Our trust in God

Morning Prayer:
December 5, 2017
Prayer by Lili Amirhosseini ’18

The Christmas season is my favorite time of year.  Not only is it a time of family, faith, and extravagant decorations, it also is the time of my favorite genre: Christmas music. One of my favorite Christmas songs of all time is Last Christmas by Wham!. If you haven’t heard it, the person singing is reminiscing that last year for Christmas, he gave someone his heart and the next day they gave it away. This year, he wants to give it to someone that he can trust and who will be careful with his heart. Even though it is just a Christmas song, this is actually a pretty relatable concept.  Sometimes, it takes a while to find people we can trust, and we might get hurt along the way as we try to find a person to lean on. Once we find those people, though, it feels as though you can breathe easier.

During the hardest times in my life, I kept a diary and wrote down my feelings. At the time, I thought writing in a diary was my only refuge because I thought I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I didn’t realize that I was in fact talking to God. He is always there for us and is always making sure that we are following the path that He has laid out for us.

Let us pray.

Dear God,

Thank you for always looking out for us. Please help us to remember to always place our trust in you, especially when we feel as if we have no one else to turn to. Help us to celebrate the birth of your son, Jesus Christ during this Christmas season. In your name we pray,

Amen. Mary Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

Cultivate Gratitude in Your Life

Morning Prayer:
November 13, 2017
Prayer by Fr. Harhager, S.M., President

This is the final week of the first term. So, I know this can be a time of stress as we rush to complete our projects, prepare for and then take the end-of-term exams.

 At the same time, Thanksgiving is near. If there was such a thing, we would be in the midst of the Thanksgiving Season. It reminds me of a talk I heard many years ago – when I was in Rome the first time.

 I attended a talk by a priest psychiatrist who spent most of his life treating people, including priests and religious, with serious mental health issues. After the talk, he opened the floor to questions. I don’t remember anything else from this talk except for his answer to the question: Can you identify a single element in troubled people’s lives which may be responsible for their mental/emotional illness? He said that, without a doubt, the one element missing in these people’s lives is a sense of gratitude. He said, if you want to stay healthy – cultivate gratitude in your life.

 Being grateful – helps us beat stress, softens the sad moments, enables us to say “goodbye”, reroutes our angry energy, moves us away from envy, etc. Gratitude will not only help us enjoy our family gatherings next week but may even help us get through this week.

 And so we turn to St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians (4:6-7):

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

 Let us pray:

Loving Father,

with grateful hearts we turn to you.

You are the source of all the good things we experience in our lives.

Help us to remain serene this week

so that our work these days may truly reflect

the profound fruit of Your love for us.

Fill our hearts with gratitude

now and forever and ever. Amen.

Mary, seat of wisdom… pray for us.

Dodgeballs of Life

Morning Prayer:
November 8, 2017
Prayer by Ms. Julie Anderson, Science Department

Imagine for a moment that you are playing dodgeball and someone suddenly hurls a ball towards your head. When the dodgeballs of life hit us, what do we do? We put our arms up; we try to stop it on our own. We turn in on ourselves and we try to survive. And when we do that, we tend to put God in a box that we only open at certain times. Maybe we only let him in when life is good, or we have enough time because we aren’t stressed out. Or maybe we only open that box after we try everything ourselves, when we are bruised all over and have nothing left. Maybe we only have him in the Sunday morning, ‘why is it so early? Lord, I hate dress clothes’ box. But he wants to be with you in each moment. Each success, each failure, each painful memory, each boring class you have to sit through. And he wants to show you what it means that he is your Father. If we let Him, He will be with us as we go through the tough stuff. And he will bring us peace, because instead of all the stress and grumpiness and garbage, we have someone to give it all to as we walk along. And God’s not in some far off Heaven. He’s here – he never left. Jesus is in the Eucharist at Mass, He’s in our Churches, but he’s also in our schools, streets, cars, and shops because he is in each and every one of us. We just have to let him become part of our lives.

So today as we go through our day here at Marist let us be reminded that God is always there waiting and ready to love and support us on our journey.

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

God, today we ask you to be Our Father. So often we try to go through life on our own, believing that we have to deal with everything ourselves. Help us to see in a new way today your love for each of us, and that you want to be a part of each of our lives. And let us be your children, especially to those suffering or who do not know you.

We ask this through the intercession of Mary, our mother, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

All That Lies Inbetween

Morning Prayer:
October 23, 2017
Prayer by Fr. Konzen, S.M., Principal

Good morning.  Yesterday I spent some time talking by phone to someone I knew growing up in Ohio.  Her family and our family were friends, and I regularly served Mass with the guy who became her husband.  Their story is unique.  They went to the prom with each other as seniors and, after that, went their separate ways for 20 years or so, neither marrying, and then met up at a wedding and decided to start dating, both in their late 30’s and having known each other all their lives.  I was there in 1988 to officiate at their wedding.  About a month ago, Doug had a stroke, out of the blue, and he never recovered.  He was buried this past week.  So, in talking to his wife yesterday, she said, “I guess we didn’t talk about this possibility when we were getting ready to be married.”  And I said, “No, we talked about the meaning of ‘all the days of my life’ and ‘until death do us part,’ but we didn’t imagine scenarios in which a spouse dies and the other is left to carry on.”

I contrast that with the wildly exuberant display I saw at the end of the football game Friday night against Blessed Trinity, when there was this tide of students rushing onto the field, and congratulations for the team, and everyone singing the Alma Mater in a state of euphoria.  These are the diverse components that make up our lives.  We adults like to see that young people have more of those really happy moments than the really sad moments, but the trip to becoming an adult is about making room for the full range of human experience and knowing how, using our faith, to make as much sense as we can of the big up’s and the big down’s in our lives and all that lies in between.  We would like to hang onto the high’s and to rule out the low’s, but we know it’s not realistic.  We embrace them both as part of our experience as Christians, as part of the life of Christ that we say we have taken on when we were baptized, confirmed, and fed on or brought into the Body of Christ.

An Italian writer, Carlo Carretto, captured these alternating feelings in a prayer that offers a way to see them both as part of our faith and a way to make room for them both in our lives, and here is the prayer:

In the name…   My Lord Jesus Christ, two graces I beg you to grant me before I die:

the first is that in my lifetime I may feel that sorrow that you underwent

in the hour of your blessed and generous passion;

the second is that I may feel in my heart the greatness of love

that you, the Son of God, had for all in the world and that

allowed you to undergo the sacrifice you offered for us sinners.

And now, praying for the soul of Douglas Palmer and for his wife Marilyn, I add to the Carretto prayer:  Help us, O God, to be your servant in the best of times and in the worst of times and to praise your goodness when we are awash in it and when we are barely aware of it—you who want our eternal happiness and offer us Jesus Christ to lead the way to that happiness.  It is in his name we pray today.  Amen.

Kindness Always Matter

Morning Prayer:
October 24, 2017

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and so here at Marist we are marking this important topic with Kindness Rocks Week. We choose to focus on the positive during this week because if everyone is being kind, then bullying isn’t an issue. In my years being a human on this planet, I know that even though being kind sounds easy, it often is not. Since we are all imperfect, things like jealousy, insecurity, and fear often get in our way and keep us from being the person God wants us to be.

I am blessed and cursed with a good memory. For example, I remember the time when I walked away from a friend in junior high school in order to join a group that I thought was cooler. I remember how much I’d hurt her. And I remember at prom gathering all of my girlfriends for a group picture. Except for one girl that I didn’t get along with at the time. No one said anything. We stood there posing and smiling, and then she walked up and saw it happening without her. I will never forget the look on her face.

And it’s good that I remember, because it motivates me to be a kinder person.
So, I ask you today and every day to try harder. To be better. To include. To choose NOT to spread the rumor. To keep your mouth shut if you don’t have anything nice to say. Because here is the thing. There are lots of times in life when our effort doesn’t pay off. Sometimes you study and study, but you don’t get the grade you wanted. Or you train hard, but don’t make the team or reach your goal. But with kindness, your effort pays always pays off.

Kindness always matters.

Let us pray.

Dear God –
Please help us to be better disciples of your love and kindness. Help us to resist the temptation to hurt others. Help us to reach out to those around us. To say a kind word, hold a door, stop to help, and to apologize when we need to. Help us to see the difference we can make in someone’s life by being better humans. Please give us the self-awareness and strength to do this, and to do better because we know better.
Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Pray for us.

Marist is home…

Morning Prayer:

October 13, 2017

Prayer by Sydney ’18

 

Homecoming. For us students, homecoming is a time full of excitement. Our school spirit is at an all-time high with how amazing our athletic teams are doing, and everyone is looking forward to Saturday night’s dance. With so much happening around us, it’s easy to miss what the true meaning behind homecoming is. Homecoming is when Marist invites all Alumni back to campus to celebrate them being, well, back home.

 

The place we go back to at the end of every day is not our only home. A home is where the heart is, whereever you are surrounded by people who love you, care for you, and want you to succeed. A place where you are celebrated for being who you are and have people around you to support you and push you to be the best version of yourself.

 

Whether you want to admit it or not, Marist is your home. It was your home the moment you stepped on campus for the very first time as a nervous new kid and will continue to be your home long after you cross the stage at graduation.

 

Seniors, this is our last homecoming football game and dance before we become Alumni ourselves. The people sitting next to you right now, the friends you’ve grown close to over these past six years, and the teachers who have challenged you and shaped your minds and your hearts are your family and Marist is, and will always be, your home.

 

Junior, Sophomores, Freshman, and 7th and 8th graders – It is up to you to keep the Marist Family movement alive in the upcoming years. This is your home; cherish the amazing time you have left.

 

We, the students, the teachers, the faculty, and the alumni who came before us – are all One Family, One Body, One Marist.

 

Let us pray-

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

 

We thank you for the gift of home. Thank you for blessing us with people who love us and care for us. We ask that you watch over those without homes whether that is a place to sleep at night or a community of people who care for them. Help us to use our school spirit to make everyone who steps on our campus feel like they are a part of something special – one family, one body, one Marist.

 

Amen

 

Mary Seat of Wisdom

Pray for Us

International World Peace Day

Morning Prayer:
September 21, 2017
Prayer by Mrs. Tricia Glidewell, STEAM Coordinator

Good morning, Marist. Today is International World Peace Day.  Hmmm…  International World Peace Day.  World Peace….  Now that’s something that sounds like a great idea!  Who wouldn’t want international peace?  Perhaps you pray regularly for peace in the world at large.  Keep doing it! If you don’t, start! Sometimes maybe it seems like too much to ask for – something that seems out of reach.  Perhaps you ask yourself what can one person do to impact peace between all people in all the world.  The answer you probably come up with is “Not much!”

There are lots of scriptures that refer to peace.  You know them as well as I do:
Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.” (John 16:13)

In Hebrews, we hear, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.” (Hebrews 12:14)

“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:18)

In Proverbs, we find “Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.” (Proverbs 12:20)

I came away from a study of these scriptures with the idea that they aren’t about international peace; they’re about peace between individuals and within groups of individuals.  Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time, and start with the person nearest you.”  So the question for me is, “How can I promote peace in my little corner of the world?” Let’s start there.  What would that look like?

  • Maybe it looks like not intentionally doing something to my sister that I know will push her buttons and cause a meltdown.
  • Maybe it looks like not blowing my horn at the person who is being slow to make a turn in front of me or doesn’t pull off as soon as the light turns green.
  • Maybe it looks like taking a deep breath to keep myself from saying something harsh or hurtful when someone hurts me or makes me angry.
  • Maybe it looks like changing the subject when I am with friends who begin to say critical things of another person.
  • Maybe it looks like choosing to share humorous or life-building quotes and stories on social media.
  • Maybe it looks like reaching out and being nice to that person in my life who always seems to be angry or negative.
  • Maybe it looks like giving someone else the benefit of the doubt before I judge or react harshly.

I ask you, “What does peace in your little corner of the world look like today?”  And “What are you going to do about it?” What if spreading peace was like catching the flu?  Would you be contagious?

Let us pray: Lord, open our hearts and minds to living in peace with others.  Give us eyes to see the opportunities we have to promote peace with those all around us.  Give us a yearning to exhibit your peace so that others may be inspired to do the same.  In your holy name we pray, Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

I’d rather be the one who smiled, than the one who didn’t smile back.

Morning Prayer:
August 22, 2017
Prayer by Emma Grace ’21

Good morning Marist. I hope your summer was fulfilling and memorable.  As I was thinking about this message that I want to share with you, I came across an intriguing article.

The New York Times interviewed a man named Walt Bettinger in early 2016. Bettinger is the President and chief executive officer at Charles Schwab, an investment service company.  The interviewer asked, “What are the Lessons that you learned in college?’

Bettinger responded,

“A business strategy course in my senior year stands out. I had maintained a 4.0 average all the way through, and I wanted to graduate with a perfect average. It came down to the final exam, and I had spent many hours studying and memorizing formulas to do calculations for the case studies.

The teacher handed out the final exam, and it was on one piece of paper, which really surprised me because I figured it would be longer than that. Once everyone had their paper, he said, “Go ahead and turn it over.” Both sides were blank.

And the professor said, “I’ve taught you everything I can teach you about business in the last 10 weeks, but the most important message, the most important question, is this: What’s the name of the lady who cleans this building?”

And that had a powerful impact. It was the only test I ever failed, and I got the B I deserved. Her name was Dottie, and I didn’t know Dottie. I’d seen her, but I’d never taken the time to ask her name. I’ve tried to know every Dottie I’ve worked with ever since.”

Now Marist, I believe the meaning of a story is predominately divined from one’s own interpretation. Therefore, I will not tell you what I think this story means, how it relates to my life or how I think it may relate to yours. After all, who wants to listen to a girl with a faceless voice, tell them what to think or how to live. With that in mind, in my last few words, I will leave you with one of my favorite mottos.

“I’d rather be the one who smiled, than the one who didn’t smile back.”

Let us pray

Dear God,

Thank you for another day. Grant us the courage to live outside of the box and be leaders in whatever ways we can. With full hearts and clear minds, let us begin the day with you, and a smile.

In your name we pray, Amen.

Mary seat of wisdom pray for us.

Kicking off our new school year with a Solar Eclipse

Morning Prayer:
August 21, 2017
Prayer by Fr. Bill Rowland, S.M.

Today is the first full day of school, but it will be cut short as we all trek to the Hughes Spalding Stadium later this afternoon to view the solar eclipse. Some great pictures will be taken that will end up in the school yearbook for sure.

I must admit that I am both amused and heartened by all the interest and excitement about this. I am pleased to know that something can draw our attention away from our cell phones and iPads and cause us to lift our heads heavenward even if only for about two and a half minutes. Hopefully, our minds and hearts will follow.

I have read where thousands of Atlantans are making their way to north Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas to view this event. That will be one traffic jam I am quite content to sit out. However, from another perspective, the lines of cars, trucks, and RVs heading to the mountains to get the best view possible reminds me of a liturgical procession. After all, since ancient times, mountains have been seen as a kind of natural meeting place between God and humanity. When the eclipse does occur, I suspect that all of us will be filled with wonder and awe. Don’t be surprised if you might feel just a tad fearful. Finding yourself in the dark when the sun should be shining will do that to you. By the way, wonder and awe are religious feelings that we associate with coming into God’s presence. Fear and trembling are the other two. Recall that people responded to Jesus’s miracles with wonder and awe and, yes, also with fear and trembling. If our understanding or vision of God does not evoke those religious sentiments in us, then we need to adjust our spiritual glasses. Viewing the solar eclipse this afternoon will be a good exercise in letting yourself be filled with wonder and awe. That’s a good place to start.

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

Psalm 148
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels;
give praise, all you his hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all shining stars.
Praise him, highest heavens,
you waters above the heavens.
Let them all praise the LORD’s name;
Amen.

Mary, seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

What is your life’s blueprint?

Morning Prayer:
April 4, 2017
Prayer by Thomas Vance ’17

Good Morning,

Today marks the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Just Six months before his assassination, King spoke to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967. Following is an excerpt from his speech:

“I want to ask you a question, and that is: What is your life’s blueprint?

Whenever a building is constructed, you usually have an architect who draws a blueprint, and that blueprint serves as the pattern, as the guide, and a building is not well erected without a good, solid blueprint.

…each of you is in the process of building the structure of your lives, and the question is whether you have a proper, a solid and a sound blueprint.

… your life’s blueprint, should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness.”

As many of you know, the mission of Marist School is to form the whole person in the image of Christ. How we do this comes in a variety of ways—religious education classes, prayer before football games, and school-wide Masses. More importantly, Marist seeks to foster a community of inclusion…one full of respect for that which may seem different from us. Events such as having the political discourse discussion in the chapel, hosting an insightful Informed Discourse Day, and engaging students in a network of clubs such as Peace by Peace, NO Place for Hate, and Mosaic are used to build a community that truly cherishes diversity. And sometimes, while it may seem that there is more diversity on a brochure than in an actual class, Marist still strives to build this communal respect. This is how they build our blueprints—Marist propels us into an environment that isn’t identical everywhere but rather different around every corner. This environment is meant to allow us to thrive and not just get by.

Let us Pray

Dear God,

Thank you so much for this new day. Thank you for all the experiences you place in our lives that work towards building our proper, solid, and sound blueprint. Grant that we may never forgot your countless blessings that you bestow upon us and help us to live more like your son, Jesus Christ. In your name we pray, Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom

Pray for us.