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Message from the Assistant Headmaster, 8/25/17

Dr. Jared RashfordDear Priory Families,

It has truly been an exciting week as our students and faculty returned to campus for the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. Many of our athletic teams began their regular seasons last weekend. Congratulations to our Varsity football players and coaches for garnering a big victory over Clayton High School in a closely fought game at home. The 412 members of our student body were all present for our first day of classes, and it was wonderful to see so many family members come together to celebrate our first all-school Mass of the year. I want to thank the many members of our faculty, staff, student and parent communities who worked to coordinate the many events that took place over the last week, laying the groundwork for a successful start of the year.

At Monday’s Rebel Round-up, I spoke about the importance of nurturing a sense of commitment to both our work and our relationships with each other. My remarks from that evening are below:

Each summer, as I prepare my very brief comments to mark the beginning of a new year, I attempt to draw inspiration from some reading, conversation or discussion that, in some way, has influenced my own way of thinking regarding how I approach my life, both at and away from Priory. A few weeks ago, I came across Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. Dr. Newport, a Computer Science professor at Georgetown University, argues that the ubiquitous use of technology in the modern era, complete with its numerous forms of distractions in our professional and personal lives, has the potential to interfere with our ability to perform deep, meaningful work. He goes on to suggest that not only does an emphasis on deep work offer such practical value as allowing individuals to perform at an elite level, but, perhaps more importantly, spending enough time focused on the same endeavors allows us to actually understand our world as rich in meaning and importance; thus cultivating a good life. At Priory, you students are expected to engage in various pursuits in the areas of academics, athletics, the arts, and other extracurricular activities. Each of these requires a level of participation that, hopefully, fosters and develops a sense of deep commitment and focus. Dr. Newport offers a menu of suggestions that he recommends to maximize the amount of time spend involved in focused activity, these range from keeping a visual scorecard of the time spent engaged in focus work to designating set periods during the day when you’re allowed to go online. I want to encourage all of us, this year, to do our own part to minimize whatever distractions might interfere with our attention and to re-dedicate ourselves to engaging more fully in the good work that we should all be about each and every day.

I also ask that each of us takes the time to reflect deeply on what is arguably the premier hallmark of a Benedictine education guiding everything we do as a school community: namely, Love of Christ and Neighbor. The Rule of St. Benedict tell us that Love is at the very heart of Benedictine monastic life. The life of the monk, like that of all Christians, is first and foremost a response to God's astonishing love for everyone, a love expressed in the free gift of his beloved Son, Jesus. At Priory, we all make a deep commitment to looking for real ways to celebrate a love of learning and desire for God, and everyone who participates in such an endeavor must make a commitment to the well-being of others; a commitment that nurtures compassion and never tolerates actions or behaviors that diminish another or allows for personal development at the expense of others. By dedicating ourselves to a pursuit of what is good, beautiful and true, our faculty, students, and parents should listen to the words of our Lord as we ground our own lives in response to His love for us and strive to share it freely with each other.

In Christ,

Dr. Jared M. Rashford
Assistant Headmaster

“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

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St. Louis, MO 63141
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