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The Incarnation on the School Corridor

20 December, 2011

Incarnation can be a very concrete experience. The author Lloyd Bracken is Faith Development Co-ordinator at Ceist Education Office, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

I was in the middle of an Irish lesson one morning when the intercom broke our flow. Ciúnas descended as we heard the urgency in the Principal’s voice apologising for interrupting classes.

‘This is an urgent message. Will a student in the first year area, who possesses an inhaler, please come to the front foyer immediately?’

Several boys were fast to react; ‘I have one Sir’ came the chorus of voices. ‘Only one is needed lads. Pádraig imigh leat ar luas a chara. Tá buachail i dtrioblóid éigin’.

As I opened the door and let Pádraig out I could see that what was happening in Room Four was also happening along the corridor. Like greyhounds out of traps in Shelbourne Park, inhaler-carrying students came running with intent from each room. All the boys continued to the foyer though it was obvious that only one was necessary to respond to the emergency.

Of course, each boy knew from personal experience what was at stake here. Each knew only too well that gasping for life-giving breath that some of us take for granted. Each wanted to be the saviour and it wouldn’t matter if it was friend or foe.

The ‘ciúnas’ was held in suspense till Pádraig returned to a communion not only restored, but deepened. The incarnation had just been played out in the corridors and foyer of our humble school. ‘Whatsoever you do to the least of these my little ones that you do unto me’.

In essence, it is love that is at the heart of both Eucharist and education. If education is to be understood more as lighting the fire of love rather than filling the bucket of information Eucharist needs to be understood as flux of life as well as ritual of sacrament. Anywhere bread is broken as forgiveness, understanding, even sharing an inhaler when a friend gasps for breath …Christ is present.

As the hymn sings, ‘Let every breath, everything that I am never cease to worship You’.

Christ’s living body active in our school.