An Interview With God

Morning Prayer: An Interview With God
April 29, 2014
Prayer by Christopher ’14

I dreamed I had an interview with God.

“Come in,” God said. “So, you would like to interview me?”

“If you have the time,” I said.

God smiled and said:
“My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; What questions do you have in mind to ask me?”

“What surprises you most about mankind?”

God answered:
“That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again…

That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health…

That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future…

That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived.”

God’s hands took mine and we were silent for awhile and then I asked… “As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”

God replied with a smile:
“To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved…

To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives…

To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis…

To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least…

To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them…

To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness…

To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings…

To learn that money can buy everything but happiness…

To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different…

To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them, and likes them anyway…

To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves.”

I sat there for awhile enjoying the moment. I thanked Him for his time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, “Anytime. I’m here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I’ll answer.”

Dear Lord,

We always have so much to learn from you, so as we approach the end of this school year, let us slow down and appreciate everything and everyone that we have around us.  May we enjoy our time with you and with others so that we can practice the love and forgiveness that you understand so well.

Amen.  Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Pray for Us.

Holy Week

Morning Prayer: Holy Week
April 14, 2014
Prayer by Fr. Joel Konzen, S.M., Principal of Marist School

A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, I was sitting in a student desk in a Marist classroom.  It was the first hour that day of a debate and speech tournament that Marist was hosting.  I was listening to 10-minute prepared speeches that high school students from around Georgia were giving.  I was surprised when the last speaker moved to the front of the room and began with a statement saying in blunter terms than I’m using that all her life she had been thought of as unattractive and, as a result, made fun of to the point of spending most of her days miserable and depressed.  She recounted locking herself in bathroom stalls at school so that she could escape taunts from classamtes, and she described the effect of her mother’s death, which further complicated her situation.  Her outlet, more and more, had come to be writing, and especially writing about her experiences.  It seemed to have been her saving grace.

The Marist student who sat beside me and the three other people in the room were, I’m sure, no less surprised than I was.  I was left pondering the fact that this girl didn’t have to think about what she would use as her subject; it was obvious to her that the subject was what she was bearing and contending with every day.

All of us are trying to get better each day at feeling what someone else is feeling and trying to understand their experiences.  This requires a healthy portion of respect.  I am glad for the respect that Marist students show each other and those outside the school on a daily basis, and I’m glad for the lessons and the advice that Marist teachers and coaches give in the area of respecting others.

In this week that we call Holy Week, when we remember the sufferings of Jesus because he was human, because he was one of us, let us pray that we can recognize the value of those whose experience is different from ours and that we can respond in love and respect to any cry of anguish or plea for help that we might hear today and each day to come.  In that way, we accompany Jesus on His journey from abandonment and pain in his last hours to the new life and joy that comes with leaving behind doubts and uncertainties that weigh us down.

Let us pray.

In the name of the Father…  O God, you who show us the path out of our own worries by calling us to serve others and to think of their needs over our own, give us the way to see your Son Jesus in those in distress and to reach out to them in care and respect.  Because of the abundant life that we have been given in Christ, our joy, may we express our thanks to you this week by helping others to carry their crosses as we shoulder our own burdens.  We praise you for what we can learn from the suffering of Jesus, and we hope we can imitate his ways and finally follow him to everlasting life.  In Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom,Pray for Us.

Safety First

This week we welcome students from Marist Fuerstenzell, a Marist School in Germany, who are part of the German Exchange Program.

Erwin Gierl, teacher and chaperone, gave this mornings prayer:

“Safety first”, the pilot had said and so we arrived more than one hour later in Atlanta due to technical problems.

What can make me safe in my life?  Money?  Success?  Possessions?  They are all fleeting.

What makes me safe is faith – though I can only believe and not prove.  But knowing that our Lord is always with me gives me strength and the feeling of safety.

Thank you for praying for Marist Fuerstenzell.

Thank you for your warm welcome here in Atlanta.

Thank you for making this exchange program possible for our young people.

Knowing that I have friends all over the world makes me safe.

The Lord’s Prayer

Vater unser im Himmel,
geheiligt werde dein Name;
dein Reich komme;
dein Wille geschehe,
wie im Himmel so auf Erden.
Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute.
Und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern;
und führe uns nicht in Versuchung,
sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen.

Denn dein ist das Reich und die Kraft
und die Herrlichkeit in Ewigkeit.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.


Morning Prayer: Choices
April 2, 2014
Prayer by Sara Adelaide ’16 and Ansley ’16:

 SADD color

Continuing the theme of “Making  Good Choices” for Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) week, we would like to begin prayer with a poem:


by Allen Steble

We all have a choice
to live a lie
or be ourselves
to laugh and cry
or to follow someone else

to look up and smile
or bow down and frown
to walk the whole mile
or take off our crown

We have a choice
to shout out loud
or chant a whisper
to fly through the clouds
or to be blown like paper

to conquer our fear
or hide in the shadow
to the wise words hear
or be thrown out the window

We all have a choice
to climb our highest mountain
or fall into our deepest hole
to drink from life’s fountain
or live life like a troubled soul

to learn love in the heart
or grasp to hate with regret
to wake up and start
or sleep until sunset

We all have a choice
to speak truly with ourselves
or go against what seems

We all have a choice
to fulfill our greatest dreams


We chose this poem because it talks about the daily decisions and choices we have to make in our lives and how our choices can impact ourselves, others, and who we are.

Let us pray –

This is another day, O Lord.  I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.  If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.  If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly.  If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently.  And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly.  Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Mary, seat of wisdom… Pray for us.


Morning Prayer: Mary
March 24, 2014
Prayer by Fr. John Harhager, S.M., President of Marist School:

March is Women’s History Month.  This is our opportunity to remember all of the great women who contributed much to our world, our country, our church and to our school community.

It is fitting for our school and during this Season of Lent that we remember Mary – the most important woman in Church history.  She was the first disciple, the faithful disciple, the one who stayed with Jesus to the last.  We are told in John’s Gospel that she was present at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and was also there at the foot of the cross at the end.  She perfectly models for us: Discipleship.

The 13th century hymn, the “Stabat Mater,” is traditionally sung during the Stations of the Cross.  I invite you to pray with me as I recite a few of the verses of this beautiful hymn:

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

O thou Mother! Fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

Mary, seat of wisdom… Pray for us.

Birthday Brownies

Morning Prayer: Birthday Brownies
February 27, 2014
Prayer by Mr. Eric Rangus, Director of Communications:

My birthday was two weeks ago. It fell right in the middle of our second snowstorm, so the celebration was rather muted, and in many ways, better than the original plan. Instead of a night out for dinner, it was a night in with neighbors. Instead of some big meal in some loud restaurant, I got brownies delivered.

It was a great evening and since I was home all day, I got to watch a lot of Olympic curling, which is not insignificant. Another unintended weather-related consequence was that by necessity, the celebration was extended to allow everyone to take part.

Last week, all the staff in the Hartnett Building, where my office is located, got together for a casual birthday lunch and desserts. We do this for everyone in the building –it’s a very nice tradition, and I was the lucky one whose turn came up.

Father Rowland led the blessing and he wrote a beautiful prayer for me. I won’t read it verbatim, because I don’t want to steal anyone else’s work, but one phrase has stuck in my mind ever since I heard it. In mentioning my role here at Marist, Father Rowland described it as being “charged with the task of following in the footsteps of the Archangel Gabriel and communicating the message about the mission and spirituality of the Society of Mary.”

Following in the footsteps of Archangel Gabriel. The Messenger of God. That’s a pretty serious path. Am I up to following that road? What if I can’t?

I thought about that a lot, and first thing that entered my mind was how I thought about it. What if I can’t? What if I can’t communicate the word of God? I thought about it some more and really focused on the word “can’t.” And it’s negativity. Was I assuming that it would be too difficult and I couldn’t measure up?

And then I thought about it some more and realized, I was looking at it all wrong. I should be thinking about the ways that I can deliver the word of God. Not only on a page or a computer screen, but in my actions and deeds. Speaking and acting with humility and generosity and ardent love of neighbor. Accepting with grace the gifts that I am given and to give gifts of my own with happiness.

That’s not a difficult path. It’s an aspirational one to be sure. And it does require some effort. It can be easy to step off the trail, but it is just as easy to get back on it. Wherever it leads.

Let us pray …

Dear Lord, please watch over us and guide us as we communicate your word in our own ways – be writing or speech or action.

And when plans go awry or our path hits a wall or leads to a cliffside, or a big patch of ice. Give us the strength to change that path or plan … to improvise, find a new direction for it may lead to brownies … amen.

Mary, seat of wisdom, pray for us.



Largeness of Heart

Morning Prayer: Largeness of Heart
February 26, 2014
Prayer by Dr. Kathryn Hamrlik, Theology Teacher:

A few months ago, I went on a retreat, where a friend gave a talk.  I’d like to share a story from her remarks there was particularly moving for me. These are her words:

Early last spring, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I decided to do laundry before settling in with a good book. I live in a high rise apartment building and the laundry is in the basement. Having changed into comfortable clothes, meaning sweats and flip flops, I brought the laundry downstairs.

Returning to my apartment, I realized that I had locked myself out. No house keys, no car keys, no cell phone, no money, no subway pass….nothing except laundry detergent.

Luckily, I keep a second set of keys in my office desk at a non-profit organization about 2 ½ miles away.

Hoping to reach a friend to drive me in, I went outside, stopped a passerby and asked to borrow his phone. I quickly realized that I don’t know anyone’s number…they are all programmed into my phone.

Running out of options, I walked in flip flops, in the rain, the 2 ½ miles on a busy street. Fortunately, the office is accessible via keypad code, so I enter the building with no problem, albeit tired and soaking wet.

I retrieve my spare house key from my desk and begin to leave when I realize that I have no money to return home. Remembering the emergency cash the office keeps, I go to the admin assistant’s desk and there is $2.00. I take the money and head for the subway.

Putting my money in the turn-style, I quickly learn that without my usual monthly pass, the fare is $2.50. I plead with the transit person to no avail.

Then, I do the only thing I can do….I begin asking people for money. (By now, I look the part ). The first 3 people I approach, ignore me. The 4th, a young woman, smiles sweetly, and apologizes for not helping me. Most simply rush past.

A homeless man, whose territory I was clearly invading, came over to me and said: “Lady, you need a cup” and offers me a used Dunkin Donuts cup. Near tears, I explain that I have money… at home…I just need to get there. This man holds out his cup of coins and tells me to take whatever I need.

From his cup, his nothingness, he gave without judgment, without thought of his own need, with abandon….Clearly, for my new gentleman friend, the purpose of wealth is not security. The purpose of wealth is reckless generosity, the kind that sings of the lavish love of God, the kind that rekindles hope on dark days, the kind that reminds us that God is with us always.

Let us pray.

Loving God, give us the largeness of heart that lives inside the man who offered first, a cup; and then, his coins. Give us the gift that he had inside of himself that enabled him to give away his gold. Help us to see your face – your grace – in those whom we walk by every morning. And help us to be that face and that grace of love and generosity to others. Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

the Sharkinator

Morning Prayer: the Sharkinator
February 25, 2014
Prayer by Joe ’15:

Now I’ve been here at Marist since the seventh grade, and I have never known how and where this whole Morning Prayer deal goes down. So to illuminate Marist on this mystery, I’m in a secret room behind the main office chilling with Ms. McGregor who is right next to me.  Pretty chill environment if I do say so myself.  So this morning I’d like to share with ya’ll a story. It happened back when I was five years old. I was a cute little dude…still am… and every Sunday after church my family and I would go to our favorite café, and then to a store next to it. One Sunday morning upon arriving at the store, something in the toy section caught my five year old eye. With the speed of a studly cheetah, I squeaked over to it in squeaky shoes, and as Nicholas Cage found National Treasure, I found a hot wheels invention of epic proportions – The Shark Park – a toy race track that had more bite then bark. With the speed of two studly cheetahs, I squeaked back to my mom. “Mom can you buy that for me pllleeeeassse?” The response was these evil words she still uses, “If you can save up the money you can buy it yourself”.  Extra chores were in my future.  The park was worth it though. It engulfed my thoughts. With a loaded piggy bank I made my return and walked into the store like “what up… I’m going buy the shark park”. When I was handed that box, I remember that being one of the happiest moments of my life. I assembled that bad boy in my room, and as a final touch, I threw a towel over it imagining a cool unveiling event. Now as anybody does with a new cool thing they own, I decided to show it off. I called up my friend Paul and he came over the next day. When Paul came inside, I eagerly brought him to my room and proudly stood next to the sharkinator. In a pathetic display of “showingoffmanship”, I pulled the towel off and to my dismay, half the park came with it.  It was a matter of seconds before PTSPD (Post Traumatic Shark Park Disorder) hit me. I started balling, like Kobe Bryant balling. I had just demolished my bread and butter and in front of my best friend. Now I’m guessing many of the priests and faculty at this point are wondering where I’m going with this story. Well here comes the game changer. With no laughs, no “nice one” look, Paul, my five year old friend, without a word started putting the shark park back together. In silence we restored not only the physical toy, but my happiness. That simple act of kindness strengthened our friendship. That simple act of kindness created a genuine moment of coming together between two friends.  That simple act of kindness taught me a lesson I have never once forgotten.

Let us pray – Dear Heavenly Father, today we ask you for strength. Strength mentally to remember your teachings throughout the whole day, not just part of it. Strength physically in order to carry out your will in actions guided by your grace. Strength emotionally to overcome our personal burdens so we can help relinquish those of others. Strength to carry out simple acts of kindness throughout our day to everyone around us. Because a simple act of kindness can make somebody happy; because a simple act of kindness can not only create a genuine moment of coming together with the other person, but also with you God; and because a simple act of kindness can touch somebody forever.  Amen.

Mary Seat of Wisdom… Pray for us