• Next weekend (February 16-18) is Presidents’ Day Weekend; no school on Monday. Students return on Monday, February 18 by 7:45 PM.
• The next Dads’ Prayer Group meeting is Monday, February 18, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom. All dads are welcome.
• There will be a First Honors’ outing this Thursday.
• Congratulations to the basketball and soccer teams and coaches on their excellent season!
• The Winter Sports Awards ceremony is this Sunday, February 10, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom. All are welcome. A reception follows.
Once again this week the Gospel speaks of St. Peter; and once again we hear of Peter’s faults, rebuked again by our Lord. We should never forget, however, when we think of St. Peter, that he is a saint. Despite his faults, which to his humiliation are recorded all through the New Testament, he still ended up becoming very holy, indeed one of the Church’s greatest saints. And it is this, perhaps, what makes his life so attractive to us and makes him such a great example for us all. He was not perfect like an angel, but feeble like all men. However, what separates St. Peter from others is his humble perseverance. Perseverance: this was the key to St. Peter’s greatness; this is what separates him from that other apostle who fell but never go back up.
We learn from Scripture that St. Peter was with the Lord and His disciples since the earliest days. Like Judas, he accompanied our Savior in His public ministry. Like Judas, he witnessed countless miracles. Like Judas, he learned the loftiest truths at the feet of Him Who is Truth. Like Judas, he beheld the Word Incarnate with his own eyes, touched him with his own hands. Like Judas, he was given a holy and prestigious vocation and countless graces in order to fulfill that vocation. But Judas rejected those graces, gradually fell from imperfections to venial sins, to mortal sins, to finally betraying the Son of God with a kiss, and ended, as Scripture tells us, by hanging himself, bursting open with all his bowels gushing out. St. Peter, though he too fell many times, confessed his sins, cooperated with God’s graces, grew in holiness, humbly persevered until the end and won for himself a martyr’s crown and eternal beatitude.
St. Philip Neri, as holy as he was, used to say every day as he held the consecrated Host in his hands, Lord, beware of Philip, lest he betray You today. Such a “holy mistrust” of ourselves is very wise and keeps us on guard against spiritual pride and presumption. For we know that the maxim, Once saved always saved, is false. On the contrary, we must, as the Apostle states, “work out our salvation in fear and trembling,” praying humbly everyday for final perseverance—a grace which cannot be merited; and we must never slacken our efforts, but rather strive constantly for perfection in the spiritual life; for, one of the greatest obstacles to our salvation is the thought that we have already attained it. As C. S. Lewis once said, Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
There is not one among us who knows for sure whether he will finish this life like Judas or like St. Peter. All of have been called by God to be saints and as religious even to spend all our earthly days with the Word Incarnate, just like St. Peter, just like Judas. The next time you are tempted to grow even just a little lukewarm in your efforts towards sanctity and to give up, remember that Judas and St. Peter were once as you are now, and someday soon you will be like one of them. The question is, which one?
• For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
• For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For Mrs. Janet Russell, who is suffering severe health problems.
• For the Sturkie Family’s very special intention.
• For the health of Josephine White.
• For the Church.