February 1, 2019

Announcements

• The Winter Sports Awards Ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, February 10, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help Room.
• Note that Presidents’ Day Weekend is a 3-day weekend (Feb. 16-18).  Students return on Monday evening.

 

Athletics

• Our Archery Club will compete in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 23.
• Congratulations to our soccer and basketball teams and coaches! Both teams have made the playoffs! More information to come.

 

Sermon by a Norbertine Priest

To no man render evil for evil.

Every human being, in addition to having a reason and a will, also possesses interior and exterior senses and 11 basic emotions or what are traditionally called passions:  like, joy, fear, sadness.  All of the emotions or passions works automatically.  Our passions automatically respond (almost like a reflex action) to their respective stimuli.  But because we are not brute animals, but rational animals, we have also been given reason, which is meant to keep our passions ordered correctly.  

Because of original sin these passions of ours are a bit like wild horses which don’t always want to be restrained by our reason.  Now, contrary to what some people think—like the Buddhists, for example, or the ancient Stoics—we cannot ever rid ourselves of our passions or emotions.  They are part of who we are.  But with the help of God’s grace and the supernatural virtues (all of which we receive at Baptism)—with this help our reason can order our passions correctly and point the way to real truth and goodness.  Our will then follows our reason’s lead and we act the way we are supposed to act—we perform good acts, not bad acts.  So, our emotions or passions do not have a moral value in themselves—they are not good or bad; it depends on how we use them.  When they rule us, we do bad things; when we rule them and order them correctly, they contribute to our good acts.

Anger is one of these passions.  Anger is an automatic response to an evil with which we are faced.  So, when we come across something that is morally evil, we should be angry.  Sacred Scripture says, Be angry, but do not sin.  This is all too often mistranslated as “If you are angry, do not sin”; but that’s not what the original text actually says.  It says Be angry, but do not sin.  In fact, these words are found not only in Psalm 4, but also in St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.                

So, anger in the face of a moral evil is good, or at least it’s the right way to begin—it’s that automatic response; but that anger needs to be immediately directed by our reason to a good act and not an evil act.  Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.

There are plenty of things today which make us angry, plenty of things which ought to make us angry.  No need to list them all here.  But the worst thing we can do is let anger get such a hold of us that we sin.  If we do, then we just contributed to the evil in the world; we just added more of what we were supposedly angry about in the first place.  Pretty dumb huh? But we do it all the time.  The early Christians must have fallen into the safe trap; that’s why St. Paul told 
them in today’s Epistle to the Romans:  Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.  

Remember that St. Paul was writing to people who were living in Rome under none other than Emperor Nero.  We have plenty of Nero-like individuals to get us angry.  What to do? Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.

We have all been enlisted in the army of Jesus Christ through our Baptism and Confirmation.  Our weapons, however, cannot be the same things which we are fighting.  They cannot be evil. The only thing which can beat evil is good; and the nice thing about this battle is that good always wins, always! The difficulty for us is that when good is winning, it often does not look 
like it is.  The greatest victory of good over evil happened on Good Friday at 3:00 PM; and let’s admit it, it did not exactly look like a victory at that moment.  It was not until Easter morning that we were able to see who the real winner was; and so it will be for anyone who follows Christ.

We would all like to see proof of the victory of good over evil here below, even instantly.  No doubt, every now and then we do see some proof of it; but the final proof will be in heaven.  The good will be eternally rewarded in heaven for every good they’ve done in this life—every good thought, every good word, every good deed, even the smallest.  And the evil—those who die in the state of sin without repentance—will be punished for all eternity in hell.  Good wins, evil loses.  Game over.

So let’s start beating the snot out of evil in our own lives.  St. Paul gives us the game plan:  If thy enemy be hungry, give him food; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  Doing this, you shall heap coals of fire upon his head.  In other words, beat the evil out of him with charity, and win him over to Christ.  Every day that we live on this earth we have countless opportunities to perform good acts:  from the simplest and shortest prayer, and the smallest good work, to the 
more magnanimous.  The next time you find yourself thinking about all the evil in the world, let your anger move you to some good work, and in so doing you will win some small victory for Christ, in Christ and with Christ.  To Him 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 Mrs. Janet Russell, who is suffering severe health problems.
• For the Sturkie Family’s very special intention.
• For the Church.

Venice