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I first heard about St. Benedict Classical Academy through the St. Thomas More Teaching Fellowship, a fellowship program within the Archdiocese of Boston, which seeks to bring young, on-fire Catholics to teach at the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese. What drew me first to the Fellowship was the sense of mission-driven work. I’m young – I have an adventurous spirit, and like the missionary saints, I wanted to go to the corners of the world to encounter people, walk with them, and show them the love of Christ. Particular to teaching, I had a love for the Catholic intellectual tradition and a burning desire to share the fruits of my four years of contemplation of philosophy at university. 

When I heard about St. Benedict Classical Academy I knew that this was a special place and that I wanted to participate in it. However, how would SBCA fit in with the mission of the Fellowship? On the one hand, I dreamt about teaching at a distinctly Catholic school that was a little foretaste of heaven, but I also had a desire to go into the fire and defend the Faith like the great missionary saints. What would being a missionary disciple look like if I worked at SBCA, a school that is authentically, joyfully Catholic? I asked Headmaster Boren these questions when I was discerning my position and he said that SBCA is equally mission territory as other schools, albeit different missions. In order for SBCA to be successful in pointing students towards Christ, the school needs people who are mission-oriented. This mission of SBCA is not a walk in the park – it requires focus, dedication, and an unconditional longing for Christ. SBCA is truly mission territory. Mr. Boren’s response changed everything for me. I had this love for the Truth, classical education, and a mission life for a reason, and God was going to fulfill those desires at SBCA, in the unique way that He made me. 

Before starting in my role, my vision of mission involved doing a whole lot of talking with others, praying, answering questions about the Faith and the like. After four years of university I thought I was confident enough to defend the Faith. However, as soon as the school year started, I realized that being on mission here is quite different. I quickly learned that God sends us on a mission not primarily for us to do things, as much as He wants to love us in a unique way. The work that I am doing is completely unique to me and only me. Everywhere the Lord sends us is for the sake of sanctification because He loves us to the ends of the universe. Only He knows our hearts’ desires more profoundly than we know ours and only He knows how to love us most intimately. Sure, there is an attractiveness in going to barren lands and bringing out great fruit, but the saints show us that that is only possible because that is the way that God wants to love. The saints didn’t go on mission because they wanted it, but because God wanted to love them in a very particular way – a way that opens hearts toward Him and increases the desire for heaven. God sends us on a mission for us to receive His great love just as much as He calls us to give ourselves to others. I have learned that being on mission is never about what I can do and the qualifications I have, but rather it depends on the depth of my faith to respond to God’s call in love. 

There are so many beautiful examples in the Gospels of when Christ gives His disciples a profound experience of His love and then sends them out. A frequent passage that I reflect on is Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration. After Peter, James, and John experience the glory of the transfigured Christ, Jesus sends them down Mount Tabor for ministry. Immediately they encounter a possessed child. The child’s parents run to the disciples pleading and begging for help, but the disciples had such little faith that the child couldn’t be cured even after the awesome experience moments earlier. Yet Jesus cures the child, showing the disciples again His saving power. The disciples had the false idea that being disciples was a power that they possessed, or something that had to do. They failed to remember that it is a response to love. Being on mission for Christ means to always remember one’s own experience of the saving power of Christ, and to continue to beg for His mercy. The miracles performed are a result of a deep love and trust that overflows into the world. 

Every moment at SBCA is an opportunity for me to experience God’s profound love – to contemplate how perfectly God created the world, man’s hunger for God, and God’s search for man. Every day I realize how little I can love if I first don’t root myself in His love; a mission is only possible insofar as it is seen as a response rather than an initiation. Thus, every land that is crossed is mission land because God continues to pursue our hearts and to gather more sheep into His flock.


AUTHOR: Marie-Sophie Brackstone, Latin Teacher

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