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Brother Robert Berger, FSC - Teacher in the Religious Studies Department of Manhattan College - Riverdale, NY

Brother Robert Berger, FSC – Teacher in the Religious Studies Department of Manhattan College – Riverdale, NY

Lasallian Prayer: December 22

Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God…

Opening Prayer

My son, when you come to serve the Lord,
Prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Cling to God, forsake God not;
Thus will your future be great.
Trust God and God will help you;
Make straight your ways and hope in God.
            -Sirach 2:1-3,6

The Rule – 65 – The Brothers of the Christian Schools
Prayer is primarily a gift which the Brothers receive from the Father, the Son and the Spirit.  For their part, the Brothers welcome this gift in all the events of their daily life and respond to it in praise, thanksgiving, intercession, or by asking for forgiveness.  They never tire of saying, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

This Sunday of Advent…

Matthew 1: 18-24

Who reading this reflection hasn’t ever asked, “Lord, what do you expect from me?”  One of my favorite Peanuts cartoons has only two frames.  In the first frame Charlie Brown is in bed on his side with his head resting on the pillow saying, “Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, ‘Why am I here?'”  The second frame shows him still in bed with his head on the pillow but he is now staring at the ceiling saying, “Then a voice answers me, ‘Why?  Where do you want to be?'”  So, this Advent, when you hear the same questions, listen for the voice of God who quietly says, “Why are you where you are?  I want you here.  I want to remind you who you are.”

I am not an expert.  Like you, I am a witness.  I have the need to be reminded who I am called to be in life at this moment and in this place.  We take great pride in being men and women connected to some Lasallian mission and this Advent/Christmas allows us to be reminded why we believe what we believe.  We come to prayer not to learn something new but rather to be reminded once again what we already know and believe and, may I suggest, we are reminded about whom we love.  Why are we here?  We are here because God wants us here.

My second source of encouragement during this season of Advent is our common experience:  when Lasallians come together we catch a glimpse of church that can take one’s breath away.  Whether it is Charlie Brown or anyone of us asking, “Why am I here?” we know that deep down we are here because we know that God’s dream is greater than anything we can ever imagine.  And each one of us is part of God’s dream.

We participate in God’s dream whenever we generate a spark of love and warmth and tolerance in our small circles of influence.  It may seem like almost nothing at the time, but it may be the most important and life-changing thing we will ever do and the most powerful way both to live ourselves and to live with others.  One small light can kindle a fire that changes the world.  God’s dream always begins with the anawim, the little ones.  We are the little people.  The light of life is given to us.  When we light a candle, we say to the darkness, “I beg to differ.”  During this Advent/Christmas season we are reminded that we are a people who beg to differ.

The message of Advent is simple.  Slow down.  Let God be God.  Your world deserves all the attention you can give it.  When that tiny voice goes off in your mind and asks, “Why am I here?”  Hear another equally gentle voice say, “Why? Where do you want to be?”  Be where you are.  Be attentive to the present.  See what is in front of you.  See what is within you.  Be amazed by the sea of beauty sparkling throughout your life, waiting to be noticed once again.  Let yourself be reminded of God’s dream.  Let this Christmas take your breath away. In 2014 the story of Jesus Christ deserves all your attention and do not forget to pay attention to your own story.

Let me tell you one reason why I write these words.  I want a vision.  I want a vision of how God’s influence is breaking into the world and I want to know, quite frankly, how you and I fit into the dream that God reveals today.  What is our present role in God’s kingdom, God’s plan, God’s dream?  Not to relive God’s dream as we perceived it in 2009 but for today 2014 and with the hope that it will lead us into 2019.  I want a vision of how we can make some small yet real difference in the lives of the people we meet day in and day out.

This Christmas let us ask, “Lord, what do You want of me?”

Reflection Questions

  1. Lord, what do You want of me?
  2. Lord, where am I called to be faithful during these days of my life?
  3. Lord, why am I here?
  4. Lord, how am I to serve?

Let Us Pray

In the exhibit Ashes and Snow we hear a gentle voice slowly whisper, “If you come to me at this moment, your minutes will become hours, your hours will become days, and your days will become a lifetime.”  As Lasallian educators strive, in the presence of God, to live in the moment, minutes of prayer become hours of ministry, hours of ministry become days of meaningfulness, and days of meaningfulness become a lifetime of gratitude.  Lord, deepen our gratitude.  Amen.

Live, Jesus in our hearts! Forever!

About Brother

Brother Robert Berger, FSC has been a member of the Institute for over 40 years.  Beginning his teaching ministry as a secondary mathematics and religion teacher in Christian Brothers Academy-Albany and Christian Brothers Academy-Lincroft, Brother was granted full-time studies in 1985 to pursue his interest in biblical studies and spiritual direction.  At Manhattan College since 1988, Brother Robert is a teacher in the Religious Studies Department, the Resident Director of Jasper Hall and has served as Vice President for Student Life.