Yes Man!

Hey you! Yeah, you!! You’re awesome!

My name is Dan, and I am a proud graduate of Archbishop Molloy High School (Go Stanners!)! I attended the University of Scranton (Go Royals!), where I majored in English, Theology, and Philosophy and minored in Counseling and Human Services.

Right now I am part of the Alliance for Catholic Education, a program through the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!) that aims to strengthen and sustain under-resourced Catholic schools around the country by sending college graduates to serve as teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools. Our mission is to help our students achieve the goals of college and heaven. This program allows me to pursue my Master’s of Education at Notre Dame and, more importantly, it allows me to live out the Marist call to say “yes” all the time as a middle school English Language Arts and Religion teacher in Fort Worth, Texas.

Though I am far from Molloy and Esopus where I first experienced and fell in love with the Marist charism, my Marist identity is something I cling to every day. It gives me a specific way to live out Christ’s mission and energizes me to make God known and loved. A vital component of living out our Marist mission, in my humble opinion, is to say YES in our lives, just as Mary did.

At the Annunciation, Mary agreed to bring the son of God into the world. This changed the world forever and gave us the greatest gift in the form of Jesus Christ. When she said “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38), she said “yes” to God’s invitation, giving us true joy, peace, and love.

Our own “yes” can do the same things for ourselves and those around us. This blog will be primarily focused on saying “yes” in our everyday lives by reflecting on the power that “yes” can have.

It is all too common to only focus on ourselves and our own struggles so much that we forget how much we can really impact someone. Every interaction is a choice to either say "yes" or "no" to loving others. It is easy to just go on autopilot and never consider where we can say "yes" to doing the right thing (I certainly am guilty of it), but it takes a conscious decision to tear down that wall of apathy and begin to say the word that invites love into our lives.

The opportunities are always there to say “yes” to accepting or giving out love, to be grateful, or to be a better version of ourselves. My amazing students give me several opportunities to say “yes” with their multitude of questions.

“Mr. O’Reilly, can you help me with this question?”

“Mister, that test was hard. Can we play that game you taught us for a few minutes before our next class starts?”

“Mr. O”Reilly, can you explain what you just said? I wasn’t listening.” This one comes up quite a bit.

Of course, I cannot say “yes” to all of their questions (“Can we not have class today?” or “Can I not do my homework?”), but I still get the opportunity to say “yes” and bring some patience, joy, guidance, love, and support into my classroom by saying “yes” to my students and their needs.

God does not come down in a cloud from heaven and ask me to do something for Him. He instead comes to me through my students, and my “yes” to them and their needs is a “yes” to God’s constant invitation to love others and Him.

How is God calling you to say "yes"? Where are the opportunities in your life to knowingly agree to bring joy, peace, and love into the world?

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