• The Moms’ Prayer Group will meet this Sunday, November 4, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom. All moms are welcome!
• The seniors will have an outing on Thursday, November 8. See Fr. Vianney for more details.
• Information regarding our Confirmations will be coming soon (in the next 2 weeks). Any student who has not yet received the sacrament will be eligible.
• There will be a room leader retreat on November 16-17. More information will be emailed to the parents of the room leaders.
• Congratulations to all the students who participated in our All Hallows’ Eve Talent Show!
• The Fall Sports Awards Ceremony will be next Sunday, November 11, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom.
• Our football team has made the CIF playoffs! The game is Friday, November 9, at 7:30 PM, in Hesperia. Contact Fr. Vianney for more information.
• Please remember to pay your sports fee if your son is playing basketball or soccer.
Sermon by a Norbertine Priest
May the peace of Christ exult in your hearts…
For most people today this exhortation of St. Paul might seem to be nothing but an unattainable dream. There doesn’t seem to be any peace in the hearts of so many. “And how could there be?”, one might ask. “There are so many problems in the world, so many problems in the Church, there are bills to pay, there’s this or that health problem, my kids, my job, my spouse. Peace in my heart? The only thing in my heart is heartburn!” Yes, even here in “The O.C.”, where everything’s perfect, peace in one’s heart seems to be nothing but a dream. Why is this?
Psychologists, who usually disagree on just about everything, seem to agree that the biggest cause of mental disorders is fear. Doctors also tell us that one of the causes of so many health problems is stress, which is just another form of fear. Fear, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us, is one of our passions, or emotions, which kicks in when we are confronted with an evil. We fear the loss of our job; we fear threats to our country; we fear not having enough money to live as we wish; we fear what others might think of us in a given situation; we fear bad health; we fear death. The list is endless. In fact, if you were to sit down and try to trace back to its roots all the grief you have in this life, you will usually find some kind of fear.
As an emotion, fear is part of our natural makeup, which means that, like all our emotions, in itself, fear is neither good nor evil; it depends on how we use it. And fear increases with love. The more we love one thing, the more we fear its opposite. The more the miser loves money, the more he fears losing it. The more the hedonist loves pleasure, the more he fears being denied access to that pleasure. The person who has an inordinate love for this life here below, is filled with the irrational fear of growing old, and so tries anything to look and feel younger. The more we are in love with ourselves, the more we fear anything that stands in the way of our own will. And so we can see that the reason why the peace of Christ is absent from the hearts of most people is ultimately because their love is disordered. That is, they either love the wrong things, or they love certain things more than they ought. And from this disordered love springs a consequent irrational fear; and instead of the peace of Christ reigning in their hearts, there is nothing but restlessness and misery.
But such irrational fear is not just a potential mental disorder, and it not only blocks the peace of Christ from our hearts, it can also be a sin. For our Blessed Lord did not simply recommend, but commanded us: Do not fear those who can kill the body. And if we must not fear those who can kill us, and death is the greatest natural evil, then it follows that we ought not to fear anything else in this life, or at least not to any great degree.
But there is one thing we ought to fear: Fear Him Who can destroy body and soul in hell, said our Lord. Fear separating yourself from God by sin. That is, fear God with a filial fear. God is the One we ought to love above all else. Consequently the one thing that we must fear, with a fear in comparison with which all other fears look like nothing—the one thing we must fear is offending God by our sins. This is the fear which flows from charity, the fear which is a Gift of the Holy Ghost, the fear which makes us poor in spirit, the fear which is “the beginning of wisdom” [Ps. 110:10] as Scripture says.
While St. Paul tells us today to let the peace of Christ reign in our hearts, our Lord speaks in the Gospel about the end times, and the final judgment. The two messages might seem contradictory; for, how can we be full of peace and consider the final judgment at the same time? But the peace of Christ and the filial fear we ought to have for Him are not contradictory; rather, they both flow from the love we ought to have for Him. Remember, filial fear is not a fear of death or hell—though a certain amount of fear of these can be good. Filial fear caused by the love of God. Because we love Him so much, we fear ever being separated from Him, and therefore cannot even imagine every doing anything to offend Him. This kind of fear we ought to have. In fact, we need to have this kind of fear if the peace of Christ is to reign in our hearts. It might seem kind of ironic, but if we have a good filial fear of God, all the irrational fears we might have (fear of dying, of getting sick, of losing our job, of not having enough to retire on, of the next presidential election)—all these will disappear. Why? Because a true love of God and the fear of offending Him, which flows from that love, puts all things in perspective. It allows us to see that what we thought were great evils, were nothing at all—nothing, that is, in comparison with the greatest evil and the only one we should ever fear, namely being separated from God.
St. Theresa of Avila summed this up so well, when she used to say: Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. All is fleeting. God alone is unchanging. Patience obtains everything. He who possesses God is in need of nothing. God alone suffices. And St. Pio summarized it even more briefly with his famous words: Pray, hope and don’t worry.
Love casts out fear, says Sacred Scripture. May the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass increase in us divine charity and the one and only fear we ought to have, being separated from God; and so banish from our hearts all other fears, that the peace of Christ might reign in them. To Him, the Prince of Peace, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, 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.
• For our country.