●First Quarter Oral Exams are this Tuesday, October 21 through Friday, October 24. Students are encouraged to study; parents are encouraged to pray. First quarter report cards will be emailed to parents some time around October 30.
●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
● Congratulations to Coach Meschuk and the football team on their recent victory over Laverne Lutheran! The next football game is Friday, October 24, against Avalon [Catalina Island], at 5:00 PM. Parents are welcome to pick up their sons from St. Michael’s on Saturday morning, if they wish.
● Congratulations to Fr. Alan and the cross country team on their excellence performance these past weeks! The next cross country meet is on Friday, October 24, at 3:30, at Mt SAC [20900 W. Temple Ave, Walnut, CA 91789].
Sermon by a Norbertine Priest
“I used to discuss with my brother how we could become martyrs. We settled to go together to the country of the Moors, begging our way for the love of God, that we might be there beheaded.”
St. Therese of Avila desired at the age of seven to be martyred. She determined to run away with her brother in search of the Moors or Muslims who had invaded much of Spain from Africa throughout the centuries and had killed many Christians. Since she had read in the lives of the saints how many Christians and saints had received the crown of martyrdom at the hands of the Moors, she thought “this was a very cheap way”, as she put it, “to purchase the vision of God”. Although her attempt to become a martyr was thwarted by her uncle, who caught St. Theresa and her bother making their escape just outside of the city walls, she would have undoubtedly been inspired to do this after reading about St. James the Apostle and his conflicts with the Moors in Spain.
At the Battle of Clavijo, in the 9th Century, the Moors had demanded a yearly tribute of 100 Christian maidens from the Spaniards and, in return, the Moors promised not to attack them. The Christian King Ramiro I refused to pay the tribute and called on Christian knights to march against the Muslim Moors. The Christians were surprised to find an immense army of Moorish troops and were forced to take refuge in the castle at Clavijo. That night King Ramiro had a vision that would change the tide of the battle for Spanish Catholics and be a source of hope and inspiration to them for centuries. King Ramiro said “I was sleeping, when the blessed Santiago appeared to me. He assured me he was Santiago (or St. James), the blessed Apostle and that God had entrusted him with the guardianship of Spain”. He continued, “Be courageous, I will assist you tomorrow to vanquish your enemies. However, many of your soldiers will be destined for eternal rest and will receive the crown of martyrdom during your struggle for the name of Christ. Therefore, at dawn, after receiving the sacrament of penance with the confession of sins, after receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Mass, do not be afraid to challenge the Moor’s, invoking God’s name and mine, and be certain that they will fall by the edge of the sword.” After preparing for battle, as the Apostle had ordered, they attacked, using “Santiago” for the first time as a war cry. As Santiago had promised, he appeared in the middle of the battle as a great white knight, with a white banner on a white horse crushing the enemy and leading the Christians to victory.” Earning the title “Santiago Matamoros” or St. James the Moor slayer.
St. Theresa would have been well aware of this tradition and, during her own lifetime, of the tribute paid to Santiago Matamoros by Don John of Austria who travelled to the tomb of the Apostle in Compostela after he defeated the Muslim Turks at the Battle of Lepanto. However, as the victory at Lepanto was attributed to those praying the Holy Rosary far from the conflict, St. Theresa discovered that her crown would not be a martyr’s but that of a virgin forged through prayer within the walls of the cloister. Nevertheless, the efficacy of her prayer life does not pale in comparison to those knights who fought courageously and confidently at the side of Santiago the Moor slayer in the battle of Clavijo.
In St. Theresa’s autobiography she tells us about the graces she receives through her life of prayer. She say’s “Seeing, then, that our Lord is so powerful, — as I see and know He is, — and that the evil spirits are His slaves, of which there can be no doubt, because it is of faith, — and I a servant of this our Lord and King, — what harm can Satan do unto me? Why have I not strength enough to fight against all hell? I took up the cross in my hand, — I was changed in a moment into another person, and it seemed as if God had really given me courage enough not to be afraid of encountering all the evil spirits” (Ch. XXV. "Divine Locutions. Discussions on That Subject" ¶ 24).
|Coach Aaron Meschuk|
“I feared them so little, that the terrors, which until now oppressed me, quitted me altogether; and though I saw them occasionally, I was never again afraid of them — on the contrary, they seemed to be afraid of me. I found myself endowed with a certain authority over them, given me by the Lord of all, so that I cared no more for them than for flies. They seem to be such cowards; for their strength fails them at the sight of anyone who despises them. These enemies have not the courage to assail any but those whom they see ready to give in to them, or when God permits them to do so, for the greater good of His servants, whom they may try and torment” (Ch. XXV. "Divine Locutions. Discussions on That Subject").
Several controversies have developed surrounding these two extraordinary Spanish saints through the centuries. One concerning Santiago Matamoros or St. James the Moor Slayer was relatively recent. Officials of the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela wanted to remove a statue of the saint in the cathedral that depicts him on a white horse slaying the Moors. However, a public outcry, fueled by an bombing attack in Madrid by radical Muslims in 2004, prevented them from removing it.
Another controversy developed in 1622, after St. Theresa’s canonization, over who would be Spain’s patron saint; The Apostle, Santiago or the Mystic, St. Theresa of Jesus. Let us trust in the intercession and protection of both of these great saints. Asking St. James the Moor Slayer to defend our fellow Christians being persecuted in the Middle East and ask St. Theresa to intercede for us so that we might trust in the efficacy of our prayers far from the conflict for those who risk martyrdom by beheading.
● For Mrs. Donna Loeffler, who is undergoing some health problems.
● For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.