The Presence Of Jesus In the Life Of the Catholic Teacher

The Presence Of Jesus In the Life Of the Catholic Teacher

What we can learn from St. John Mary Vianney

Today is the feast of St. John Vianney, a great Catholic saint who reminds us that all we have to do to pursue holiness is just allow God to make us holy in the place he has placed us. I also discuss the way that Jesus speaks into the fear that we can all so easily experience. Finally, I share a great quote from philosopher Ryan Topping who reminds us that in Catholic schools it’s not just a question of good intentions. 


Jonathan Doyle

Jonathan Doyle

Jonathan Doyle is an international speaker, author, businessman and executive coach who has spoken around the world to more than 400,000 people on topics related to personal development, peak performance, leadership, Catholic school evangelisation, relationships and much more.

His recent keynote addresses include the NCEA National Convention in St. Louis Missouri to 10,000 delegates and he is a frequent keynote speaker in the US, Asia and Europe.

He is also the founder of an influential education and media business that delivers training content to hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals around the world on a weekly basis.

Jonathan holds an undergraduate degree in education from the University of Canberra, a Masters Degree in Leadership and Management from the University of Newcastle and has also undertaken post-graduate study in philosophical anthropology.

He is the author of numerous books on relationships and peak performance and each day shares these same ideas with a large global audience via The Daily Podcast with Jonathan Doyle.

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The Presence Of Jesus In the Life Of the Catholic Teacher


Well, hey everybody. Jonathan Doyle with you, once again. Welcome friends, to The Catholic Teacher Daily podcast. Thank you so much for the privilege of your time. We’re also busy, aren’t we? I don’t know about you, I’ve got three kids under the age of 12. This season of life, wow. I’d love to tell you just how content, I’m even relaxed, I am. Look, I am, sometimes. I actually find that I able to carve out very dedicated times of prayer, but also just taking those little moments in the day.

The Presence Of Jesus In the Life Of the Catholic TeacherOne thing is I do, I pick my son up from school each day and I park in a couple of streets away, and I allow myself time to walk down and pick him up. But as you do as a parent, you get really good at the logistics of arriving just at the right time. I’ve found recently, there’s a beautiful moment where you turn the engine off the car, you sit there and there’s all those opportunities, isn’t there, to check social media or read the news or whatever it is we do on our phones. But I’ve learned just to sit and just try and be present to God in that moment, to be mindful him.

Theresa of Lisieux said that, prayer was just a glance towards heaven, a cry from the heart. Sometimes we think prayer has to be so formal and structured and there’s a good place for that, but sometimes it’s just those moments, with the Lord, where we just stop and be present and in all our limitations and all our need and just allow him to be present with us. I hope you taking those times in the middle of a school day, because schools are just so busy. There’s just some… The minute you turn up, it’s often just… It’s part of the beauty, right? I often say teachers really get bored, because there’s so much stimulation and activity and personalities and many dramas and crises happening all the time. But try and find those moments.

I remember a beautiful experience speaking in the Archdiocese at Washington, and just after speaking I did a keynote there and then I had some time, while there was a few hundred staff there and they were doing some other admin stuff. I got to sneak away, just for a minute, to sit in their chapel and it was just beautiful just to… In the midst of all the travel and the busy-ness just to sneak those little moments. I hope you finding a way to do that today and every day.

Now, today is the feast day of Saint John Mary Vianney, who was in fact the patron Saint of priests, and the reason I want to talk about John Vianney, just for a couple of seconds, because really his amazing legacy began because he just did one thing really well, which is what many of you would know. He was known as the Curé or Curé of Ars. It’s a little town of Ars. He had a flock of about 300 people and Curé, mean thought the Curet, the Abbott, the… Sorry, the Curet, the priest.

And he just did an amazing job of just being a great priest. He didn’t do a great job of being a great accountant or a great shoemaker or a great school teacher. He lived the vocation of being a great priest and he lived that vocation fully and living that fully just impacted huge numbers of people. And this comes back to that central premise that I’ve been teaching for so many years that you don’t have a job. If you’re a Catholic educator, you’re called into a vocation where the baptismal call on your life is made very real. We see people like St. John Mary Vianney, and we see this enormous impact, but they had that impact by being fully what God had called them to be.

Just a reminder to you, that God isn’t calling you to be a priest to the town of Ars or the Diocese of Washington. Maybe you are a priest listening to this in the Diocese of Washington and that’s just ruined everything, but you get my point. Most of us are not called to all these different things. We’re called to where we are. We’re called to where we are as Catholic educators. And listen, the last thing on St. John Mary Vianney is that the reading today in the gospel, I managed to sneak across to Mass. My office is near the cathedral, so I’ve got access to Mass most days and it’s that beautiful reading. One of the things, if you get to Mass on a regular basis during the week, you often realize that early in the week, the gospel for the coming Sunday appears in the readings. The gospel today is the beautiful story of Peter trying to walk on the water to Jesus and that beautiful line where Jesus calls out to the disciples, because they’re terrified. “Courage do not be afraid. “Courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.”

The Presence Of Jesus In the Life Of the Catholic TeacherWe had our Archbishop say Mass today and he’s a great preacher, and he just shared that story so beautifully. Courage. He was talking about all the challenges of COVID that we face at the moment. He said, “Courage. Do not be afraid.”. And he talked about St. John Mary Vianney, who was a priest around the time of the French revolution, which friends, if you were living through the French revolution and you had a choice between that and COVID, you’d take COVID. You really would. He was living through this incredibly challenging time and back then, the start of the 19th century, late 18th century, Jesus was speaking to him, saying, “Courage. Don’t be afraid.”. He’s saying the same thing to us now.

Here in Australia, as I speak, one of our states is in major lockdown. Maybe I’ve got some listeners down there in Victoria. Courage. Do not be afraid. Jesus is here. In the midst of all this turmoil and challenge and difficulty, Jesus is with us. I think it’s a choice to step into that. I think if we wait for our feelings to catch up, it’s can be a long wait, but we’ve got to step into that and step into that belief and trust in him. Friends, whatever you’re facing in your private life, your parenting, your relationships, your teaching, your school community, the COVID experience, Jesus is speaking the same words to all of us. “Courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.” It’s just, he’s present.

Last thing for today, here’s a quote. Now this comes out on the daily email, so if you’re not on the daily email, please go to podcast page, pretty much anywhere else. Fill out that signup form and we’ll get you on the daily email, where I send out a simple quote every day and it links to the podcast. And here it is today. This is from Ryan Topping. Some of you would have heard of Ryan. He has a PhD from Oxford, not easy to do, and a great Catholic write, and he’s writing in an article here taken from his book on Catholic education. He says this, “Forget Christ and the solid, moral and mental discipline that once characterized Catholic schools is bound to boil down into a soup of good intentions.”.One more time, “Forget Christ and the solid, moral and mental discipline that once characterized Catholic schools is bound to boil down to a soup of good intentions.”.

The basis of that simple quote is that if we take Christ out of our Catholic schools, if he isn’t the central animating force of our personal life, our personal spiritual life, our friendships, our relationships, our communication, then what we end up with is a place full of good intentions. Good intentions are useful. They’re helpful. They like putting the key in the ignition, but they’re not necessarily turning it and maybe the engine doesn’t even have fuel. What is the fuel? The fuel is the Eucharist. The fuel is the person of Jesus Christ. You see, when Jesus is present in the Catholic school, when he’s present in the leadership, when he’s present in the teachers, when he’s prison in the sacraments and the prayer, and the way that we relate in a Catholic school, then the school is free to become what it was designed to be.

The Presence Of Jesus In the Life Of the Catholic TeacherIf we don’t have that, what we tend to end up with, is I’ve said for so many years, is the question of how are we different to anything else? How are we different to any other educational option? It is Christ that animates the Catholic school and we do this in perfectly done. When I look at my vocation as a father and a husband, and I realized the further you go in the spiritual life, some of you just heard that big sigh, you know what I’m talking about? It’s like we realize our limitation and our imperfections, and we realize that the answer here, to all of this, is the voice of Christ saying to us courage, to not be afraid. Friends, this isn’t about that quote from Dr. Topping. It isn’t about Neo-Pelagianism striving, striving the [inaudible 00:08:35].

There’s a delicate balance in the spiritual life between what we do, the efforts that we make and how God moves in that. But ultimately we’re not saved because of our good intentions. We don’t build great schools by good intentions. We build great schools because of Christ. And because each of us individually goes more deeply into a relationship with him. God bless your friends. That’s all I want to say in this short episode. Please make sure you subscribed. Please make sure you share this with some people. Go check out the website, Check out the resources page. Send me an email if you need to; My name is Jonathan Doyle. Friends, God bless you. This has been The Catholic Teacher Daily podcast, and I’ll have another message for you 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.