• Next weekend is Presidents’ Day Weekend. No school on Monday, February 17. Students return Monday evening. No students are allowed to stay the weekend.
• Please note that billing statements have been sent home to all those taking AP Exams.
• 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.
• Graduation will be on Memorial Day, May 25, at 2:00 PM, in the abbey courtyard. All are welcome to attend.
• Possible playoff games for soccer and/or basketball are TBA.
Sermon by a Norbertine Priest
May Thy faithful people, O God, be strengthened by Thy gifts; that in receiving them, they may seek after them the more, and in seeking them, may receive them forever.
The words of the Postcommunion prayer for today’s Holy Mass.
Today’s Gospel ends on a rather chilling note, with our Lord telling us that “many are called, but few are chosen”—that is, God desires the salvation of many, indeed He desires the salvation of all, but only a relatively few are saved. Why is that? Ultimately, because only few really seek after those gifts of God referred to in the prayer we just heard: “O God, may we be strengthened by Thy gifts, that in receiving them, we might seek after them the more, and in seeking them, may receive them forever.”
It’s somewhat of a mystery, if you think about it, why we so rarely and with so little desire seek the gifts of God. St. Paul tells us in today’s Epistle that we ought to strive after the heavenly prize with all our hearts and with all our strength. In that same text he also makes reference to the Israelites and their forty-year journey to the Promised Land, and he concludes, “But with most of them God was not pleased.” Recall the account of that journey found in the Old Testament, in the Book of Numbers especially. Recall how God showered down on His people so many gifts: He freed them from slavery in Egypt; He leveled any enemy that stood in their way; When they were lost He guided them with “a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night”; When they were hungry He fed them with miraculous manna and quails; When they were thirsty He made water miraculously spring up from a rock; And St. Paul tells us today that that rock even followed them through the desert and symbolized the Christ Who was to come. Talk about the gifts of God! And yet “God was not pleased with most of them”. Why not? Because so many did not desire His gifts, but just kept complaining about the journey. “We are disgusted with this food,” they ungratefully said to God.
Sursum corda, “Lift up your hearts”. We pray these words at the beginning of the Preface at every Mass, which prepares us for the Canon of the Mass, that part in which are contained the words of consecration, when the greatest of gifts, God Himself, will come down upon our altars. Sursum corda, “Lift up your hearts.” It is a holy reminder, an exhortation to desire the gifts of God, to turn our hearts away from the fleeting goods of this life and to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. “If you have risen with Christ seek the things that are above”, says St. Paul, and our Blessed Lord Himself tells us, “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven…for where your treasure is, there shall be your heart also.”
Consider the life of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She gave her life to helping the poorest of the poor; she was so often misunderstood by society, who thought that she was just a zealous social worker trying to better the lot of the poor. But Mother Teresa was not so interested in raising their bodies out of the gutter as she was their minds. When Mother Teresa would find a poor person on the streets, or someone dying of aids, or drug addict, she would not go buy them a nice house and clothes, open-up a bank account for them (though all these things do have a certain value and there’s certainly nothing wrong with helping them in this way). What she would try to do was to raise their mind to heavenly things, help them to see that this life is but a very short prelude to the next; she would “lift up their hearts” and teach them to desire the important gifts of God—His grace and His love, His sacraments. Mother Teresa knew that if she could get the person to seek after these gifts, that person would someday enjoy them forever. Her greatest merit was that she was able to find a soul drowning in a valley of tears and raise their heart and mind towards heaven.
Our world doesn’t seem very interested in the gifts of God. “We are disgusted with this food!” the world cries out once more.
But before we point the finger, we all must humbly take a look at ourselves. How often and how much do we truly seek the gifts of God? We have been flooded with His gifts, offered not manna and water from a rock, but His own Body and Blood in Holy Communion. Any how many Communions just seem to pass us by with just a little fervor? Each Communion should be more fervent than the one before. Each Lent should be more fervent than the one before. Each day should be more fervent than the one before. With every gift we receive from God our hearts should desire Him all the more. But we must pray for this. We must pray always to grow in our love and devotion, lest we become spiritual dwarfs, stagnant in our spiritual life, like those Israelites who eventually died on their way to the Promised Land, died because they did not desire, did not hunger for the gifts of God. It can happen to us if we are not careful. You know the old saying, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”
Let us take for our model in growing in desire for God’s gifts none other than the Blessed Virgin. From the moment of her conception she was full of grace, yet even this grace and love was able to intensify continually all throughout her life. Because she never sinned, and because she sought God’s will constantly, her desire to please Him, to be united to Him, to sacrifice for Him, to her desire for His gifts grew with every passing moment. May she, our Immaculate Mother, intercede for us, lift up our hearts, and obtain for us the grace to treasure the gifts of God, to seek them more each day and so enjoy them forever in heaven. Amen.
• 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.