Each month, Blessed Sacrament Catholic School focuses on a Christian value or virtue.  As we enter September, we focus on the virtues of Simplicity and Charity taken from the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament’s charism.  The IWBS Sisters administered our parish school for a number of years before transitioning to a lay administration model.  We remember Sr. Eileen Gurecky, our beloved principal who is now enjoying her eternal reward with the Blessed Sacrament.

As Christian parents and/or educators we have a responsibility to help our children learn about the virtues and how to live them out in the their lives. The Catechism tells us, “A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself.”  When through our words and examples we teach our children about a virtuous life we help them develop those habits that lead them closer to their best self, the person God is calling them to be.  In doing this we also grown and strengthen our virtuous habits leading us closer to our best self. Throughout the school year at Blessed Sacrament we will be learning about the virtues, what they mean, and what they look like in our everyday life.  This month we will start with the virtues of Charity and Simplicity.

Charity has been referred to as the queen of all virtues. Jesus teaches us about this in the Gospel of Matthew when he answers the Pharisee’s question about which commandment is the greatest.  Jesus replied to them, “ You shall love the Lord, you God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” In this passage Jesus not only gives the definition of the virtue of charity, but also tells us the whole law and all the commandments depend on it.  We are called to live out this love of God and neighbor in all that we do and when we do this our thoughts, words, and actions become less selfish and more selfless.  Charity is more than giving of things to others, it’s the giving of our time, talents, treasures and self to serve God and others.  It can be as simple as sharing a smile or sitting with a friend who’s going through a tough time.

Simplicity is one of the characteristic virtues taught by Saint Vincent de Paul.  It goes hand and hand with many of the virtues, especially charity.  If we are overly focused on our wants and desires we struggle to be charitable to our families, friends and all the other people we encounter in our lives.  Simplicity is not only simplifying of excess things in our lives, but is also simplifying the distractions that keep us from focusing on the Lord.  It focusing on doing everything in love of God in a selfless way.  It frees us from being bound to what everyone else wants from us and allows us to look to what God wants from us.  And when we are truly focused on His will it will most certainly bring about charitable actions in our lives.

Let us pray that as we all develop a deeper understanding of the virtues together this year we use it as an opportunity to grow in our faith and become more like Christ.  Let us challenge ourselves and our children to find ways big and small to be more charitable and simplistic in our lives.