• Our Parent-Teacher conferences are on Sunday, September 30. All students and parents (who do not live out of town) are required to attend. We begin with the freshmen at 6:00 PM; sophomores at 6:30 PM; juniors at 7:00 PM; seniors at 7:15 PM. The teachers and their respective classrooms will be posted when you arrive. Students are to be in complete uniform; they lead the conferences [new students will be instructed ahead of time how to do this].
• Our Robotics Team will have its first competition on October 6.
• On Sunday, October 14, 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 next football game is Thursday, September 27, at 3:30 PM, at St. Michael’s.
St. Paul tells us in today’s second reading three very important things, all interrelated. First, that God wills the salvation of all men. Second, that there is one mediator between God and man, namely Jesus Christ. Third, that we must pray for everyone.
When our Blessed Mother appeared to the three young children in Fatima in 1917, she told them that many people are going to hell because they have no one to pray for them. Can you think of a sadder statement? “But,” you might object, “I thought you just said that God wants us all to be saved!” He does; but He also wants us to be involved in the redemption of souls. He wants us to be so involved that He will often not give the graces to those who need them if He is not asked. Hence the reason our Blessed Mother gives for so many going to hell: no one prays for them.
It’s like this. When we are baptized, we are given what we call sanctifying grace. This grace makes us sharers in God’s divine nature, children of God, members of His Mystical Body the Church. It makes us holy, sanctified; and as such, it makes us pleasing to God and able to perform works which are meritorious—works, in other words, for which God not only gives us a reward, but in a certain sense, owes us a reward. As a perfectly just God, He binds Himself to reward us for the meritorious deeds we perform. And as children of God, sharers in His own divine nature, our prayers are very powerful—more powerful than we really know. Though, strictly speaking, God is not bound to answer all our prayers, because we are His friends—His children in fact—on account of the sanctifying grace within us—because of that relationship between God and us, He is definitely inclined to hear our prayers, as loving father finds it hard to refuse the legitimate request of one of his children.
Well, when someone falls into mortal sin (serious sin), they lose that sanctifying grace. They no longer share in His divine nature, at least until they repent and go to Confession; they have temporarily lost the friendship of God. While in the state of mortal sin they are spiritually dead, you can say—that’s why it’s called “mortal” sin. As such, they are unable to perform deeds which are meritorious, and their prayers are no longer as powerful as they once were. They need the prayers of another to get them back on track. Now, we should note here that the person who habitually practices his faith but occasionally, or even often falls into mortal sin out of some weakness, but is struggling at his best to be a good Catholic—such a person, we can be sure, will definitely be heard if he lifts his heart to God in humble prayer and asks for the grace of repentance. So, no one who is truly a practicing Catholic should fall into despair over a mortal sin—just repent and go to Confession.
But what about the person who has fallen away from the faith, or the person who has never had the faith, or the person who does not want the faith and even hates the faith? How can they ever be given the grace of God, the grace of repentance and conversion? They are, in a sense, miles away from God. Here’s where our prayers are so necessary. Again, just consider a human family. Son gets into trouble. Dad is angry with son. Dad is in no mood to hear son’s request to go to the football game. But now the sister comes in—you know, the sister who never gets into trouble—and says, “Dad, I am asking on my brother’s behalf; please let him go to the football game.” Or even better still, mom comes in and asks for son; and then all the siblings come in and ask for the son. How can the dad resist a request from so many whom he loves?
This is why St. Paul tell us to pray for everyone—everyone. Notice that St. Paul even says in today’s reading to pray for kings and all in authority. Well the king, or the emperor at that time was Nero. And while it’s true that Nero never converted, we do know that many of his royal house did convert.
Maybe one of the reasons St. Paul was so insistent on praying for the sinner was because his own conversion was the result of someone else praying for him. Remember that St. Paul before his conversion was not just anti-Catholic; he was actually murdering Catholics. He ordered the death of St. Stephen; and tradition has always maintained that it was St. Stephen’s prayers for Saul that brought about his conversion, that made Paul the saint out of Saul the murderer.
In today’s Gospel our Lord says something which can be quite confusing at first glance: “Make friends with dishonest wealth.” Our Lord, in fact, is instructing those who have an abundance of worldly wealth—which is always a great source of temptation, and therefore called “dishonest wealth”—He instructs them to use it to perform acts of charity, acts of mercy; and in this way those who have wealth can resist the temptations which come with it, they can glorify God, and make friends with those from whom they might just someday need a favor. Not bad advice. Well, if that’s the case with those who have worldly wealth, what about we who possess “spiritual wealth,” we who, as friends of God, have powerful prayers and can do so much good for those who are far from Christ, the One Mediator between God and man?
To try to command the unbeliever into believing is like trying to command a blind man into seeing. It doesn’t work. In other words, it’s ultimately all about grace. And that grace comes from God, but we have to ask Him for it. Some of the most beautiful words a priest ever hears are, “Bless me Father for I have sinned; it’s been 30 years since my last confession.” How in the world has that person come back after so long? Someone was praying for him; that “someone” could be you.
• 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.