Encourage the Storm!

Morning Prayer: Encourage the Storm
August 2013
Patrick ’14

This summer I spent a week at a camp at the University of Notre Dame called ND Vision.  The week was focused on answering God’s call in our lives.  One of the first nights of camp, there was a speaker who was talking about truly opening your heart to God.  As he spoke, he used a phrase that has stuck with me long after I left.  He compared God’s love to a hurricane and said the key was to “encourage the storm”.  He went on to explain that this means allowing God to tear up everything that we think we can control in our lives.  Now being a Marist student, giving up control seems like the scariest of prospects.  It is so much more comfortable to keep God in those neat little boxes where I can reach him when I need to, but my life can go on without change.  What I have realized is that although living seems so much simpler, it is really a barrier standing between us and God.  God’s love is not organization; it is beautiful chaos.  “Embracing the storm” is about letting go and allowing God to rip away everything separating us no matter how scary it may seem.  It means ignoring the screaming voices worrying inside your head and allowing that whisper in your heart to be the guide.

Let us pray-

Dear Lord,

Help us to embrace the storm in our lives today.  Help us let go of our fears, desires, and burdens and be swept away by your love.  Grant us the trust to give up control and instead rely on faith.

Mary, seat of wisdom, Pray for us.

 

A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small

Morning Prayer: A Person’s a Person no Matter how Small
Respect Life Week – October 9, 2013
Prayer by Joanna ’15 and Hilary ’15:

A poem by Laura Graham Fetters:

Plain or pretty
Skinny or Fat
A person’s a person
I like it like that.

And if you speak funny
Like some of us do..
Guess what? You’re a person!
Oh my yes. It’s true.

Are you somewhat nutty?
A bit off your rocker?
You still count my dear friend
(I know it’s a shocker!)

If you have some limbs
That don’t work so well,
You’re 100 percent people..
This fact I do tell.

Do you like to eat liver?
(Though I think it’s gross).
That still makes you human
And to you I toast!

Your brain may be slow
or yet, fast it may be
But the fact still is this-
You suit God to a T.

Perhaps you are old
And your skin doesn’t fit.
But that doesn’t matter
Not one little bit…

Or maybe you’re tiny
And can hardly be seen
You are no less a person
To say so is mean.

Because you ARE a person
The most awesome of all…
And a person’s a person
No matter how small.

Let us pray:

God, we are often faced with very difficult decisions in our life – where we go to college, what we want to do with our lives, how we want to be viewed as a person. But decisions about respecting each other – those shouldn’t be difficult.

God, grant us the courage to make a choice that will make us better people.  Help us all to understand and accept one another and realize that we are all unique in our own way.

Amen.  Mary Seat of Wisdom. (Pray for us)

 

Essential Elements of a Marist Education

Essential Elements of a Marist Education:

How do you find the education you want for your child? Begin with a school’s mission statement and see how it is experienced by all members of its community.

Our mission at Marist School is to form the whole person in the image of Christ through instruction grounded in religious values, the teachings of the Catholic Church, and the spirit of the Society of Mary.  Our mission shapes the experiences of students in our classrooms, hallways, playing fields, and stages.

Primarily, we seek to educate by using the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus and the first disciple of Jesus.  According to the advice given in the 1850s by the founder of the Society of Mary, Father Jean-Claude Colin, to the faculty of the very first Marist school, we should seek to “think, feel, judge, and act as Mary would.”

Practically speaking, this advice gives our teachers, staff and administrators the following guidelines to build a relationship, as Mary would, with our students:

  • Never hold something against a student; they are still young.
  • Forgive students, and tell them that they are forgiven.
  • Hold students accountable for their actions, but don’t judge them personally.
  • Show students how to pray by praying before them and giving them opportunities to do the same.
  • Engage the students – talk to them with respect, ask a leading question, check the sarcasm.
  • Hold out hope when dealing with students and, if possible, offer them another chance.
  • Encourage students to make their own choices, and offer to help in guiding their decisions.
  • Take special interest in the student who needs extra care; be aware and include everyone as much as possible.
  • Have fun with students but never at their expense.
  • Be ready to apologize to a student if you have acted rashly or unfairly.
  • Advocate for students if and when that is required.

These elements are emphasized intentionally in our community, and we believe it makes a difference in the development of each child. We encourage our students to embrace these ideals and use them in their relationships with others.

As you explore our Marist School community further, I am confident you will see each of these in action.

Jim Byrne ‘83

Director of Admissions

 

 

 

Respect for all Life by Fr. Joel Konzen, S.M.

A number of years ago when I was stationed in Washington, DC, my cousin came from Ohio to visit.  She was maybe 23 at the time.  We went to the mall area for the day, visiting museums, the National Archives, and the memorials.  In the middle of the afternoon we sat down on a bench and looked around at all there was to see.  We didn’t speak for a while and I turned and asked her, “What are you thinking?”  She smiled and said, “Actually it’s about these great sights but more than that.  I’m thinking especially how glad I am that my birth mother carried me to term and allowed me to be adopted, which has allowed me to see so much and to look forward to a great life.  There’s a lot about my birth parents I’d like to know, but I’m just thankful more than anything else to be here.”  I was kind of stunned that that was what was on her mind at that moment, and I’ve never forgotten it.

If you attended a Catholic church over the weekend, you might have heard the theme of Respect Life being talked about.

The reason that the idea of respecting all life, not only unborn children but the handicapped, the poor, the elderly, and those in prison, the reason that it’s important for us to be reminded about the respect that’s due all the people, is that each life in God’s eye is special and particular and in need of support, and also it’s important because the messages that we hear are often about taking care of ourselves and not worrying about the unlucky other people who may not be as well off as we are.

It’s not just about luck, that some of us come out on top and some on the bottom in life.  It really is about helping everybody reach their full potential and to live life as fully as my cousin was able to or as fully as your handicapped brothers and sisters will or with the possibilities that Father David or Father Rowland or Father Bolduc talk about when they offer Mass for the men in the Fulton County Jail.  We have to believe that not only we were put here for a purpose but also all those who have less in the way of physical and mental ability, less chance to speak for themselves or to defend themselves, less money, less influence, less education.  Yes, like my cousin, we are all lucky and, I hope, grateful, and as we hear in the gospel, “From those to whom much is given much is expected in return.”

Let us pray.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

God, the source of our life and all goodness, help us to be aware of the value of the life you have given each one of us and of the same value in those we have not met or do not know but who long to be everything that they were made to become by you, their Creator.  Help us who have much to take notice of those who are in need of our support.  Direct us away from violence or cruelty because we are alive in the hope of the Resurrection and we are charged with bringing the Good News of that same hope to those in need of it.  Bless all who respect life daily in difficult places and situations.  May we honor your Creation by respecting the people you have given us to live with in peace and understanding.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Mary, Seat of wisdom.  Pray for us.

We Are Family

Once, in AP Language and Composition (affectionately called AP Lang), the class was having a discussion about the reading from the night before. Ms. Limlamai asked the class a question that no one had yet considered. After a moment or two of contemplative silence, I answered the question with another question, receiving some groans and some friendly smack talk. One of my classmates leaned over to me and laughed, “Serena, I feel like you LIKE school.”

The friendly accusation resonated with me. At the risk of being seen as “a dork” my answer is yes, I do like school.

Before you get any ideas, don’t get me wrong, schoolwork can be tedious and boring, and there are definitely some classes that I enjoy more than others. I most certainly don’t look forward to tests, I still groan at pop quizzes,  high school drama is inevitable and unavoidable, and stressful late nights are not exactly my forte, but I genuinely enjoy school. For a while, I couldn’t put my finger on the reason, but I think I’ve figured it out.

I love that Marist is a community first and foremost. There are hundreds of ways I could explain this aspect of my school, but my favorite example of this is Monday night Emmaus Meetings. First, some background.

All retreats at Marist are optional and are lead by classmates and peers, which is probably what makes them so successful. Emmaus is a junior and senior retreat lead by seniors that is backed by nearly 40 years of tradition. I attended the retreat as a junior and was chosen by teachers and peers to be 1 of the 5 Emmaus leaders on Emmaus Board—in other words, one of the five spiritual leaders of the school which is an incredible honor that I’m still not sure I’ve totally processed. Being on Board makes the entire Emmaus tradition near and dear to my heart. The monthly meetings are an integral part of the tradition.

The Emmaus Board on the first day of school

The Emmaus Board on the first day of school

The first Monday of each month is an Emmaus Meeting night. From 7 pm until whenever it’s over, a group of juniors and seniors gather in the sacristy of the chapel to…well, meet. All juniors and seniors are welcome whether or not they’ve attended the retreat yet, so every month the crowd is different. Each meeting has a topic such as Light of My Life or Where I See God or Burdens. A pair of Emmaus Retreat Leaders lead the discussion with a personal story or two, and then they open the floor. Whoever wants to speak, may. There are those who have something to share at every meeting and some who generally just listen—the meetings need both to make the magic that happens. We laugh, we inevitably cry, and we learn more about each other than we ever would have otherwise. Sometimes the meetings last 30 minutes, and sometimes they last two hours. The meetings only come to a close when it seems that everyone who would like to share has shared.

At the end of the meetings, we pray for one another, and then we share the sign of peace. Everyone hugs everyone else. Literally. No matter how close you are to a certain somebody, you hug each other, and oftentimes the hug is accompanied by a “Thank you for sharing” or a “I loved getting to know you better” or, my personal favorite, “I’m so glad I came.”

Some type of magic happens in that sacristy that can’t completely be contributed to the fact that…well, we meet in a sacristy. The bonds that form at the meetings are so deep and so personal that I leave every month feeling recharged. The community that we create together at Marist has and will continue to make such an wonderful impact on me and the way I see my peers and my school.

Spirit Day – Gatsby Style

This week is spirit week at Marist School with different spirit activities leading up to Homecoming this weekend.  Our theme this year is An Evening with Gatsby.  Today’s spirit activity is to dress up according to your grade’s assigned letter.  12th grade=G; 11th grade=A; 10th grade=T; 9th grade=S; 8th grade=B; 7th grade=Y.  Check it out!

Grandma and Geeky Grandson

Grandma and Geeky Grandson

Atlanta Thrasher

Atlanta Thrasher

Taco!

Taco!

Superheros

Superheros

8th grade girls homeroom

8th grade girls homeroom

7th grade boys homeroom

7th grade boys homeroom

Marist School Spirit

Everyone at Marist is very involved, and this time of year, I find there is always something to do. Right now I am spending most of my time playing Varsity Softball and creating the Yearbook. My days are packed tight, but they are full of things I love. With all of my activities plus the college application process, I am in a constant state of business.

On top of all these things I have to do personally, there is so much going on in general at Marist. Football games are a popular way to end the week for students. Last week was Camo night for the Seniors as we played one of our rivals, Lovett School. It is always fun to play schools where we know other students. It heightens everyone’s drive to win, so students get more involved and cheer louder. This past Friday night, school spirit was at an all-time high. The game went into double overtime, and I have never seen the Seniors so involved in a game. Even though we lost the game, we couldn’t have cheered any harder.

The beginning of this year has set the bar high in terms of school spirit. I am on the Senior Spirit Committee and am thrilled to be participating in this way. The first school pep rally of the year was a few weeks ago. It was one of the best we have had in my time at Marist, and I’m not just saying that because I led it, haha. The success of the pep rally had little to do with who was leading it, and more to do with students involvement and cheering. You could feel the excitement in the air. Whenever all the students get excited, the whole energy of the school changes. We become a united front that can take on anything.

I hope this united student body that we have been this first couple weeks can become the norm for the year. Everything is so much more fun when the entire student body cares and is involved. I hope that this year as a Senior Class we can get the school to be more involved than ever to make it a memorable year for everyone.
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Morning Prayer: A Smile

Morning Prayer: A Smile
September 26, 2013
by Joey  ’14

What’s in a smile? Seriously guys, like what does it mean to smile? Is it just us moving a couple of muscles in our mouths upwards? Is it that thing we always have to do at our homecoming picture parties while we stand with our dates for what seems like ages? Oooo I know. A smile is that shape they paint on clowns’ faces, right?

What’s in a smile? Have we ever taken the time to actually consider this question? I mean we do it like every day when we see our friends and stuff, so we gotta know what it is, right? Still thinking about it? Lemme give you a few ways that some people have defined a smile over the years.

A smile is a curve that will set everything straight.
A smile is the universal language of kindness.
It is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.
A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.
Douglas Horton even calls it “free therapy.”

The fact of the matter is this: we don’t know what’s going on inside of everyone else. Johnny may be having a great day, but Shelly not so much. But a smile never hurt anyone. In fact, there is SO much power bundled up into that tiny, little facial expression. Can you believe that? A smile has power! Not only that, that power is contagious too. You see, for some people, that smile is motivation to keep having a great day, a way to support them and encourage their positive outlook. And for others, that smile may be all they need to turn their day around.

And so, as you go about your busy lives today, I ask that you do one thing for me. Just one. Please follow Frank Sinatra’s advice. “Keep on smiling cuz when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.”

Let us pray.
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for our smiles. We sometimes forget about them, but we just wanted to let You know how much they mean to us and how every now and then, even a smile can make our day. Lord, allow us to use our smiles as instruments of Your love and peace. Most importantly, open our eyes to see the joy in our experiences and to see Your presence acting in our lives so that in doing so, we can more easily smile and know that somewhere up in heaven, You’re always smiling at us too.
In Your Son’s name, we pray. Amen.
Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

Welcome to the School that Never Sleeps

Dear Reader,

My name is Christopher.  I’m 17, I’m a Starbucks aficionado, I want to be a diplomat when I grow up, and I read the newspaper every morning.  And through it all, I’m a Marist student.

Even though you may have read my bio on the opening browser, I figured I’d still start out describing the meaning behind my Marist experience; if you’re going to be reading about my life for the coming months, some background would probably be helpful.  Because to me, Marist means community.  Just like with any situation, people have different backgrounds, different opinions, and different experiences that make them see the world differently, yet any visitor to our campus automatically notices students who take to heart our very Marist values each day: discipleship, trust in God, ardent love of neighbor, hospitality, inclusion, and service – just to name a few.

Because it seems that no matter what the circumstances, Marist students are welcoming.  We are a community, and especially this year, in my last year, I appreciate that familial environment more and more each time I drive on campus.  I’ve talked to people I’ve never really gotten to know before, I’ve greeted teachers in the hallway who have never had me in class before, and I’ve made an effort to be a part of every arm of the school.  The time is running out to make the most of not just the experiences, but the people around me.

Last Saturday, for example, I went to my first cross country meet.  It’s been six years, and I’ve never once gone to campus to see my fellow classmates struggle under the heat of the sun.  Maybe it’s the Atlanta weather or the early mornings or the possibility of sweating (you see, I just don’t do “sweat”), but I’ve always avoided those meets, and I didn’t want my Marist experience to simply pass by without attending at least one.  And so, I woke up at 9:00, drove over to Marist, and I will tell you – I wish I had discovered the fun and fellowship sooner.  I went on the trail, cheered on my friends, and talked to kids from other schools whom I’ve never even met – and through it all, don’t worry, I didn’t sweat.

As an actor in the school musicals, I often hear the same story: seniors who attend their first play and regret never going beforehand, but there’s just so much going on that you can’t do it all.  People often say Marist is the campus that never sleeps.  Well, although at any high school sleep can sometimes be hard to come by, the Marist body is truly always moving.  From sunup to sundown and beyond, students are always given the opportunity to do something, to meet people, to enjoy life.  And so goes the Marist experience.  So much goes on that, as I said, there’s not even time to see everything our school has to offer, and in my last year, I’m trying to soak all the Marist spirit into my skin before May 24 comes along.  We’ve got a long way to go, but time goes by quickly when you’re having fun.  It’s unfortunate, then, that the past few weeks have been so much fun..

Not Your Typical Welcome

My name is Serena and I’m your typical Marist student. Sort of.

I’m typical because I care deeply about my school, my peers, and my teachers. I’m typical because I wear a pony tail and glasses on days when I have big assignments. I’m typical in that my saddle shoes are my closest companions, and I know to buy a cookie in the cafeteria to make a bad day better. I care about my schoolwork and do my best in all my classes, even when that includes a heavy workload and late nights. I’m typical because I make the most of tutorial time to get help on assignments and to chat with teachers just to get to know them better.  I ask a lot of questions, and I feel like I’m always at school, even on the weekends (Marist is called the campus that never sleeps for a reason!). I’m typical because I know most of my peers regardless of grade, and I can’t walk through the halls without giving and receiving a smile, a hi-five, and a warm hello. I’m typical in that I know the campus like the back of my hand but still sometimes forget which lunch period I have. I rarely leave school before 4:00 whether that’s due to tutorial, socializing, or after-school activities. I’m typical because I love my senior uniform, but I count down the days until the next Blue and Gold spirit day. I love the volleyball matches and soccer games just as much as Friday night football. I’m typical because I’m never at a loss for something to do during Activity Period, and I look forward to optional Wednesday morning Mass.

That being said, at Marist, it’s also “typical” to set yourself apart. There are so many opportunities that it’s nearly impossible not to!

I am a part of Marist Theater and have been since seventh grade. In seventh and eighth grade, I played tennis and lacrosse, too, before finally deciding that I felt more comfortable on the stage than on the court or the field. As a senior, I’m Editor-in-Chief of Rapier, the school’s literary magazine (Fun Fact:  Coincidentally, the three Marist bloggers are each in charge of one of Marist’s three publications!).  This will be my fourth year on Rapier staff, and it will be the fiftieth volume of Rapier, which I am incredibly excited about! I am a third year Student Ambassador—a tour guide and greeter for official school events like Open House and Shadow Days. I am also on Emmaus Board, which means I am one of five spiritual leaders of the school, but more on that later. I’m German Club Co-President, a Eucharistic Minister, a STAND leader, a Blue and Gold writer/columnist, a retreat leader, a Peer2Peer tutor, and more.

It’s safe to say that I keep myself sufficiently busy, but I enjoy the occasional chaos. Each and every group or organization I am a part of is rewarding in so many ways, both personally and to the community. Everyone is involved in something, which is just one of the many reasons that the “typical” Marist student is not so typical after all.