November 12, 2019

“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
  for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
  until the disaster has passed.”

Dear Parents and Friends of St. Michael’s School,

At our school Mass last Wednesday, Fr. Brent talked to our students about what it means to be a Christian. He reminded us about God’s great love for us, and that one day, we all hope to join Jesus in heaven for all eternity. He also reminded us that being a Christian is not easy. Like Christ, we all have to carry our own personal cross, and sometimes following Christ’s will for us is not always our will. Some of you may be familiar with Mother Angelica, who was a Catholic American Poor Clare nun, and the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). She was enthusiastic, funny, and perpetually filled with joy, but what most people remember about her is that her fiery and blunt messages often cut straight to the chase.
Teaching children about “carrying their cross” is, for some, uncomfortable. Most parents want to shield their children from struggle – to protect them and ensure that they are always happy. In our attempt to continuously pave the way for our children, however, we may be preventing them from experiencing the value in suffering: how will they be able to express compassion and empathy when others are experiencing sadness if they have not been in a similar situation? The road to heaven, as Fr. Brent mentioned, is not easy, and Mother Angelica explains, “Sometimes my worst day – one filled with pain and suffering – in the eyes of God, is my best day if I’ve borne it cheerfully and I’ve borne it with love.”

At St. Michael’s School, we teach our students to turn to God in prayer and present their needs before Him. St. Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7). Children need to know (and by know, I mean instinctively understand in every fiber of their being) that when they are sad or struggling, they can take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings.

Try as you might, you will not be able to protect them from every evil or danger. They will be tempted and they will falter. They will be sad and they will struggle. And when you can, you will be there to help, along with God, who can comfort them and lift them out of their despair. It is much easier to turn to God in times of distress when we have established a relationship with Him through frequent reception of the Sacraments. That we are able to celebrate Mass each week on Wednesdays at school is a blessing, but it should not be considered a replacement for Sunday Mass. For it is when we hear the Word of God, and receive Him in the Eucharist each week that we can face our challenges with joy and confidence.

Advent is right around the corner and is the start of the new Liturgical Year. Fr. Brent told the students last Wednesday that if they are not going to Mass on Sundays, they need to ask their parents to take them. If you are not Catholic, you are encouraged to attend your personal house of worship. Please help your children deepen their friendship with Jesus by making sure you go to Mass each weekend as a family. In doing so, you will be ensuring their protection and happiness for the rest of their lives. 
#speaklife #kindnessmatters
In Mission,