Yesterday was the first day of classes at the school where I used to teach. I know that I made the right decision to leave, but I still miss it, especially the students. So a bit of nostalgia feels entirely in order right about now.
Being a Catholic school, we were expected to begin each class with a prayer. Rather than having the students mindlessly recite an "Our Father", I liked to use a song as a reflection on that day's lesson topic. In the last few years, the very first song I played was "Breath of Heaven" by Amy Grant, from her 1992 Christmas album. It imagines Mary's thoughts and emotions as the birth of Jesus draws near.
I have traveled many moonless nights, cold and weary with a babe inside, and I wonder what I’ve done. Holy Father you have come and chosen me now to carry your son.
I am waiting in a silent prayer. I am frightened by the load I bear. In a world as cold as stone, must I walk this path alone. Be with me now; be with me now.
Breath of Heaven, hold me together, be forever near me, Breath of Heaven. Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness, pour over me your holiness for you are holy, Breath of Heaven.
Do you wonder as you watch my face, if a wiser one should have had my place? But I offer all I am for the mercy of your plan. Help me be strong; help me be; help me.
I used these words in the past to begin a very long conversation with my students on the meaning and practice of faith. I use them today to remind myself about the kind of faith I aspire to live. As I wrote on Wednesday's "Good News" post for the Solemnity of the Assumption, Sister Mary is the ultimate model of fidelity to God's love.