September 20, 2019

New Abbey Church

Announcements

• On September 24, a small group of students will help feed the homeless in Laguna Beach.  The parents of those students participating will be informed ahead of time.
• On September 26, a small group of students will attend a Pacific Symphony concert.  Fr. Victor and Mrs. Aeschliman will be the chaperones.  The parents of the students going will be informed ahead of time.  Tickets are $18 per person.
• On October 2 a group of juniors and seniors will be taken to a local college fair at Santa Margarita High School.
• Parent-Teacher Conferences are on October 6.  Students lead the discussions with each teacher (new students will be shown how to do this).  Each meeting is just a few minutes long.  Freshmen and their parents begin at 6:15 PM; Sophomores at 6:45 PM; Juniors at 7:00 PM; Seniors at 7:30 PM.  The teachers will be spread out in the different classrooms.  Students should be in full uniform (including blazer) for this.

Athletics

• The next football game is scheduled for Thursday, October 3, at 3:15 PM, at St. Michael’s.
• The next cross country meets are scheduled for September 26, at 3:00 PM, at William R Mason Regional Park, 18712 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612; at September 28, at Dana Hills High School, 33333 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, CA 92629.

Sermon by a Norbertine Priest

In the Offertory verse from today’s Mass we will hear the words:  God put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God.  God has actually given us many hymns, many songs to offer Him in prayer, 150 of them to be precise.  How often do we use them? Do we even know they exist?

Yes, God has composed for us 150 hymns or prayers that He wants us to use, namely the Book of 150 Psalms, found in Sacred Scripture.  These 150 Psalms are very ancient and have always played a great part in the officially liturgy of the Church, just as they did in the Old Testament worship in the Temple in Jerusalem.  They are very important for many reasons, and they also tell us much about God and His love for us.

The Psalms are unique in a number of ways.  They are part of Sacred Scripture, part of the Bible, which means that, like all of Scripture, they are ultimately written by God.  Though He used human instruments such as King David (who wrote many of the Psalms), God is their Primary Author.  This also means that, like the rest of Sacred Scripture, they are without error.  They say exactly what God wants them to say, no more and no less.  This is so important to reflect upon from time to time.

The Psalms are prayers—words which are meant to be addressed by man to God.  They are very special prayers, which God obviously intended man to use when praying to Himself.  You could say, then, that they are prayers written by God Himself to Himself; but prayers that He obviously wants us humans to use.  St. Paul once said, We do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us… [Rom 8:26].  We do not know how to pray, so God wrote the prayers for us—these prayers, the 150 Psalms, which are without error.  Perfect prayers, we can say.  Perfect, because the Author is perfect, and perfect they express exactly what He wants to express.  He puts the words in our hearts and on our lips which He wants us to say back to Him.

Now, that being said, it’s quite amazing what we can find in the Psalms.  Now, not only do the Psalms contain all of theology, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us, but they also can be said to express every human emotion.  This makes perfect sense.  Since God wants us to use them, 
and He knows what’s in men’s hearts [Jn 2:25] God made sure that the Psalms express things which are deep in the human heart, true sentiments of real people.  God knows all that is in man’s heart and wants us to bring it all to prayer, bring it all to Him.  

For instance, He wants us to bring to Him our anger.  Just consider these words from Psalms 34 and 54:  Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight those who fight me [Psalm 34]; Destroy their plans, O Lord, confuse their tongues.  He wants us to bring Him our sadness and despair:  Out of the depths I cry to Thee O Lord [Psalm 129]; My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? [Psalm 21], recited by our Lord Himself from His Cross.  

He wants us to bring Him our loneliness:  As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for Thee, O God…My tears have been my food day and night [Psalm 41]…Turn to me and be gracious to me; for I am lonely and afflicted [Psalm 24].  Our courage:  Let God arise, let His foes be scattered [Psalm 67]; The Lord is my rock and my fortress…He trains my hands for war, [Psalm 17].  Our joy:  Bless the Lord, O my soul [Psalm 102]; Sing a joyful song to the Lord, all the earth [Psalm 97]; Our hope:  The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want [Psalm 22]; Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why do you grown within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my savior and my God [Psalm 42].  And our love:  I love the Lord, for He has heard my voice and my supplications [Psalm 114].  Everything is contained in the Psalms:  all of theology (all pointing to Christ), and all the thoughts and sentiments of man.

Sometimes we can feel like God does not understand us, like He doesn’t see what we are going through.  Not only does He understand, He’s even given us beforehand the words He wants us to use to tell Him about it.  He knew ahead of time and so composed prayers for us which would express our deepest true sentiments, precisely so we could give it all to Him in prayer.

Remember that God knows the human heart.  Not only did He create it, He even took one for Himself when He became man, and in so doing felt all that we feel, experienced all we experienced, though He never sinned.

St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that “a hymn is the praise of God with song,” and that “nothing so moves the soul like a song.”  So, when we sing the Psalms God composed for us, we move Him, so to speak, to respond to us.  

God wants us to hate evil, and so He composed Psalms in which we express such sentiments; and God wants us to constantly cry out to Him in prayer over and over again, even as if He did not hear us, and so He composed Psalm in which we express such sentiments; and He wants us to thank Him, love Him, have hope in Him, find our ultimate joy in Him, and so He composed Psalms which express such sentiments.

In the Gradual from today’s Mass we heard the words, It is good to give praise to the Lord and to sing a psalm to Your Name, O Most High.  Make use of these prayers, written by God Himself for us.  You’ll find something in there for every occasion, every thought, every emotion—all perfectly already expressed by God.  Our Lord Himself would have prayed these Psalms often when He walked this earth, and so would have our Blessed Mother.  Pray a different Psalm each day; God wrote them for you and, loving Father that He is, loves to hear your voice.

Prayer Requests

• 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.