Slideshow image

A Message From Father Gregory on the Anniversary of the Sept. 11 Terrorist Attacks

Father Gregory writes...

I write this reflection on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I am sure that all of us can remember where we were when we learned of those awful events, and we can recall the mixture of emotions we all felt in the hours and days that followed.

The unfolding events and persistent threats to the world in the Middle East remind us that terror is now a part of everyday life. I am reminded of this when people ask me what is different about Priory since the time I first assumed the responsibilities of Headmaster twenty years ago. I tell them that in those days we did not think about the possibility that someone might come on to our campus with the intent of doing grave harm to our students. We now have security measures in place that twenty years ago would never have been thought necessary.

The challenges we face encompass other areas of life, as we watch the unfolding tragedy of the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa. I am particularly aware of this, as a friend of mine, who is an infectious disease specialist, has untaken to travel to Liberia and spend the next several months there assisting in the efforts to control the epidemic.

The challenges which the world faces are brought close to home, as we have all experienced in these past weeks the distress in our own metropolitan community, caused by the events in Ferguson.

The world we live in can seem quite precarious; in many ways it is not very different from the world Saint Benedict found himself living in. His vision of monastic life sought to create places of peace in such a world, where people might seek God, and thus live together in a way that gave witness to the enduring reality of the presence of God in our midst. Saint Benedict’s monasteries were indeed islands of refuge.

There is a way in which our school is like that. Despite all the challenges we face, Priory is a place of security and peace, where the young men who come to us can grow in mind, body and spirit in an atmosphere that nurtures their awareness of the presence of God. Such a place can serve as a witness to the reality of God in our midst.

But it is important that such a refuge not become simply a fortress against the world. It is important that we stay connected to the world which is so in need of the healing presence of God. So we all must find ways to keep ourselves aware of and engaged in the realities of the world, and bring the pain and suffering of so many to the Lord.

One practical way to unite yourselves to the Church’s ongoing work for peace in the world is to join the monks at one of their regular Masses: Monday through Thursday at 5:45 p.m, Fridays at 8:15 a.m., Saturday at 8:45 a.m., and Sunday at 9:00 a.m.

The Church’s prayer from the Mass for the Preservation of Peace and Justice seems a fitting way to sum up all our aspirations:

“O God, who shows a father’s care for all, grant, in your mercy, that the members of the human race, to whom you have given a single origin, may form in peace a single family and always be united by a fraternal spirit.”



“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


Saint Louis Abbey

Saint Louis Priory School

500 South Mason Road
St. Louis, MO 63141
P. 314.434.3690    F.314.576.7088
Contact Us | Privacy Policy

Make a Gift