By: Sarah Webster, Seton Teaching Fellows Cohort 5
Sarah, a 2018 graduate of University of Dallas, joined Seton Teaching Fellows after studying Psychology in college. She served as a third grade fellow at Brilla College Prep Elementary School & taught third grade Catechism at El Camino. She is now a full-time second grade teacher at Brilla & continues to share her love for the Lord with her bright smile and positive attitude.
I spent time this summer out in the mountains of Alberta, Canada. My grandad loved fly fishing and so when my parents moved within an hour of some of the best fly fishing in the world, we all learned how to tie on a fly and cast a line in the park near our house. Having just finished my Seton Teaching Fellows year in the Bronx, I was grateful to be out in the mountains. I was trying to catch this fish on the other side of the bank that I am certain was taunting me when the Holy Spirit reminded me of what Jesus told Peter when He called him to follow Him: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, did not make that comparison on accident. There are numerous similarities between what it takes to be a fisherman and what it takes to be a fisher of man.
- Look after yourself. Fishermen need the right gear – waders, a rod, a flybox with extra flys, etc. They need to know how to tie the flies onto their line. When you show up to the riverbank, there are reminders from more experienced fisherman about what to do if the strong current knocks you over and double checking that you’ve applied sunscreen. Fishermen know that in order to catch fish, they need to be prepared. As missionaries, we need to do the same. We need the right gear – a rosary, a prayer card attached to the back of our phone, a Bible, etc. We need to pray daily. We need to receive the sacraments regularly so that we don’t get swept by the current. You cannot evangelize to others without living the faith yourself.
- You cannot force a fish to come to your line. You can give it the closest fly to the kind landing. You can give it something wildly different. You can cast in all the places you know a fish to be, but a fish only comes to the line when it wants. The same goes for evangelization. You cannot force anyone to come to the Cross. You can be there to cheer them on and support them on their walk – but you cannot make them come. And that’s okay – you just keep showing up anyway. Even in all the beauty of God’s creation, there is no guarantee. You can be surrounded by towering mountains and remarkable wildflowers and people might not come. That’s okay, we are not here to save them. Christ already did that.
- Come to the river. When fishing, you have to get up early, you’ll probably get eaten by mosquitos, and you might spend a lot of time getting your line out of the bush – come anyway. You’ll see the sun dance on the river, laugh with your friends over your misfortune, and get a pretty sweet farmers tan. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a fish that you could have sworn was 13 inches but in reality was 5 inches. As a Seton Teaching Fellow, come to the classroom. You’ll have to get up early, you’ll spend every waking moment (and maybe in your sleep, too) thinking about 30 little faces, and you’ll have moments where you have no idea if you’re doing the right thing – come anyway. You’ll receive big smiles and sweet hugs, form friendships that last beyond your year, and more pieces of artwork than you could imagine. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch a kid come up from the water on his Baptism Day. And that is the moment where you understand why you’re here.
The fisherman who goes down to the water will always catch more than the guy who stays on the couch. Fellows, come down to the water.