October 18, 2014

●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.  

 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.


October 11, 2014

● All parents asked to be present (insofar as is possible) for the Parent-Teacher ConferencesSunday, October 12, which begin at 6:00 PM

Arrival Times: Freshmen 6:00 pm; Sophomores 6:30 pm; Juniors 7:00 pm; Seniors 7:15 pm.
Continue: To the following classrooms:

                  Perpetual Help:  Fr. Justin, Mr. Meschuk, Mr. Van Wye,
                  St. Norbert:  Mr. Whalen, Mr. Harnish
                  St. Joseph:  Fr. Benedict, Fr. Brendan, Frater Peter-Adrian,
                  St. John Bosco:  Fr. Bartus
                  St. Michael:  Frater Daniel, Mr. Tomescu
                  Pope Benedict:  Fr. John Henry, Fr. Maximilian, Mr. Smith
                  Science Lab:  Mr. Lieggi
                  School Office:  Fr. Charbel
                  Mobile Office:  Mr. Aguilar
                  Parking Lot:  Fr. Victor

●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

● This Wednesday, October 15, all freshmen, sophomores and juniors will be taking the PSAT from 8:15 AM to 11:30 AM. Seniors will have morning classes as usual.  All afternoon classes will meet as usual..

●First Quarter Oral Exams are Tuesday, October 21 through Friday, October 24.

● Congratulations to our football team on their recent victory over Pacific Lutheran! Our next football game is Friday, October 17, at 3:30 PM, at St. Michael’s.

● Our next cross country meet is Friday, October 17, at 3:00 PM, at Irvine Park.

Sermon by a Norbertine Priest
Lord, may your children be like red-hot coals, but without flames to be seen from afar. Let them be burning embers that will set alight each heart they come into contact with.
[The Forge, no. 9]

St Josemaria often evokes images of fire and light to show how the Christian faith is spread from one heart to another, as the first point of The Forge likewise makes clear: “The Lord uses us as torches, to make [His] light shine out.” St Josemaria continues themes that came from the lips of Jesus Himself—who, with images of burning lamps and casting fire upon earth, heralded the same message: Gospel faith spreads by personal contact. Just as light provides guidance and fire transforms everything it touches, so should Christians do as the Master did and cause the hearts of all whom they meet to burn within them (cf. Lk 24:32).
Kindling this kind of spiritual fire is not something we can do with our own natural talents or charm. God makes use of these gifts, to be sure, but if we want to make Christ better known and loved by all around us, we must radiate Christ from within. St Paul’s own burning ambition to be “all things to all men, that I might save at least some” powerfully underscores this fundamental Christian desire to reach as many as possible with the light and love of Christ acting through us (1 Cor 9:22).

But where do we begin? Since Christian love is ultimately global in its aims, seeking the conversion and salvation of “all men,” how can we bring St Paul’s far-reaching ambition to bear on private life? Where, concretely, do we begin to enkindle the fires of faith in the hearts of others—those fires that our Lord came to light and which St Josemaria prays we will spread as burning coals to others?

 Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) assures us that God “has given us a clue” as to our starting point.  “God's merciful Providence,” he says, has narrowed our field of action to what is nearest and most familiar: “We are to begin with loving our friends about us, and gradually to enlarge the circle of our affections, till it reaches all Christians, and then all men.”
Citing St John the beloved disciple as a prime example, Newman charts the natural scope of Christian love and influence: “Now did [St John] begin with some vast effort at loving on a large scale? Nay, he had the unspeakable privilege of being the friend of Christ. Thus he was taught to love others; first his affection was concentrated, then it was expanded.”

This insight into Christian love as first “concentrated” and then “expanded” was close to the heart of Newman. Upon his elevation to the College of Cardinals in 1879, he chose as his cardinal’s motto Cor ad cor loquitur (“Heart speaks to heart”), indicating the very personal and humble interactions that often characterize most types of evangelization and apostolate. In fact, he saw in Divine providence a ‘built-in’ order for human life that provides widening circles of relationships and of influence.

God’s wisdom normally puts us first into the family, then into a wider circle of friends, and then into contact with the world at large. Thus, “the cultivation of domestic affections as the source of more extended Christian love,” says Newman, is the normal means for arriving at the universal love to which Jesus calls us: “the best preparation for loving the world at large, and loving it duly and wisely is to cultivate an intimate friendship and affection towards those who are immediately about us,” because “the love of our private friends is the only preparatory exercise for the love of all men.”

St Josemaria likewise advises us to allow the natural scope of this love to fan-out continually: “Those who have met Christ cannot shut themselves in their own little world: They must open out like a fan in order to reach all souls. Each one has to create—and widen—a circle of friends, whom he can influence with his professional prestige, with his behaviour, with his friendship, so that Christ may exercise his influence by means of that professional prestige, that behaviour, that friendship” (cf. Furrow, no. 193).

Our Lord prepared us to expand His kingdom via relationships of trust and friendship. He clearly envisions a kingdom spread from heart to heart, from one person’s inner life to another’s: “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Lk 17:20-21). It was, in fact, our Lord’s own way of reaching souls, perhaps most poignantly in His conversation with the Samaritan woman (Jn 4:5-42).
 From a private conversation at a well in Samaria, the Lord transforms a sinful and skeptical woman into an apostle: “So the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’ They went out of the city and were coming to him” (Jn 4:28-30). Owing to her personal witness, they likewise came to Him and believed, “for we have heard for ourselves” (4:42).

From such humble and hidden exchanges come the harvests that Jesus Himself contemplated within the hearing of the Apostles: “I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest” (Jn 4:35). He said this, let’s not forget, just moments after having had a private conversation with a “stranger,” who hastened away from her dialogue with Him proclaiming to her fellow villagers that she had met the Messiah. Once the fire is lit, it spreads without delay.
Because the ordinary means of evangelization will always depend upon a Christian’s personal contact with others, St Josemaria highly valued the “apostolate of friendship,” which creates a relationship of trust and genuine love wherein the truths of the Gospel can be more effectively conveyed and received. Throughout His public ministry people came to Jesus because they trusted Him. They knew that He was good and meant to do them good. If we too are trustworthy, sincere, and plainly intent on doing good to all, then the same result will follow: people will come, not to us, but to Jesus through us.
Cross Country Team

The Cor ad cor loquitur of Newman not only embodies this Gospel teaching, but also opens our eyes to the dignity which is ours as messengers of the Gospel, friends of Christ, children of God: “We are the children of God, bearers of the only flame that can light up the paths of the earth for souls” (cf. The Forge, no. 1). God has entrusted to each of us a flame of the fire that Jesus came to cast on the earth—the tongue of fire given each of us at Confirmation should never cease to burn, grow, and attract.

If we, as St Paul exhorts Timothy, “fan into flame the gift of God” we have received (cf. 2 Tm 2:6), many others will receive through us the light and warmth of that flame which Christ first lit within our own hearts.

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.