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First Day of School Photos and Homily

First Day of School 2018

Click here to see these photos on Flickr

Father Cuthbert's First Day of School Homily

Good morning, gentlemen, and welcome back to school. And especially, welcome to our new 7th grade. It's probably a little overwhelming right now, but believe it or not, the time will pass very quickly, and soon you'll be sitting over there (in the seniors' section), and you'll look a lot more comfortable, if still a little nervous. 

Why are we here this morning? Specifically here, in this church? We got you here to school at 8 a.m. (7:50, actually). We crammed you into advisory, we processed all of your excitement, we handed out all of these schedules, we told you you'd be doing lots of stuff today in a very short amount of time. And then we forced you to come over here, to sit up straight, to not put your feet on the kneelers, to be very attentive, and to listen very carefully. Why? It seems unnatural. 

It's going to be a long year. It's going to be an exciting year. There's going to be a lot of great opportunities, and I know you well enough to know that you're going to meet these challenges as they come. But before you begin anything — any new task, any new work, before you bang your head against the wall in frustration, there's one thing you should do, and that's pray.

Pray. It sounds maybe a little unappetizing, a little unnatural, but it's at the heart of everything we should do. And it's why we're here this morning.

Today I want to invite you to pray for something very special. Today I want you to pray to the Holy Spirit. The reason that Abbot Gregory and I, and all the other priests, are wearing red is because this is a Votive Mass to the Holy Spirit. Before you begin any good work, St. Benedict tells us — the scriptures tell us — pray for inspiration, pray for guidance, pray for strength. "Before you begin any good work," isn't just academics, and it isn't just on the field. I want you to think about "every good work" being every interaction you have with one another.

If you were listening to this morning's reading, it was originally from Pentecost. And yes, the Jews are all assembled for one of the most holy feasts of the year. But there are other people in Jerusalem too. Parthians, Medes and Elamites. These gentlemen all come from Persia, modern-day Iran, and they have a beautiful and interesting culture. But to the Jews and the early Christians, they were fearsome. They were the historical oppressors of that people — they invaded Jerusalem, they conquered it. They made them worship their own gods. They killed their wives and their children. And then you hear or the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, of Judea, and Cappadocia. That's the area of the Middle East where many of the Jews were forced to go when they were invaded. And then Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia. This is the area of modern-day Turkey, Asia Minor. Again, this is where many people fled to after all of the invasions. Egypt, and the districts of Libya near Cyrene. This is both — this is both a place for refugees, and also the home of people who conquered the Middle East. Travelers from Rome — they were the oppressors of the 1st Century A.D. But then we have clarification. These people are not just Jews and they're not just oppressors — they're also converts. And they're people that haven't even considered the God of the Jews, the God of the Christians.

This is a rich mix of peoples, and they've all been brought together by the Holy Spirit. And they've been all brought together for one purpose — unity. Unity is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Unity is what binds us together, and we nurture and support this divine gift to be one with Jesus Christ through our sacraments. But also we support it through how we treat one another.

You are all amazing young men, and you have so much tremendous potential this year to lead one another in examples of charity. So please, give your heart and your soul to your academics, to your athletics. But also to your faith. And also to one another. Because, and I tell you boys and I mean it with all of my heart, if you do this thing together, this tremendous undertaking of your lives right now, you will succeed. And you will succeed in ways you never knew were possible. You will discover gifts you never knew God has given you, and that God has given your classmates. And the more you know yourselves, the more you know your friends, the more you know the underclassmen, the more you will transform the world, and it starts right here. 

So I ask you, please pray to the Holy Spirit. Pray to him for strength, pray to him for guidance, and pray to him for unity. 

“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


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Saint Louis Priory School

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St. Louis, MO 63141
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