May 18th 2016

Dear ACE Teachers,

Greetings from California where I am spending a week visiting my sister and her family for a vacation before ACE Summer begins. I tell many people, especially all ACE teachers, that self care is very important. I am practicing what I preach.
Last weekend was graduation at Notre Dame. It was a cold weekend weather wise, but warm with the love of families and friends celebrating our graduates. It is wonderful to see the love that is shared during the weekend. Graduation is bittersweet as there are many tears as everyone moves on to new opportunities. Our ACE community will experience this on July 9 th .
I know from many conversations with several teachers that these days can be a struggle. We are also all subjected to the human condition which can cause people to make bad decisions.You might be asking yourself how you can be at your best in teaching and at the same time tolerate students already checking out. How can you do well in the midst of chaos? I believe this question is getting to the basics of everyone’s life.
God created all life and when he had done so, he said “this is good.” When he created human life, he said “this is very good.” God created us in his image and likeness. This is important for us to realize because it reminds us of our dignity and worth and that of everyone else. I believe when we remember this, we are good and we treat others well. There are times when we forget this. You know this happens when you are not feeling good and you still show up to teach. Or it might be the students are not trying or struggling and things do not go well. This is a fact of life and it is part of the reality of life that every day is not great and we have to keep going.
It was necessary for Jesus to come and live among us because of the human condition. He came to teach us how to love. He taught so much about love that includes some of the following ideas.
1. The first commandment is to love God with our whole heart and soul and the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.
2. Love one another as I have loved you.
3. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and says, I have given you and example of how to
love.
4. Jesus on the cross says, Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.
5. If you say you love God whom you cannot see and hate your neighbor whom you see,
you are a liar.
Jesus continually reminds us to love others, especially our students, even when we do not want to. We keep going when we choose to love like Christ. These last weeks may be tough in the classroom, but let Jesus guide you through each day. Jesus says to you, I know you are tired and that you want the year to end as much as your students, but let my love for you lead you and give this love to your students.
Know I am praying for you and love you!
Father Joe
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