Our “Signum Fidei”

SignumFideiBy Matthew Keough, Math Teacher, Christian Brothers Academy, Syracuse, NY

Adopted as part of the seal of the Institute by the 1751 General Chapter, the sign of faith, or “Signum Fidei,” has always been the star that both guides and illuminates the Lasallian mission. “Do you have such FAITH that is able to touch the hearts of your students and to inspire them with the Christian spirit? This is the greatest miracle you could perform, and the one that God asks of you, since this is the purpose of your work.” From the beginning, the Founder was led by his faith in God to educate the young and especially the poor. This same faith brings us to Rome today, in the form of a different vocational calling, as Young Lasallians.

As I arrived in Rome yesterday, and entered the chapel of the Motherhouse, I was once again struck by the importance of the Young Lasallian movement. Throughout history, faith has guided this Institute: from the founding, to the vocational calling of the Brothers, to the invitation of lay Partners into the mission, to today, and the Young Lasallian movement. We, as Young Lasallians, are guided by the same faith that led De La Salle. We have faith that through our effort this week, the work of the Founder will be fostered and animated by Young Lasallians throughout the world.

After arriving and unpacking, I quietly wandered the grounds, attempting to take in the historic magnitude of the relics, artwork, and magnificent history that was everywhere around me. On one particular wall, in beautifully scribed cursive, I read my favorite prayer,”Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.” The brilliance of this prayer is to see deeper than the obvious. This prayer, recited in every Lasallian classroom around the world is the prayer that unites not only the Young Lasallians representing 29 different countries who are gathered at the symposium, but all Lasallians. It is the prayer that reminds us that we are always led by our faith in God. Most important, it reminds us that when we are in the presence of our students, we are in the presence of God himself. It is faith alone that allows us to look at the faces in front of us and see the face of God. “Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.”

At the conclusion of the day, as I sat with my fellow Lasallians discussing the logistics of the symposium, I began to hear music in the background. Interwoven between songs in French and Spanish I heard, “Here I am Lord, I’ve come to do your will…” I listened quietly from the other room, silently acknowledging to myself the uniqueness of being gathered together Spanish or Vietnamese, vowed religious or lay, single, or married, but all young Lasallians; all listening with our ears of faith….

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have born my peoples pain.
I have wept for love of them, They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak My word to them,
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide,
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give My life to them,
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

So, as we travel on this one week journey as Young Lasallians, we remember the last words that De La Salle gave us: “I adore God guiding me in all the events of my life.” Faith has brought us together in Rome and that same faith will help us to animate the Young Lasallian movement, continuing the great work of our Founder. The Young Lasallian movement is our “Signum Fidei,” OUR sign of faith to the Lasallian world that no matter what form of a vocational calling brings us together, the work of the Founder will continue.

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13 thoughts on “Our “Signum Fidei”

  1. What a awesome opportunity to join with fellow Young Lasallians in Rome! Thank you all for living your vocation with joyful intensity that continues to inspire students to do the same.

  2. Matt —

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us! Live in the moment and enjoy all of those wonderful experiences. I am looking forward to your sharing all that you have learned. Peace.

  3. Matt – your words are an inspiring and prayerful testament to what our Founder has begun and what we have continued to build upon over these past many years! Your experience at the Young Lasallian Symposium will be a transformative one in your life and hopefully will inspire our faculty, staff and others associated with CBA to continue our mission here in Syracuse with a renewed sense of faith and zeal. Enjoy the remaining days of the symposium and your visit to the Eternal City!

  4. Matt – thank you for sharing your beautiful expression of Faith and how it helps you to see the face of God in each of the students sitting in front of you in class. Enjoy your stay in Rome. Hopefully you will have a lot more to share with us on your return.

  5. Tremendous, inspiring entry, Matt. Thanks for letting your light shine here in Syracuse and for sharing your gifts with the larger LaSallian community in Rome. You make us proud both here and abroad. Enjoy your stay!

  6. Very Nice Job, Matt! You are a great witness, Signum Fidei, to the value of this program and a great source of hope for the future of the mission and stewardship of the charism!

  7. Matt–Thanks so much for your sharing in this blog. I know your feeling as you wander through the Lasallian history there. However, even more compelling is your willingness to see God’s hand in your own journey–to Rome AND as a Young Lasallian. Have a faith-filled week!!

  8. What a great representative of our Lasallian Chapter at CBA, just shows the caliber of all the teachers we entrust our Children with. Thank you!

  9. So happy you arrived safely, Matt. You will talk about this experience for the rest of your life! Enjoy every minute!

  10. Matt–what a great way to start my morning by reading your blog entry! Enjoy every moment of the experience and take everything in. I hope you have a little time to explore the wonders of Rome too. My prayers are with you and all the Young Lasallians gathered at the Generalate.

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