17.11.14

November 17, 2014

Announcements

● Next Sunday, November 23, there is a meeting for all (sons and dads) who are going to Rome this year.  The meeting begins at 7:00 PM in the St. Norbert Room.

● Students are dismissed for Thanksgiving Break on Tuesday, November 25, at 2:15 PM (and no sooner).


●Applications to renew tuition assistance are available now. Applications must be postmarked by February 3rd.  http://stmichaelsprep.org/images/stories/Admissions/psas_financial_aid_application.pdf


Athletics
Congratulations to our football team on their excellent season! The following CIF league awards were granted:
·         Express League Offensive Player of the Year: Ian Baldau
·         First Team All-League (Offense) Orion La Cour, Michael Johnson, Matthew Loeffler
·         First Team All-League (Defense) Michael Emanuel, Benedict O'Brien, Anthony Hierro
·         Honorable Mention: Daniel Layton
·         Coach of the Year: Coach Aaron Meschuk


Sermon by a Norbertine Priest
Moms' Night Out
“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).

God has just spoken to us and told us some astonishing things. Jesus has told us that God is not only pleased by our repentance but that all of heaven rejoices when we change our course for the better. Are we so important that we can cause angels and saints to praise the Lord on our account? Are our lives so valuable that one act of repentance, however small, can have some impact on the joy of heaven? Yes! The saints and angels praise the glory of God’s grace and the mercy that changes sinful people into saints—into pure reflections of the holiness of God.

Newly Ordained Fr. Ryan Hoke (Class of 2004)
Our value as human beings comes from our having been made in the image and likeness of God, and then having been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus. These are not small things. We might often attach our self-worth to comparatively small things, like our appearance, intelligence, strength—even never having sinned in one way or another—somewhat like being a stamp or coin collector proud that something is still in “mint condition.” 

But Jesus is at great pains to assure us of our true value in God’s eyes, because the more we have proper self-esteem, the more we see the necessity and true value of repentance. Repentance is more than emptying the trash. Repentance is restoration. Repentance means not only rescue, or being found, but the restoration of God’s image in the soul. That’s what all the rejoicing in heaven is about. Those who see God face to face rejoice to see God reflected in us on earth.

And so when our Lord appeals to us sinners, He uses some surprising expressions of esteem. He speaks as though each of us is just waiting for the right comparison, the right parable, to move us over the line to put ourselves entirely in God’s hands, so as to repent and be restored more completely. He says: “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” The answer to both questions is: nothing. Are we left unmoved by that? Or how about when the Lord compares Himself to a mother hen gathering her little chickens beneath her wings? Are we left unmoved? Or how about: “Do not be afraid; you are worth more than a host of sparrows”? Are we left unmoved? Or how about: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s will to give you the kingdom”? Are we left unmoved?
Marine Science Field Trip

Sometimes we need to be called “men of little faith,” sometimes “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe!” Sometimes we need to be taken to task like that. But whether the words of Christ are gentle or bracing, we are always met by a love about which we have to make a decision: Should I keep going along as I am? Or, should I change my course? That is what repentance is all about. Are my words and actions leading me to God or away from God?

When we think about repentance, we might think only about “big” sinners who after many years finally turn away from their vices. But we have no need to picture some imaginary bad man coming back to God after having been fallen-away. St Augustine says that Jesus did not come to save us because we were already good, but because we were not.

Since we are all sinners, the Lord speaks directly to each one of us here. Wherever we are on our journey, this is about us. Repentance can be “big,” in the case of a hardened sinner, as when the sheep has clearly wandered away on its own from the fold. But more often, repentance takes place on a smaller scale, in a more subtle, more hidden way.  
Since our Lord’s words are intended for us, what is the intended effect? What does our Lord have in mind? What kind of repentance do I need? When Jesus speaks to us, He gets into our personal space and confronts us with love and mercy. He sits at table with us and asks: How is your life going? Where is your life going? He really wants us to pay attention to that. Pay attention to how Jesus “invades” your personal space (without asking you) to tell you something about yourself that needs to change. See His interventions as invitations to be restored.
Talent Show

Our Lord’s enemies interpreted His association with sinners as approval of sin. “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” To be a friend of sinners is not to be a friend of sin. Our Lord interprets His own actions for them and for us: No, I am going out to find what belongs to me. I am going out to claim what I have purchased. What the Pharisees and scribes intended as an insult is, for us, a Divine title that will save us: Friend of sinners!

And this brings us to where we are today: At table with Christ Jesus. Aren’t we all here today at the table of the altar? And why? Just like the sinners who came to the Lord in the first century, we have all come because we have heard His voice, His invitation, and come to Him to have new life. And we have come hoping to hear a word that will justify us, move us, to repent so as to be restored.


 Prayer Requests
● For Mrs. Donna Loeffler, who is undergoing some health problems.

● For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.

7.11.14

November 7, 2014

Announcements

●Applications to renew tuition assistance are available now. Applications must be postmarked by February 3rd.  http://stmichaelsprep.org/images/stories/Admissions/psas_financial_aid_application.pdf

Talent Show
●Our next Open House is Saturday, November 8th at 3:30 PM. Do you know someone who might be interested in attending St. Michael’s next year?

Moms’ Night Out:  this Sunday, November 9, at 6:30 PM, in the Perpetual Help Room.  All moms are invited!

Athletics
●Congratulations to the football team, who won their first-round playoff game over Upland Christian Academy, 36-32.  We now advance to the 2nd round of playoffs (date, place and time TBA).

Sermon by a Norbertine Priest

What is a tower?  A tower is a man-made structure that connects earth and sky.  From the context of the Gospel passage we just heard, it’s not unreasonable to assume our Lord, by speaking of building a tower, is referring to working “out your salvation with fear and trembling,” as St. Paul put it in the first reading.
Talent Show
Who, then, are the onlookers, who jeer and ridicule when someone cannot complete the project he has started?  Surely the demons, who in their malice only find a glimmer of something resembling happiness when a Christian soul is lost forever.  How they must have chortled at Babel, when men, in order to make a name for themselves, attempted to make a tower, to scale heaven as if they were gods, and God threw them down in confusion, not only of speech but of heart.

The question then becomes imperative: what resources failed our builder that he discontinued the tower?  What had he relied on that then failed to materialize?  Before the parable Jesus had said, “If any one comes to Me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.  Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”  And after the conclusion He said, “Every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be My disciple.”

What the builder failed to accrue, then, was ironically the dwindling of all the things he held most dear to himself.  He must hate his own life, says the Incarnate Word of God.  He must renounce self-will.  Only then will a man have the inner resources to complete his tower of salvation because only then does he submit to the will of God, which is absolutely necessary for salvation.

So essential is this renunciation of doing it my way; of not letting other people tell me what to do or how to do it, where to sit or how to walk; of getting my own ideas passed into law—so vital is this hating of my very life that multitudinous Rosaries, endless hours of spiritual reading, actually singing hours of the Office with perfect pitch, countless Masses, and even decades in the monastery will not give us the slightest headway in holiness without it.  If we do not carry our cross, we cannot be Christ’s disciple.  And carrying the cross means contradiction, negation of my self-will, forfeiture of my pride.  If we have survived the long years and interminable prayers without interior surrender, all we have done is carved out for ourselves a comfort zone which in the end will more resemble a spiritual tomb.

Talent Show
I have used the monastery as the example, not because only those who live here must combat our self-will, but because we are the extreme example.  Everyone has self-love that needs to die; everyone has a cross to carry.  Religious life affords more help, more access to the grace we need to do it.  This is why our graduates have realized that never again will their spiritual lives be so focused as the time they spent here.  Few in this world have the luxury of daily Mass, Holy Hour, and Confession.
But whether we are religious or lay, we have a very sharp axe we can lay to the inmost root of our rotted tree, and since it’s basically foolproof it works like magic.  St. Paul says, “Beloved, obedient as you have always been…work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  We’ve been able to step into the ring and start slugging away only because of obedience.  Through it we know the will of God, and thus by submitting to authority we place discipleship to Christ ahead of our very wants and desires. 

We should pray much for each other that we become ever more docile to our superiors—whether religious or secular, at home or school—for this is to pray that we not only be saved but become exceedingly holy.  But perhaps we should pray even more for those who do not appear to have superiors—president or pope or whoever—for that is the most dangerous position of all, and therefore our solicitude for them is a more urgent act of charity, one which also shows God how much we appreciate His attempts to make us His disciples forever.

 Prayer Requests
● For Mrs. Donna Loeffler, who is undergoing some health problems.
● For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.