary led to the incarnation, the yes of every Catholic teacher listening to this is leading to Christ being born in classrooms all over the planet. That’s a beautiful image. Thank you Father. Holy spirit ask you to encourage and bless everyone listening. Amen. Friends, do me a favor. If you use Instagram, come and follow me, jonathandoyle47. You can find me there. Encouragement everyday. jonathandoyle47. Do you use Twitter? I know everyone thinks Twitter is evil and it’s the work of the devil. Probably is.

But I get on there and send encouragement to people. So if you want to come and find me on Twitter, @beingcatholic1 . Or you do a search for Jonathan Doyle, you’ll find me there @beingcatholic1 . And of course, if you haven’t joined our Facebook group, come and do it. Passionate Catholic Teachers , it’s a really cool Facebook group. We’ve got well over a thousand Catholic teachers from around the world. So you can jump in there and post questions and share your victories and all that good stuff. So friends, God bless you. Please subscribe to the podcast wherever you’re listening to this right now on an app somewhere. Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher.

Please subscribe and as always, share this with a few teachers. Can you think of a few teachers you know? Send them a link and say,” Hey, subscribe to this podcast.” That’s a big blessing for me, friends. If you could do that, God bless y’all. Hope it’s going to be an amazing Christmas for you. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast, and I’m going to have another message for you, my friends tomorrow.

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One Catholic Teacher exists to inspire, encourage and support Catholic teachers around the world. Each day Jonathan Doyle offers a short dose of formation and encouragement via The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. Jonathan is also a global speaker and author on all issues related to Catholic Education.