•This Sunday (October 1) Parent-Teacher conferences. 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].
•On Thursday, October 5, Mr. Nicholas Hanson, our College Counselor, and Frater Emmanuel will take a group of students to Santa Margarita High School for a college fair.
•On Friday, October 6, representatives from Hillsdale College will be visiting our school in the morning.
•The next Parent Prayer Group Meeting is on Sunday, October 8, at Maria Lange's home, at 7:00 PM. All parents are welcome to come and pray!
•On October 8, at 3:30 PM, we will have an Open House for prospective students. Feel free to spread the word to interested families.
•On Wednesday, October 11, our sophomores will be taking the pre-ACT and the juniors will be taking the PSAT during the school day.
•Congratulations to our cross country and football teams on their recent performances!!
•Our next football game is: Friday, October 6, at 3:30 PM, against San Jacinto Valley Academy [San Jacinto Valley Academy, 480 N San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583].
•Our next cross country meet is: Tuesday, October 3, on Catalina Island, at 2:15 PM.
•Thanks to all who participated in the “tail-gating” party before yesterday’s football game as well as the pot-luck dinner afterwards!!
Holy other Church has dedicated this Month of October to several things: the pro-life movement, the Holy Rosary; and it is also dedicated to the holy angels, those wonderful creatures which number somewhere in the billions. And seeing that we just celebrated three days ago the Feast of St. Michael, it might not be a bad idea to consider briefly that fallen angel, from whom St. Michael and the other angels continuously defends us. We never want to give too much “air time” to the Father of Lies (he is certainly not worth it); but perhaps every now and then we should say something about him lest we forget that he is there (although it is hard to imagine how anyone could forget that the devil exists).
One of the most common question concerning the devil is how or why did he ever fall from his original lofty state—having been given so much, why did he give it all away?
Tucked away, as it were, in the Scriptures is something that might shed some light on the nature of this disaster. More than once in the Gospels our Lord tells a parable (in fact, we just heard it last Sunday) in which a king invites guests to his son’s wedding. All of the invited guests refused to come, all offering excuses based on their own personal preferences: the need to tend the farm or to take care of their business transactions, some even go so far as to kill the servants who invited them. These ungrateful guests are, in turn, killed by the king. In addition, another one who later shows up dressed improperly for the banquet is kicked out and thrown into the outer darkness. Both these punishments, to be killed and to be thrown into the outer darkness, represent eternal damnation. In another parable of our Lord we hear of that same punishment—the one where someone buries his own talent instead of spending it as the master wished—he too is “thrown out into the outer darkness.”
Such a punishment might seem a bit too severe for the respective crimes; but in fact it is most appropriate—it is the same punishment given to the devil, because it is ultimately the same sin. Refusing to go to the banquet and to share the good offered to them, not coming to the banquet with the proper attire—doing only what suits one’s own desires, not spending the talents as the master wished, but keeping it for oneself: all these seemingly minor offenses are really so many manifestations of putting one’s own personal desires before the common good, that is a good which is far greater and more universal than their own personal preference, a good which, because of its greatness is to be enjoyed by all.
Speaking about the fall of the angels, St. Gregory the Great [Moralium Lib. XXXIV, c. 21] says, that they “desired their own heavenly beatitude and so lost the shared heavenly beatitude”; St. Augustine says that the evil angels “fell away from a superior beatific good common to all, for the sake of their own good”; and St. Thomas Aquinas says that the sin of Lucifer was that he desired his own singular excellence [Ia q. 63, a. 2, c]. In short, the fallen angels refused the gift offered them simply because it was a good which was to be participated in by others, and a gift which was given by God gratuitously.
Think about it. The devil and the other fallen angels were not ignorant of the greatness of the gift offered them. They were not stupid. They knew perfectly well that God is the most Perfect Good one can possess. They knew that the heavenly banquet was the source of all goodness and joy; but they could not stand the fact that they had to share that good with others. They could not stand the fact that this heavenly gift, which no creature really deserves, was to be offered to all—even to lowly man. Lucifer and his followers desired God, but in such an inordinate way—they wanted Him as a good which would satisfy their own personal desires—that, to borrow the words of a poet, “They preferred to reign in hell than to be subservient in heaven.” They sought only their own convenience. They made themselves the center of the universe, and now they are stuck with only themselves for all eternity.
Charity prefers the common good to private convenience…, said St. Augustine, Wherefore the more you give attention to the common good rather than your own, the more you may know that you advance in perfection. Now to us who have grown up fighting communism this idea of the primacy of the common good over the individual’s personal good might sound a bit strange. And because communism, which does not really promote the common good—because communism has been all too often opposed by personalism (which incorrectly exalts the individual to the highest summit), we might be afraid to assert the importance of the common good over the personal good. But St. Thomas teaches us that all things by nature seek the common good.
We see this, for instance, even among the animals—the bear naturally risks her life in order to protect her cubs. Man too, before the Fall, always sought the common good, the greatest Common Good share by all, namely God. And just consider the following examples: It’s time to leave the home for Sunday Mass. Everyone is dressed properly, everyone, that is, except your teenage son. He insists on wearing his Led Zeppelin t-shirt and his favorite earring in his nose—after all that’s what he desires for himself. Now what is the greater good? Your son’s personal comfort or the family’s good reputation? Or another example: It’s Saturday morning and time to clean the house. Everyone is doing their part, everyone, that is, except you, who prefer to crack open a Bud and park it on the couch. What is the greater good? Your desire for a little college football or the house in which the whole family lives? And finally: a person is found guilty of a horrible crime and sent to life in prison; but he is not comfortable in prison and complains to the ACLU that his rights are violated, freedom taken away and personal dignity injured. What is greater, the protection of society or this criminal’s “personal dignity”?
The fact is that in all these cases: the teenage son, the lazy husband, the criminal—the private good of the individual must take a backseat to the common good. And the common good for which one must sacrifice his private good is not only good for everyone else, but it is even better for the individual than his own personal desires. By preferring the common good to their own private good all of the individuals (the teenager, the husband, the criminal) will in fact be happier than if they neglected it.
Yes, personal human dignity is important—no doubt about it; but human dignity receives its value from God, by Whom and for Whom we have been created. And that dignity of the individual is sustained as long as it does not seek to exalt itself above the common good. And God is the greatest Common Good—a Good which cannot be exhausted and in which all are called to share, a Common Good to which we all must submit. The world does not revolve around “me”, but around God. The devil too tried to exalt himself above the Common Good, and as a result he “fell like lightening from the sky.”
How that Father of Lies loves to see us imitate him by either crushing man with communism or exalting him higher than the heavens with personalism—both of which in the end degrade man, because they both (communism and personalism) upset the God-given order in creation.
May God grant us an increase in charity, which always seeks the good of the other and has for its proper object the Highest Common Good—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; so that humbly imitating St. Michael and the good angels, we might help defeat the Father of Lies and so be raised on high to enjoy forever the eternal banquet to which we have all been called.
•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.