• School starts this Sunday (classes begin Monday morning). Students should arrive and move in between 6:00—6:30 PM. There will be activities (for the students only) at 7:00 PM on the athletic field. Ties, emblems, and PE Uniforms will be for sale in the St. Norbert (mobile) classroom. Some light refreshments will also be available there for all. Parents may leave after they help their sons unpack and settle in.
• An All-School BBQ will be held (for parents and students) after our first home football game, on Thursday, August 29. The game is at 3:15 PM, and the BBQ will begin as soon as the game is over. More information regarding this will be sent to parents in the coming days.
• Looking Ahead: A reminder that no students are allowed to spend certain “closed” 3-day weekends at the school. Labor Day weekend (August 31-September 2) is one of those closed weekends.
• Our first football game is: August 29 (Thursday), at 3:15 PM, at St. Michael’s.
• Our first cross country meet is: September 6 (Friday) at 3:00 PM, at Mile Square Regional Park [16801 Euclid Street, Fountain Valley, CA 92708].
• Fr. Vianney is our Head Football Coach; Mr. Matthew Heffernan is the Assistant.
• Mr. Schoenfeld is our Head Cross Country Coach; Mr. William Warnisher is the Assistant.
• Cross Country tryouts will be this Monday afternoon.
At the very beginning of today’s Gospel we are told to whom our Lord addressed that famous parable of the publican and the Pharisee: Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in
themselves as just and who despised others—those who thought they could do it all themselves and hated everyone else. This lack of self-knowledge and lack of fraternal charity are so often found together.
Years ago there was a very sad event, which was later made into a movie, about a man in his twenties who pretty much had enough of this life and everyone in it. So he decided to leave behind everyone and all traces of himself and fled into the remotest parts of Alaska. “Alone at last”, he happily thought. A few months later the young man died of starvation. He simply could not survive the harsh Alaskan wilderness by himself. It is said that one of his last journal entries before he died was the words: “Happiness is real only when shared.” He realized a bit too late that you just cannot make it on your own.
Twenty-three hundred years earlier the great philosopher Aristotle wrote these words: Man is by nature a social animal…Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god [Politics]. And 500 years after him the great Roman orator Cicero proclaimed: Those who remove friendship from their life are like someone who seeks to remove the sun from the world…If we seek to flee from all cares, then we also have to flee all virtue [On Friendship].
The only one ever to live in this world all by himself was Adam, created directly by God; but he was immediately told that it is not good for man to be alone. So Eve was made from him. Even God Himself—the One God—is a Trinity of Persons; and when He decided that the Second Person of that Blessed Trinity should become man, He Himself was born of a woman.
The two great commandments are love of God and love of neighbor. You cannot have one without the other. As St. John once wrote, If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen [1 John 4:20].
Sorry to say, but, as someone once wisely wrote, “no man is an island.” We are all members of the human race. And for those of us who have been baptized, we are also members of the Mystical Body of Christ; and the rest of humanity are all potential members. In other words, we are all in this together; and the good news is that we actually help each other far more than we
think. In addition to all the practical, physical and emotional support we give each other (even if we don’t always want to admit it), we actually share in each other’s supernatural graces and gifts. As St. Paul said, To each is given the manifestation of the Holy Spirit for the common good…If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together [1 Cor 12]. And regarding those people who seem like they are just another cross to you: well, maybe it’s just the cross you need to grow in holiness. Maybe that’s why God put them in your life.
No doubt, we all need to get away from time to time. Even our Lord would go away to a deserted place to pray. But to think we can just completely shut out the rest of humanity from our lives is not only foolish, but self-destructive. We now live in a world where this is becoming more and more the norm. How many immerse themselves in video games for countless hours each day, lost in their own little pathetic world! No wonder that little Johnny is now 30 years-old and still living off of mom and dad! Or how many others lose themselves in social media, where a “friend” is defined as someone you do not even know but who just happened to hit the “friend” button and whom you can “unfriend” by the same quick click of a button. This is all creating not only social misfits and shallow individuals, but also terribly lonely souls who do not know how to love and who have no real happiness—“Pharisees who trust in themselves as just and who spurn others.”
The life of a true Christian is a happy balance of looking inward and looking outward: inward to the Blessed Trinity within you with Whom you should spend precious moments alone; but also outward to your neighbor (and even to your enemy!) whom God wants you to love, and not in some vague impersonal way, but through concrete acts of charity and the other virtues. By the way, even Catholics hermits are not completely cut off from everyone, but exist in a community with other hermits.
When someone is drawing close to the end of his life, very often God grants them that special
grace of growing old and therefore becoming more and more dependent on others. This is God’s
not-so-subtle way of reminding us that “no man is an island,” that we should never trust in
ourselves and despise others, that we need each other, that we are all in this together, that we
need God’s love and the love of our neighbor, just as he needs ours.
St. John of the Cross said, At the end of our lives we will be judged according to love. If the world keeps getting worse and you find yourself growing more and more tired of it and everyone in it, don’t try leaving behind everyone and all traces of yourself. You will certainly die of starvation, a starvation from love. Rather, take more time to turn inward and speak with the Three Divine Persons dwelling within your soul. They, in turn, will inspire you to communicate that same love with those around you.
In Sacred Scripture we hear heaven described not as a deserted island where we can live all alone by our grumpy selves for all eternity, but rather as a wedding banquet, where, we can be sure, a good time will be had by all—all united in a perfect communion with Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to Whom be all glory and honor. Amen.
• For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.