The Lord speaks clearly today in the Gospel for those who put an emphasis on learning and knowledge: if one is truly knowing and wise, then he will be vindicated by his works. (cf. Mt 11:19)
It's always a struggle to discern whether or not, as a teacher, I'm educating my students in the best way possible. I am continually forced to ask myself the question (and "forced" is no understatement): am I acting in the name of divine Wisdom, or in the name of selfish expectation?
This morning at Mass, I was comforted (and challenged) by the words of Scripture: "Wisdom is vindicated by her works." Of course, this leads me to think that the only reasonable alternative is that selfish expectation is condemned by its works.
Nonetheless, contrary to our own intuitive designs, the greater glorification of God often comes by insuring that those in our charge (as Christian teachers of the faith) will be made capable of glorifying God freely in their own lives.
As I reflect on Christ's words to his disciples--that "wisdom is vindicated by her works"--yesterday's Gospel passage comes to mind, in which Jesus speaks of John the Baptist as the greatest of all men born of women. (cf. Mt 11:11) It was John's entire kerygmatic leitmotif that he must decrease while the Messiah must increase. (cf. Jn 3:30)
And it is the same passion that must infect every Christian teacher: namely, that the glory of God must increase in the aggregate, while selfish expectation decreases in the individual. Moreover, we must believe that if we teach the Wisdom of God authentically, and with dedication to the intricacies and beauties of its form, God's glorification by the many will be the glorification of God by the teacher. After all, since Christ is the true teacher, what else can we do than make ourselves as small as possible, and know that God himself--in his Wisdom--will vindicate our works of humility and virtue?
This is a monumental charge for anyone, and particularly for me, still seeking the grace fully to allow the Lord to be glorified, instead of expecting to glorify him by my own merit.
Please pray for me, and for my students.