• This Sunday is our annual Lessons and Carols, beginning at 7:00 PM, in the abbey church. All students are required to attend. All parents, families, friends are welcome. A reception follows in the school classrooms.
• Students are dismissed for Christmas vacation on Friday, December 21, at around12:00 Noon (when their last final exam is finished).
• School begins again after Christmas vacation on January 13 (Sunday).
• Congratulations to our soccer and basketball teams on their recent successes!
• There are no more soccer games until after Christmas break.
• The next basketball games are: Tuesday, December 18, at 5:00 PM, at Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School [5 Federation Way, Irvine, CA 92603]; and Wednesday, December 19, at 3:30 PM, at Ladera Sports Center [2 Terrace Rd, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694].
There is a well-known quote from St. Augustine’s work the City of God which goes like this: Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self [De Civitate Dei XIV, 28]. The contrast between these two cities (that is, the Church and the world) are perhaps never more noticeable than during these days leading up to Christmas—especially by those who are faithful Catholics.
Just consider: For the last 2-3 weeks already the City of Man has been giddily singing: “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. For those of us living in the City of God it has looked more like Lent: with the solemn color of purple and the many liturgical readings of doom and gloom—and there’ll be even more of this as Christmas gets closer. For the last few weeks the City of Man has been calling out: “Santa Baby, hurry down my chimney tonight”. While the City of God has taken as its Advent patron none other than John the Baptist, the patron of all ascetics; and he won’t be bringing lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh, but rather he comes in shirt made from camel hair and a handful of locusts (those are a few of his favorite things!).
G.K. Chesterton’s words about St. Francis can be applied to St. John the Baptist and to all faithful Catholics, especially during penitential seasons: The whole point about St. Francis is that he certainly was ascetical and he certainly was not gloomy. There was nothing negative about his asceticism; it was not a regimen or a stoical simplicity of life. It was not self-denial merely in the sense of self-control. It was as positive as a passion; it had all the air of being as positive as a pleasure.
The City of God has been preparing for Christmas by making room for the God-Man, Christ—lovingly and fervently sweeping out the filth from our hearts through prayer and self-denial so that He has somewhere to lay His head when He comes on Christmas morning. And we enjoy doing this; we enjoy tidying things up a bit for the arrival of the Christ Child. Meanwhile the City of Man has filled these days with man’s love for himself, and once again will have no room to offer the Savior of the World. No Savior, no joy. The effects will really be felt when the City of Man goes back to its dreary existence on December 26, while the City of God will rejoice full throttle for the next 8 days, and even well beyond the “12th Night”.
See, no one rejoices like a good ascetic. It’s no coincidence that a penitent like St. Francis of Assisi was also the one to invent the Christmas crèche; and before you go accusing St. John the Baptist of being an old party-pooper, remember that he is actually the model of Christmas joy—someone who literally jumped for joy at the coming of the Savior even while still in his mother’s womb.
So, as the City of Man continues to stuff itself with itself, let us continue to follow St. John the Baptist these last few days of Advent, putting those final touches on our hearts through prayer, self-denial, spiritual reading, and works of charity, and so greet Christ on Christmas morning with joy in our hearts, a joy that lasts throughout the year.
• For the repose of the soul of Mr. Norman Goyette, the grandfather of alumnus Anthony Hierro and longtime benefactor of the school.
• For the repose of the soul of Simon Cabral, brother of alumnus Joshua Cabral.
• 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 Church.