Just when the Catholic school project was about to be abandoned, a worker found a sign that made all the difference.
When it was found, they couldn’t believe it. How long had it lain hidden there? Who might have lost it? What was that crucifix doing in the middle of the open field?
This kind of crucifix is typically carried by members of the Cursillos in Christianity movement, and they always carry it with faith and devotion, because it helps them to direct their works and thoughts to the Lord. If someone loses it, it’s likely for a greater good.
In a barren plot in Alcalá de Henares (a city northeast of Madrid, in Spain), in 2009, work was to begin on a Catholic charter school (Colegio Alborada). In spite of the difficult situations encountered by the personnel hired by the school up to that time, they stuck together and persevered with apostolic spirit.
It was four months before the planned beginning of the school year and there was only a temporary office at the construction site for new students to enroll.
The office for enrollment had been the target of opposition: people throwing stones and eggs, and holding protests. In the face of so much social pressure, very few students had enrolled.
On April 22, 2009, a worker caught the attention of the people involved in the project who were commenting on the possibility of abandoning the construction of the school. In fact, without popular approval and without a school building, what else could they do?
The answer was in the worker’s hands. Or rather, in his hands he held a small metal crucifix caked with mud, bearing a phrase engraved on the back: “I’m counting on you.”
The worker wasn’t sure why he had picked up the crucifix and taken it to the construction site to give it to the school principal instead of ignoring it and continuing to work. But those who were in the office realized right away that this event could not be coincidental. It was clearly a sign that the work had to go ahead, because it wasn’t the result only of human plans.
“If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31)
A different course
From that day on, the history of the school took a different path from the unhappy one it seemed doomed to follow up until then. Children began to sign up in large numbers, and the other initial difficulties disappeared. By September, the work was finished.
But the “greater good” that the little crucifix was to bring was not yet complete. The crucifix found on April 22, 2009, was a clear sign of a living Church.
“You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” (Jn 15:16).
Truly the Lord was waiting for each one of those who form the Colegio Alborada family. It is made up of people from different communities and charisms in the Church; people to whom God wants to say, “Love one another just as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34). No matter how hard we try, the Lord’s dreams always far surpass our own biggest dreams.
The story of the crucifix reminds us that all things work together for the good of those who love God. It is a true and providential story, which also challenges each one of us: for human beings, the meaning of the history of life is Christ, to live for Christ’s glory.
The true meaning of Catholic education
The crucifix found on the Colegio Alborada construction site renews our vision of Catholic education: we must aspire to provide an education that fills the lives of our students with the spirit of Christ. We must return to the memory of Christ every day: “For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.” (Hebrews 3, 14)
Alborada is truly a privileged school because it has that crucifix that always accompanies it and reminds it of its reason for being a Catholic school. On the back of the crucifix found in the open field is written: “I’m counting on you!” And in the light of this, “the Alborada family” can only feel truly fortunate because it makes evident the gratuitousness with which God tells them: “I am with you.”