Reactor Mrs. Edna Giner

5.Edna Giner

Dec. 11, 2020

On Commitment to Education in the Service of the Human Person and Human Family (#6) , and on Safeguarding and Cultivating our Common Home (#7)

A blessed afternoon to our dear Mother General Graciela Francovig and her Consultor, Sr. Teresa Pinto , to our dear Indico-Pacific Provincial Superior Sr. Emelinda Falsis, to all Hijas de Jesus Sisters, fellow educators , parents , alumni and guests.

Education as we know helps provide knowledge, nurture talents, develop skills and good values and cultivate desirable attitudes. Through right and effective education, a person will not only become academically competent but he can be helped to become a better human being. Education is our moral compass which directs us towards understanding and doing what is right or wrong . Also , it helps us in developing meaningful relations in life .

May I share some points on two commitments that Pope Francis’ Global Compact on Education is challenging all of us . First, on Commitment to Education in the Service of the Human Person and Human Family .

Teachers truly are the backbone of society. They are role models to children, they inspire, give guidance and have the capacity and influence to change lives, not just for those children but for their family and the lives of all.

Educators have the toughest responsibilities. They must come to work every day knowing their students will soak up their actions like sponges. They must show how to be a truly good person not just by telling, but also by being.

Mo. Foundress, St. Candida Maria de Jesus, clearly expressed her desire to found a Congregation dedicated to the salvation of souls, through education and instruction of children and youth. With this, it is heartwarming to know that we are trying our best to be one with her. Furthermore, one of her dreams is to go to the ends of the Earth in search of souls . Searching for souls means making this soul a beautiful one . As educators in a school of Mo. Foundress, we are challenged not only to nurture talents and enhance creativity and imagination but more importantly, to address the needs of the learner’s heart and soul.

Pope Francis said that “education is one of the most effective ways of making our world and history more human. Education is above all a matter of love and responsibility handed down from one generation to another.” He further stressed the role of the family as the first educational school and the need to respect the family as the first institution

of education. He called for an education which placed the dignity of the human person and a common vocation to fraternity at the center of an educational program, for these can promote the hope and harmony that the world needs.

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”   It is indeed the real asset that can develop an individual, a family and so is the nation. Educators should join hands to make education not only a fundamental right for all, but also the guiding light, which can make young people and the entire humanity get through various forms of darkness .

A beautiful soul of an educator drives him to work collaboratively with parents who are bound by the obligation of being the primary educators of their children . They must be the first one to create a learning ambiance animated by love and respect for God , man and nature . It has to be the basic duty of a Christian family to teach children in their early years the knowledge and love of God and the companionship of their neighbors and friends .

Great educators affect every aspect of their students’ lives, teaching them the important life lessons that will help them succeed beyond quarterly tests, research papers and standardized tests.

It is not always easy to shape a student’s life, which is why it takes a great teacher , a life-changing teacher, for that matter, to transform lives . When our lives as educators are anchored to the one who is the Greatest Teacher, Jesus Christ , it is only then that we can do so and indeed we can say that we are of service to the human person and his family .

May I now share few reflections on Commitment to Education on Safeguarding and Cultivating our Common Home (#7) . God is an amazing Creator. He gave us life, food to eat, the air to breathe, the gorgeous blue sky and the abundant natural resources. He even gave us each other to interact with. God could have created the world in black and white, but He gave us color! He could have made every tree, flower, and leaf look the same, but He gave us variety. In captivating sights, like when leaves start to change colors and fall off of the trees, these changes amaze us about our Creator .

Many believe that a rainbow is a refraction of light off of water to make an arc of colored light. But more than that, rainbows have much deeper meaning . God formed the rainbow as a symbol of His promises to never flood the earth again, and the “bow in the clouds” will be a reminder to all of His never-ending promises.

But why do we experience the literal floods and rainstorms now and then ? Is it because of climate change ? Definitely yes ! We have to ask ourselves how did we take care of the home that He gave us. God created humans in His own image and loves us enough to make us more beautiful and important than all other magnificent creations in the world. We are most thankful to Him for saving us through His perfect grace and mercy.

Again , in our context today , we are challenged to emphasize to the learners the call of Laudato Si, particularly on integral ecology, that everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society. It is sad that many times we take for granted our common home and it is more sad when people , especially the elderly, the disabled, the abandoned children and the poor are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected . What is thrown away are not only food and disposable objects but often human beings themselves. We have seen what happened with the elderly in certain places of the world as a result of the corona virus. Do they have to die that way?

Sometimes we fail to realize that, according to Pope Francis, by isolating the elderly and leaving them in the care of others without the closeness and concern of family members, we disfigure and impoverish the family itself.We also end up depriving young people of a necessary connection to their roots and a wisdom that they cannot achieve on their own.

In order to safeguard and cultivate our common home , it is imperative that educators around the globe should consider an intense values formation activities most especially on integral ecology which connects care for people and care for God’s creation. When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person or a human embryo designed for stem cell technology, it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature for

everything is connected.Is our concern for fellow human beings connected to our concern for the environment?

St. Candida Maria de Jesus , ever since, had so much regard for integral ecology . Her words, “where there is no room for my poor, neither is there room for me”, proves her connection and care for people whom God cared for as well .

Our role as educators is so crucial to instill in the learners’ heart and soul a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land.

While it is a must that we have to be a responsible steward of God’s creation , we have to be also a good steward of our thoughts, of how we are behaving and conducting ourselves . If we find ourselves going in a negative direction, let’s pick ourselves up and

shift to a healthy frame of mind because how we think will impact directly how we behave and how we relate with each other.

According to Pope Francis , “to educate is an act of hope . In the face of vast challenges and in this unusual health crisis, our faith calls us to hope for a renewed relationship with God, self, others , creation and our common home” . To end , let us all be exhorted by what he said , “ may we be sustained by the conviction that education bears within itself a seed of hope: the hope of peace and justice; the hope of beauty and goodness; the hope of social harmony”. That seed of hope will eventually grow alongside with educators’ hope, sense of calling and commitment to teaching .

Thank you so much dear brothers and sisters for your kind attention . A pleasant afternoon to all of you and may God keep us all in His love !

References:

https://www.nzceo.org.nz/2394-2/

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-family-is-the-first-and-essential-place-of-education-24760

https://catholic-sf.org/news/pope-francis-family-is-the-first-and-essential-place-of-education

 https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and dignity/environment/upload/laudato-si-discussion-guide.pdf

 https://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/news/2020-10/to-educate-is-an-act-of-hope.html