• Students return on Monday (September 3) evening around 7:15 PM.
• The next Moms’ Prayer Group Meeting is this Monday, September 3, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom. Note that this first meeting dads also are welcome to attend. Some have expressed interest in having a Dads’ Prayer Group as well. Perhaps some dad out there would like to step up and organize it…
• It was noticed that a few students began the school year with hair which is a bit too long. Please make sure your son’s hair is relatively short and neat. Thank you. School photos will be taken this Wednesday, September 5.
• Looking ahead: on Thursday, September 13, after the school’s football game (therefore, around 5:00 PM), we will once again have an all-school family potluck picnic. All parents and teachers are invited to join the students for a dinner down on the athletic field. Mrs. Toni Aeschliman will be emailing all the parents with more details. Please RSVP.
• On Sunday, October 14 [*Date Corrected], we will have a guest speaker, Dr. Peter Kleponis, come and talk to our students and dads on the dangers of pornography. The meeting is required of all students and will begin at 7:00 PM. We heartedly encourage all dads to be present as well.
• The school library will have air conditioning/heating installed this week for the first time in its history!
• The first cross country meet will be Thursday, September 6, at 3:00 PM, at Irvine Regional Park [1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92869]. The team will also run on Saturday, September 8, at the Laguna Hills Invitational. See Fr. Alan for more details.
• The next football game will be this Friday, at St. Michael’s, at 3:15 PM. This game was recently added to the calendar.
• Frater Peregrine is the head of the Archery Club this year. More information to come.
We know that our Lord told St. Peter that Peter is the rock on which our Lord will build His Church; and then He gives Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. This well-known passage is the proof for the institution of the papacy, that is, the office of the pope and his infallibility. This deserves a little reflection these days, because we live in an age where there are, on one hand, those who want to say (incorrectly) that it doesn’t matter what religion one belongs to since they are all the same, and on the other hand, those who, in an attempt to be faithful (even traditional) Catholics, wrongly give to the office of the pope more than Christ Himself did. So, here it goes.
Let’s start with God (always a good place to start). There is a God. This is something we can know by the simple use of our reason, no matter who you are. It’s amazing how many people try to tell themselves that God does not exist. Let me give you an age-old and very easy argument. Imagine you are walking along the beach and find a watch lying there. You ask someone nearby where it came from, who made it, how it got there. They respond by telling you that no one made it, no one put it together, it just appeared by many thousands of little parts forming themselves into this beautiful, well-built watch. You would rightly conclude that that person is a certified moron. No one in their right mind would think that a watch can simply appear all by itself, without anyone making it or putting it together. And yet, there are all too many folks who think the world, with all its beauty and order, just appeared without any Supreme Being bringing it into existence, ordering all of its parts and keeping it in existence. And the world, as we know, is far more complex and far more beautiful than any Rolex. So, God exists. And if God exists, He must by definition be perfect, otherwise He wouldn’t be God. He also must be eternal, all-knowing and all-loving. Evil is a lack of good; so, the idea of an “evil god” is nonsense. If he is evil, he is lacking some good, and therefore is not God. All of this we can know by the mere use of our natural reason—that’s a fancy way of saying that any bonehead can figure this much out. So, that’s God; now man.
It’s almost as easy to prove that God exists as it is to prove that man—unlike God—is not perfect. Although we are capable of much good and often are good, we all fall short from time to time. We even at times (probably oftentimes) feel great urges to do evil—this is what we call temptation: a certain moral restlessness; we also, as we all know by experience, give in to these temptations, sometimes in very serious ways. So, it appears from our experience that all is not right with man, that somehow, somewhere, something went wrong. We know from divine revelation that this is what is called “original sin.” Somehow our human nature got “messed up.” In addition to this tendency to do evil and weakness in doing what is right, we humans also have a certain longing for what is good that never seems to be perfectly fulfilled. Even when we possess something that is truly good, it still seems that there is a void within us that longs for more, for something better. This is what we call the “natural desire to see God.” We are made to know and to love what is true and good; but only God is perfectly true and perfectly good. Therefore, nothing else will satisfy this desire completely except for Him. This too we can know by reason alone. So, to sum up thus far: on one hand, we have a perfect God; and on the other, a human nature, which, in addition to being a bit broken and disordered, longs to possess and to be united to God. That’s the problem; and here now is the solution: Jesus Christ.
God becomes Man. This Person Who is both God and man, is Jesus Christ. God became man to heal our wounded and disordered human nature (wounded and disordered through the original sin of Adam and Eve, our first parents, and through our own personal sins), and to restore to us His grace, that is, His divine life within us. See, God does not want us simply to know Him and love Him as the fulfillment of our natural longings, but He wants us to know and love Him in the most intimate manner; He wants us to be united to Him forever. And in order for this to happen, He became man: to take away our sins and to give us a share in His own divine life—you might say, in order to raise us above our human nature.
Now, Jesus lived on this earth for only 33 years. During this time He completed the mission He was given: to teach us, to suffer and die for us, and finally to establish His Church—His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. He established a Church in order that, through it, He might continue to teach us, and continue to communicate His love, grace and mercy to us. He teaches us through what is called the Magisterium, that is, the teaching authority of the Church: the pope, the bishops and priests who teach in His name and with His authority. He communicates His love and the forgiveness and mercy He obtained for us by His death through the 7 sacraments He has left in the hands of His Church. Without His Church—the one and only Church that He Himself established—there is no one to teach the human race the truths that God wants us to know, that we need to know for our salvation; and without His Church there are no sacraments, those 7 channels of His grace—the 7 instruments He uses to make us holy, to communicate His own divine life to us.
This all makes perfect sense. See, God did not just come here, save us by His death, and then say, “Arriverderci! You’re on your own.” No, He wants to lead us by the hand, so to speak, every step of the way. He also knows that, like any family, business or government, you need to have someone at the top making the final decisions. So, He gave us a pope. And knowing as He does that, left to ourselves, we would have by now destroyed the Church He founded; and
knowing as He does that even popes are weak sinners (just like us), our Lord sent His Holy Spirit on the Church to preserve her from error in her official teachings—this includes in a special way those rare occasions when the pope teaches in a solemn (you might say “official”) manner on matters of faith and morals. This is what we call “papal infallibility.” Please note that this does not mean that our Lord will give us perfect popes—He’s even allowed us to have some pretty bad popes over the last 2000 years. Nor is this a guarantee that popes won’t say or do stupid things.
It simply means that, when teaching in a solemn and official manner as the head of the Church (which happens rarely), Christ preserves the pope from teaching something against the dogmas of the Catholic Faith. In a strange twist, over the past 30 years, some faithful Catholics (no doubt well intended and moved by devotion to the papacy) have fallen into a sort of “papal
worship,” treating the pope like a super-human rock star, pretending that everything he does and says must be perfect since, after all, he’s the pope. No, our Lord never guaranteed that. It’s o.k. to admit that sometimes even popes make mistakes. This doesn’t mean that the Church changes its official teachings on matters of faith and morals; nor does it mean that the Church can ever error in her official teachings—she never will; and the pope won’t error either when he teaches in a solemn manner.
So, this whole idea of God founding one and only one Church, ruled by one visible Head (the pope), a Church protected from error in her official teachings by the Holy Spirit: all of this makes perfect sense. Even though some of this we know only by divine revelation, it all is very reasonable to say the least. God does all of this for one simple reason: because He loves us. The Catholic Church exists because God Himself founded it for us as the one means of salvation. And yet how many will go to great lengths to find some reason not to believe, not to be a member of the Church. It is as if someone sent you a boat to rescue you while you were drowning, and you sat there in the water thinking of a thousand different reasons why you should try to save yourself and not jump in the boat.
I tell you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The surest place, the only place where we can find refuge against the powers of hell is in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ, to Whom 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.