•The next Moms’ Prayer Night will be on Sunday, November 26, at 7:00 PM. This one will meet at St. Michael’s, in the Perpetual Help classroom.
•There will be a meeting for all who are going to Rome (sons and dads) on Sunday, November 26, at 7:00 PM, in the St. Norbert classroom.
•Students are dismissed for Thanksgiving break on November 21 (Tuesday), at 2:05 PM.
•We are looking for moms or dads to act as the Team Parent for the upcoming winter sports of soccer and basketball. Your role would be to assist the coach(es) to insure a successful season and coordinate with other St. Michael's families. Please contact Margaret Watkins for more details.
•The Fall Sports Awards Ceremony is on Sunday, November 19, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help Room.
Almost all the texts from today’s Holy Mass, the Epistle, the Gospel, the prayers and antiphons—just about all seem to be concerned, one way or another, with what is perhaps the greatest danger in the spiritual life, perhaps the most commonly committed and least commonly confessed sin, namely spiritual sloth, sometimes called spiritual “lukewarmness”, acedia in the classical Latin terminology. Its danger lies precisely in the fact that it so often goes undetected. Like a thief that trips up the burglar alarm before entering a house, like a disease that grows quietly but fiercely throughout a body, so spiritual sloth sneaks silently into our spiritual life, quietly devouring everything in its path; and all too often we don’t even know its there until it’s too late. And so, before it gets even worse, like good soldiers of Christ let’s identify the enemy, and, with the help of God’s grace, plan our attack against him. As we already prayed in the Collect: Merciful God, protect us from all things that war against us…
Spiritual sloth is, in the words of St. Thomas, a kind of sadness which makes a person sluggish in the performance of spiritual exercises on account of the effort they require [ST I, 63, 2]. St. Thomas says that it is “a kind of sadness”, because it is not sadness simply speaking, not just the emotion of sadness. Our Lady was certainly sad as she stood at the foot of the Cross, but she certainly did not suffer from spiritual sloth. Saints have undergone, and most often do undergo, great suffering, and sometimes the suffering called the spiritual “dark night of the soul”, where one finds no consolation in anything, even prayer; but this too is not spiritual sloth. Spiritual sloth, simply speaking, is a lack of devotion, a carelessness in, and even disgust for spiritual things. The person afflicted by it has no attraction, no love for the things of God. Since joy is an effect of love, this spiritual sadness, the opposite of true joy, is ultimately a sin against charity, against the love of God and the gifts He has bestowed on us.
The lukewarm I will vomit out of My mouth. Our Lord offers us this very harsh warning in the Book of Revelation to be on guard against this enemy of lukewarmness and spiritual sloth. The warning is harsh because, first of all, spiritual sloth can be the result of a certain ingratitude for God’s gifts. As we heard in today’s Gospel, the king had a harsh punishment for those who refused to come to the banquet to which they had been invited: first they refused the king’s gift, then they eventually kill the king’s servants. And then another has the audacity to show up to the banquet without the proper attire, treating the gift offered to him as if it were nothing special. He too receives a harsh punishment. One is spiritually slothful because he does not treasure the most important gifts which God has given him: grace, the sacraments, prayer, the cross.
The other reason why our Lord warns us so severely, is because spiritual sloth is one of the capital sins: remember, the capital sins are called such because they easily lead to other sins. Spiritual sloth often leads to despair, pusillanimity or lack of courage, lack of observance of God’s commands, and eventually even anger at and hatred for God, His ministers and His gifts. Once again, we see this sad progression in the behavior of those invited to the king’s banquet in today’s Gospel. But fear not. As God has given us the warning, so He also arms us with the weapons.
Whoever cries out to Me, I will hear them, says our Lord in today’s Introit. Let my prayer rise up to the Lord like incense, we prayed in today’s Gradual. Be renewed in spirit and put on the new man, St. Paul admonishes us in today’s Epistle. With these three the Liturgy teaches us how to fight off spiritual sloth.
First, we need to pray to God, because ultimately it will be His grace which saves us. “Act as though all depended on you, while realizing that all depends on God”, goes the old maxim. Ask God every day to increase your love for Him and His gifts. Beg Him to grant you a burning desire for heavenly things, and know that He will certainly hear your prayer.
Second, spend time each day reflecting on God’s goodness and His great love for you. This is so easy, since there are so many manifestations of God’s love all around us: from the simple natural wonders of creation to the great mysteries of our Faith. When you are tempted to doubt God’s care for you, just look at a crucifix. Isn’t that proof enough of His love?
Third, “put on the new man”, as St. Paul tells us. Or, as the late Fr. John Hardon, a saintly Jesuit whom some of you might have known—as he used to say, “Assume you’re lazy and go from there.” Assume you need a daily conversion. Examine your conscience every night before going to bed, even just for a few moments; and ask yourself how much time did you give to God that day. How often did you tell Him you love Him? How many times did you thank Him? A daily examination of conscience is a great way to detect and to fight off spiritual sloth. Add to this the obvious, namely frequent confession: every week or two.
Finally, as St. Paul tells us again in his Epistle, “Give no place to the devil.” That is, do not open the door for him even a little. Strive to follow God’s law in all things, even those the seemingly little unimportant matters. A neglect in small things is exactly where lukewarmness sneaks into one’s life. As we will pray in today’s Postcommunion prayer: “O Lord makes us cleave to Your commandments.” Don’t just strive to avoid only mortal sin, but all sin, even venial sin.
In a moment we will pray the Offertory verse: “If I walk in the midst of tribulation, You will vivify me, Lord; You will stretch out Your right hand against the wrath of my enemies and will save me.” From this day forward may we all be on guard against this deadly enemy, spiritual sloth and lukewarmness, and trust that if we don’t give up the fight we indeed will be saved by God’s might hand. To Him our Supreme Protector be all glory and honor. 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.