In Catholic schools, faith isn’t only demonstrated when students pray during morning announcements or at a school-wide mass or before a class, game, performance, or service outing. Faith is felt all day long and reveals itself in every area of school life.
Lucky for us, faith work isn’t strenuous. It’s a lot like breathing — you don’t have to think about it all the time, but you have to keep doing it. And, seriously, don’t you feel lucky when it keeps working?
Faith-based schools are lucky. At Northwest Catholic, we don’t have to leave faith at home, and we get to see it in uncommon spaces. We know faith is at work during a heated volleyball match or an exhausting rehearsal. We know it’s at work when students laugh over lunch or debate in class. Faith isn’t only a head bowed with eyes closed: it’s cheering and sweating and concentrating and kibitzing. Faith is everywhere, and because we’re always looking for it, we always see it.
We’re also lucky in Catholic schools because faith drives decision making. Does that strike you as irrational or unpredictable? It shouldn’t. Great theologians have been explaining how faith is reasonable for centuries. And although an equal number of thinkers would have us separate faith and reason, we know we can’t get at truth without both. And we know we can’t make the best decisions without this lucky combination.
In Catholic schools, we trust there is order and purpose, a beginning and a reason. Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote, “There must be a first mover existing above all – and this we call God.” Farfetched? Not at all. There’s always a first domino.
Aquinas also wrote, “Give me a keen understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally.” He went on, “Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm.” And here’s the clincher: “Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and help in the completion.”
Isn’t this — clear thinking, clear expression, and clear progress — what excellent students do? Isn’t this the charge of great institutions? In Catholic schools, we’re lucky we can look to God to start the ball rolling: “Give me a keen understanding.” Faith reminds us that He heard our request.
When you trust God is behind it all, you can let your breath do its job. You can see faith happening everywhere, and we love seeing it in every corner of school life. This lens allows us to see light on the stage, on the field, in the lab, and everywhere else. This perspective helps us understand that faith isn’t saved for Sundays: we know we’re going to see it first thing Monday morning too. And we know this makes us very, very lucky.