“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” – Alan Cohen  (from TheDailyLove.com)

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”  ― Dalai Lama XIV (from GoodReads.com)

Let us remember… that we are ever and always.. in the holy presence of God.  ___________________________________________________________________________________

Chay Tanchanco, 11-13, De La Salle Blessed Sacrament, Memphis, TN

Lasallian Volunteers have a long list of responsibilities, many of which are never written down or easily explained. Our job descriptions rarely paint the entire picture of the nature of the job we signed up to do, (knowingly or otherwise) and we have little time or means to showcase what it truly means to live a year or two of service in our diversified and vastly unique shoes.

But for all that we do, it would be interesting to find a volunteer to respond to the trite and oft passed over question, “So what do you do?” and to hear something like, “I work for peace.”

Is that really in our contract or job description?

To me, though it would be uncommon to hear such a response, there is nothing more true to me than this.

As volunteers, we give of ourselves in many ways. We dedicate ourselves to teaching, counseling, tutoring and planning tirelessly; we step further and further out of our college bubbles of idealisms and self-centered educational journeys and widen our horizons to include those we have never had to meet before–let alone confront or even share a house or school building. And in this, we are always present. We are present to our own shortcomings, our own failures inside of ourselves, but we also physically present ourselves to put our convictions to test as we work.

This presence, in the Lasallian charism, is one of the center focuses of the daily prayer of the Brothers. It distinguishes us, and in my opinion, as one of the most important things that makes each individual a Lasallian. Our work is a manifestation of our love for God in each other, in those we have met before and those we have yet to meet. We leap into the darkness, not sure what exactly we have accepted, but knowing in our own unique ways that it is important, that we are making a change – stemming from our inner compassion. I can’t pretend that I have attained a final and internal peace that allows me to share infinite peace and joy with others — in fact, I would claim the opposite. I have such passion from being imperfect and seeing a necessary change in myself, that I can do nothing else but give my life in order to save it.

I think that’s what I love best about being a Lasallian Volunteer. In each of us, I see in our very presence.. the possibility of peace. Perhaps it will not be what we imagine, a world full of rainbows,  butterflies,  cookies,  people agreeing to treat each other fairly and share equally all that we have. But I see in us the power to overcome our inner and outer afflictions – to be willing to face the world with all of its sham and drudgery (as Max Ehrman would say) and see instead the holy presence of God.

As the Lasallian International Days of Peace come once again this year, Sept. 21, 2012- Oct. 21, 2012, I will make this my effort: to stand for peace in a world that teaches my students and the people around them to hate first, to forget where God is, and to hold on to that which is comfortable but not what helps them grow or change. As a Lasallian Volunteer, this is our ultimate responsibility. We may not have it explicitly in our creed or we may not answer in this way when we’re asked what our work compels us to do. But I have never been so sure of what I stand for.

I am a Lasallian Volunteer, and I stand for peace. And in being more fully realized as God’s image of compassionate existence through the work that I do, I am able to share that peace with the world.

Chay Tanchanco, 11-13, De La Salle Blessed Sacrament, Memphis, TN