•Please remember to stay up on your tuition payments. If you need to know how much you still owe on this year’s tuition, contact Mrs. Aeschliman ASAP. Thank you.
•Second Quarter First Honors students will be treated to an outing this Thursday. The parents of the respective students will be informed by one of the deans beforehand.
•The school’s next Open House for prospective students will be on February 11, at 3:30 PM. Feel free to spread the word to interested families.
•Looking ahead: Presidents' Day Weekend is February 17-19. Students have Monday, February 19 off; they return Monday evening. No weekenders are allowed to stay that weekend.
•Thank you to the parent volunteers who have been helping this year with driving to the train station and other events!
•The next Mom's Prayer Meeting will be on Sunday, Feb. 25th at 7:00 PM, at St. Michael’s. In the Perpetual Help classroom.
•The next basketball games are: Monday, February 5, at 7:00 PM, at Southlands [18550 Farjardo St, Rowland Heights, CA 91748]; Wednesday, February 7, at 2:00 PM, at Ladera Sports Center [2 Terrace Rd, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694]; Friday, February 9, at 1:00 PM, at Ladera Sports Center [2 Terrace Rd, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694].
•Congratulations to our soccer team on their recent victories! The next soccer game is: Wednesday, February 7, at 3:30 PM, at St. Michael’s.
Since it is always more enjoyable, or at least less irksome to speak about penance when we are not doing penance, and to speak about fasting while one is feasting; and since in a couple of weeks we start a season of penance and fasting (which would require that something be said soon about it) what better time to speak about the value of fasting than on today. This way we all can more objectively agree to the need and value of fasting without being persuaded otherwise by unruly passions frustrated by self-denial. It’s kinda like slipping the medication into your scrambled eggs so you don’t taste it!
Beginning on Ash Wednesday the Church prays daily in the Preface for Masses during Lent, “Oh God, Who by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, lift our minds, bestow strength and rewards.” St. Thomas echoes these words when he teaches us that there are three reasons why we fast. First, to help restrain our unruly passions. Our passions, our emotions, though not evil in themselves, do not always perfectly obey our reason as they ought. We all know this by experience. They can, at times, be like wild horses running out of control, and hence lead us into sin. So they need to be bridled and restrained.
Fasting is an excellent way to combat these wild passions, especially those which rage against purity. The Church’s saints, knowing that there is a very close connection between the pleasures of the table and the pleasures of the flesh, have always prescribed a good dose of fasting to combat those temptations against holy purity. St. Bernard once responded to the doubts of some who scoffed at fasting with the following words: Yes, we are cruel, if you will, towards our bodies when we afflict them with penance; but you are more cruel towards yourselves when you gratify your sensual cravings, for by so doing you condemn both body and soul to an eternity of frightful torments. Or in the pithy maxim of St. Jerome: Sine Cere et Baccho friget Venus—“Without Ceres (food) and Bacchus (wine) Venus (lust) grows cold.”
The second reason we fast is in order that our minds might more easily contemplate spiritual things. It’s very simple: when we’re hunched over our plates like animals we cannot think like the angels. The soul can never ascend to God, writes St. Francis de Sales, unless the body is brought into subjection by penance. Deny yourself from time to time the bread of this world and you’ll find yourself more hungry for the Bread of the Angels.
The third reason we fast is in order to make reparation for sins—our own sins and those of the whole world. Even if this were the only reason to fast, we would have enough mortification to last us an entire lifetime. When our Blessed Mother appeared to the three children at Fatima she told them that the world must turn to prayer and fasting in order to make reparation for the many sins of mankind. For every sin committed some penance is owed, even once the sin is forgiven. Fasting is one of the greatest ways to make reparation. If we only knew what comfort our fasting brings to the Sacred Heart—so wounded by sin, we would fast more than a few times a year!
Finally, Our Lord once told His Apostles that certain demons are cast out only by fasting and prayer. We can add this, then, as a fourth reason to fast. How the demons hate when we fast! How they hate when we do what they cannot! Satan and his cronies love it when we humans act more like brute animals who lack reason. But when we mortify ourselves, when we humble ourselves with fasting, they flee.
So let us enjoy the feasting (with moderation of course) for a few more days; and on Ash Wednesday and all throughout the coming season of Lent let us enjoy even more—yes, even more—a “holy libation of fasting and abstinence”, to borrow the words of St. Leo the Great. For, as St. Peter reminded us in today’s reading, we are preparing for something which the Prophets foretold and which the angels longed to see, namely the beautiful face of Christ, to Whom be all glory and honor.
•For (parent) Maria Lange, who is recovering from a heart attack.
•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.