Every day, I get to experience the joy of teaching Kindergarten, a time when the minds of young children are at a crucial point developmentally. Part of my job as their teacher is to form them into becoming a “person for others,” a term we use often in our classroom. There are days when showing them and teaching them about Christ’s mission of love and mercy turns into a lofty concept that is difficult for them to grasp. Toys fly across the room and children chase each other with plastic carrots, and teaching them to be a “person for others” seems difficult. Being a person for others is someone who does the work of Jesus Christ: loving others unconditionally and helping those who need help. Being with these children every day made me think more closely about unconditionally loving everyone we come into contact with.
An example of this love and sacrifice is Our Holy Father, Pope Francis. This Pope has taught the world to take chances, get messy, and make mistakes for Christ. His merciful methods, when speaking about teachings of the Church, show Catholics and the world that he believes each person can truly be an evangelizer to all people. He has reminded us that while it is one thing to write a check to a food drive, it is another thing entirely to truly be with the poor and suffering. He has shown us that we are all brothers and sisters in this journey of faith, and we are on the road together. We all need to be a “person for others.”
There is so much to distract us from the people around us. We often turn a blind eye to all kinds of problems. We rarely stop to think about how our actions can affect others. As a way to be more reflective, I like to pray the Examen. The Examen is a short prayer by St. Ignatius of Loyola, which is usually reflected upon in a quiet space:
First, find a moment of gratitude from the day. Next, ask for freedom of something that has been weighting you down. Then, review the day in all of its parts both good and bad. Finally, talk to God about anything on your mind or heart. Finish the Examen with a short prayer, and you are ready to begin a new day filled with grace.
When we take the time to reflect on our lives and ourselves, we can become aware of the kind of person we want to be. Jesus came to the world with a selfless mission to encourage and share His love and compassion. When we are merciful, loving, and caring with other members of the Church, face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder, we can evangelize and change the world. It begins with you; be a person for others!
Krissy Kirby is a kindergarten teacher in the Archdiocese of Washington