Times of crisis reveal what we are made of, urgently rousing the voices that restore meaning to uncertain wandering. So begins the foreword of this book, providing the framework in which these messages to teachers were given by Pope Francis while he was cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Although these messages were originally given to educators in Argentina, in a certain time and place, with particular social, political, and economic problems in view, they have universal appeal. The challenge to form the whole person, which involves more than providing a child with the ability to calculate, is relevant to teachers everywhere, regardless of their particular circumstances.
The cardinal began these reflections with the assertion that teaching is an act of hope, which requires a vision of what it means to be human, the belief that this vision can be realized to some degree even in a fallen world, and the creativity to find ways to achieve it.
Obstacles to human development must not discourage teachers, the cardinal wrote. "If we look at Jesus, incarnate Wisdom of God, we can realize that difficulties become challenges, challenges appeal to hope and generate the happiness of recognizing them as architects of something new. All this undoubtedly drives us to continue giving the best of ourselves."
Filled with the faith, hope and charity, as well as the practical wisdom, that have marked the pontificate of Pope Francis, these reflections are being made available in English to give encouragement and inspiration to educators in the United States.