January 18, 2020

Announcements

• Please note that if a student received a D or F on his report card for the first semester, that first semester grade must be remediated by taking the semester over through another educational provider (i.e. online program, etc.) in order to receive credit for it.  Because the school is closing on June 1, all make-up work must be done by then; otherwise the school cannot issue credit for it.
• The next Dads’ Prayer Group meeting will be on Sunday, January 26, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom.  All dads are welcome!
• Looking Ahead:  The Sacrament of Confirmation will be bestowed on those students who would like to receive it on Monday, April 27, at 5:30 PM, in the abbey church.  More information to come.

Athletics

• The next soccer game is Thursday, January 16, 2020 23, at 3:00 PM, at Grace Lutheran School [Huntington Beach 5172 W McFadden Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92649].
• The next basketball games are:  Monday, January 20, at 2:00 PM, at Ladera Sports Center; and Tuesday, January 21, at 2:00 PM, at Ladera Sports Center.

Sermon by a Norbertine Priest

And the Child grew and became strong, full of wisdom…

If there has ever been an understatement in Sacred Scripture, this is it.  For, the Christ Child was not only full of wisdom, He was and is Wisdom Itself, Wisdom Incarnate; and everything He has ever done and will ever do is a yet another manifestation of this wisdom.  And this wisdom began to manifest itself even from those very first moments of our Lord’s life on this earth.  However, because God’s ways are not man’s ways, and because His wisdom is far beyond our own, it can pass us by if we don’t look at it closely and reflect upon it.  In fact, His wisest and most wonderful deeds are oftentimes those which go almost totally unnoticed by the casual observer; to go a step further, we can say that His wisest and most wonderful deeds even appear to be utter foolishness to those who have no faith.  The Christmas story alone is steeped in these beautiful and wonderful displays of God’s wisdom.  But we must look closely in order to discover them.

Consider first the simple question, “Why did God even become man in the first place?” Certainly He did not have to do this in order to save us.  The Almighty God is not bound to do anything.  He could have saved us with a simple act of His will; and it seems like it would have been a whole lot easier.  But it was befitting His wisdom that He should take on our human nature in order to save us from eternal death because it was man who sinned, and so it was man who needed to repair that sin.  Yet the sin was a sin against an Omnipotent God, and so only an Omnipotent God was able to make reparation.  And so in order to solve this little dilemma, God became Man, a God-Man, Jesus Christ.  So now a true Man would pay the debt owed, as is just, and because this Man is also true God, He actually had the ability to truly pay back that infinite offense.  This was, indeed, the wisest way to save fallen man.

“But did He actually have to come as a little Child? Did He have to be born in a filthy stable, surrounded by animals? And why did He pick Bethlehem of all places, a tiny little town, why not Jerusalem, the center of Old Testament worship?” How foolish God can look to the unwise! Coming as He did, as a little Child, first of all, allowed Him to teach us about humility and love.  God loves us all so much that He not only stoops down, so to speak, to our world, but even completely abases Himself, coming as a helpless Infant, showing us the value of humility, teaching us with His own earthly life that “the last shall become first.”  And seeing that the sin of the angels, the sin of Lucifer, and the first sin of man, the sin of Adam, was ultimately a sin of pride, it makes perfect sense that He Who would destroy the bonds of sin should make His appearance in perfect humility, the complete opposite of the sin of pride.  This is also one of the reasons why He chose to be born in Bethlehem, a humble little town, as opposed to Jerusalem.  He would be born in Bethlehem, the City of David, since He would like David be a King; but He would die in Jerusalem, the home of the Temple, since He would offer up the eternal sacrifice of His life as Priest and Victim.  

Furthermore, by coming as a man He fulfilled to an eminent degree the Old Testament prophecies about the “Son of Man” who would come to save Israel.  “Son of Man” was a title of honor, one which signified the Messiah.  Little did the Jews of old know that the Son of God Himself would be that “Son of Man”.  Finally, by coming as a little Child, God’s divine nature was hidden from the devil.  The devil knew that something was special about this Child, but he had no idea at the time that It was God.  Not knowing God’s plan, the devil was unable to plot against it beforehand.  And so Christ, just as He has instructed us, was Himself “wise as serpents and gentle as doves” in order to overthrow that ancient serpent.  In such a way, you can say God added holy injury to this beautiful insult to the devil.  As St. Leo the Great said in his famous Christmas sermon:  When the fullness of time had come, which the inscrutable depths of divine council had disposed, the Son of God assumed human nature in order to reconcile it with its Author, so that the devil, the inventor of death, might be conquered by that same human nature which he himself had conquered…the Lord was joined in battle with this most wicked enemy, not in His [divine] majesty but in our humility…He took up humility without diminishing His majesty.  He remained what He was, while assuming what He was not.

And His wisdom is manifested as well in His decision to make Himself known initially only to a few:  to the shepherds, who as natives of that region, represent the Israelites—they also represent the simple folk of all nations; to the magi, who as foreigners, represent the Gentiles—and these also represent the more learned, in particular those who are humble enough to allow themselves to be taught by the Divine Infant.  If Christ had made known His divinity to the whole world right away, many would not have believed that He was also true Man.  And so He began by showing the weakness of the human nature He assumed, and only slowly revealed the omnipotence of His divinity which He retained.  In addition to these two groups, which taken together represent all of God’s elect, we have the presence of the angels, and even the brute animals.  And so all of God’s creation, from the lowest to the highest, are represented at that stable, all coming to adore, each in his own way, the Creator and Redeemer.  Even the inanimate creatures are at the command of this little Child of Mary; these are represented by the star which moved out of its normal course and led the magi to the stable.  In fact, this is why they fell down and worshipped Him as God; they knew that stars don’t just move around like that one did.  They saw that that star was clearly following the command of that little Child.

Even the time chosen by God for His birth was a manifestation of His wisdom.  He did not come to earth immediately after the Fall of Adam and Eve, because He wanted man to labor under the bondage of sin and his own weakness for many generations so that he would recognize his need for a Redeemer.  At the same time, God did not want to wait too long lest man fall into complete despair and it be too late.

And when He finally came, it was yet another manifestation of His wisdom that He born of a Virgin.  In such a way He exalted virginity, He showed that this was no ordinary Birth, but truly miraculous, and He emphasized the fact that He came to restore human nature to its original integrity.

So often in life we are tempted to think that God has forgotten about us, or that He has somehow lost all control of what’s going on down here, or even that He has stopped caring.  We must never give in to such temptations.  When you think that God is not in control of His creation, stop and consider the Christmas story, and realize that just like then so now His wisdom is guiding all things.  If you cannot see the hands of Divine Providence, that’s because He’s already 5 moves ahead of you.

To Christ, Wisdom Incarnate, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be all glory and honor.  Amen.

Prayer Requests

• 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 the repose of the soul of Mrs. Kathy Fritz, mother of (choir teacher and alumnus) Mr. Bill Fritz.

After more than 50 years of transforming high school boys into well prepared Catholic young men, St. Michael’s Preparatory School will be closing its doors after the 2019-2020 school year, in anticipation of the move to our new abbey home. Our community will continue to participate actively in the numerous apostolates we are currently serving in; parishes, chaplaincies, retreats, Catholic radio, Catholic schools, etc. This transition calls us particularly to re-focus our efforts on educating our 40 current (and future) seminarians, in the spirit of our founder and great reformer of the Church, St. Norbert. Yes, God has blessed us greatly and we move onward continuing to trust in His holy will for us.

 

To our St. Michael’s Preparatory alumni and families, you will remain a beloved part of our legacy. Pioneers and Archangels are always welcome at our new abbey home!

Abbey Annoucement