• Students will be dismissed for Thanksgiving vacation on Tuesday, November 21, at 2:05 PM.
• May everyone have a restful and blessed Thanksgiving!
The Dads' Prayer Group will meet this Sunday (November 18) at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help class room.
• Congratulations to our basketball team on their recent victory! The next basketball games are: Saturday, November 17, at 7:30 PM, at Orangewood Academy [3732 Clinton St, Garden Grove, CA 92843]; and Monday, November 19, at 1:30 PM, at Ladera Sports Center [2 Terrace Rd, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694].
• The next soccer games are not until after Thanksgiving break.
There is an old saying that the only things that one really has to do in life is to die and pay income tax. There have been many, however, who—much to the grief of the IRS—have in fact been successful in disproving the latter part of this saying; but there has been no one who has or can disprove the first part. All men must someday die. If there is one thing that even the most stubborn have to acknowledge, it is the fact that we all will relatively soon die. Death is inevitable, and foolish are those who fail to prepare themselves for it.
In this month of November the Church turns our attention towards the next life. We are asked to spend more time praying for the souls in Purgatory and to the saints in Heaven. In so doing we ought also to think about our own death, for it is not that far off for any of us. Such thoughts should not appear to us gruesome or frightful, they should rather inspire us to prepare for death, so that this inevitable stage in our existence might not catch us off guard, like the foolish virgins in the Gospel, but rather be something we welcome knowing that it will mean the beginning of eternal happiness.
The first way to prepare for death, for a “happy death,” as it has been traditionally called, is to go to Confession frequently. We should never presume that there will always be sufficient time to repent before we die. There is a famous story from the life of St. John Vianney, where a woman came to ask him about her husband who had killed himself by jumping off a bridge. St. John Vianney consoled her with the fact that it had been revealed to him that her husband repented at the last moment and was spared eternal punishment. But there is a similar episode in the life of St. Padre Pio, where a woman asked him about her husband who had also killed himself. The saint first said, “Oh, well, be consoled, maybe there’s hope that he repented.” Then Padre Pio looked up as if seeing something in a vision, then replied solemnly, “No, there is no hope.” Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
The second way to prepare for a happy death is to pray for it, to pray for the grace of final perseverance, to pray for the grace to die in the state of grace. It is a fact that we cannot merit this grace—God does not owe it to us; and St. Augustine teaches us that God will not grant the grace of final perseverance to those who do not ask for it in prayer (De Dono pers., 16). It’s a wonder, when you think about all the things we do pray for—for our health, our job, to win the lotto--that we all too frequently fail to ask for a happy death, to die in the state of grace. We should pray for this everyday, many many times throughout the day. We should also pray for our family and friends: that God will grant them a happy death.
We can even pray for the happy death of our enemies. It’s the one prayer that is just as easy to make for our friends as for our enemies. In fact, it’s a great way to make the best out of a bad situation. It’s even kind of fun once you get the hang of it: If someone upsets you, for instance, a driver cuts in front of you on the 5 Freeway (if you can imagine such a thing), instead of losing your temper and wishing that person evil, you can pray for their happy death. Some undesirables are reelected to public office: pray for their happy death. Helping another save his soul is a noble thing to do, and praying that he or she die in the state of grace is one of the best ways to help another obtain salvation.
In all things behold your end, says Sacred Scripture. Frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession and daily prayer for a happy death: two great ways, two necessary ways to prepare for our departure from this life, of which we know neither the day nor the hour. May the Divine Master grant us His servants a holy life and a happy death. 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.
• For the Church.