Autumn

Morning Prayer:
September 26, 2016
Prayer by Fr. Joel Konzen, SM, Principal

Good morning.  We’re halfway through the first term and halfway through the fall sports seasons.  Most of us are ready to see some genuine fall weather.  We’re officially in fall now, but this week should see us finally drop to the 80’s from the 90’s.  It’s a start.

Some of us feel like we’re moving from the heat of summer, as far as our lives go, and into autumn.  Autumn is the season in literature that symbolizes aging, moving on to the latter stages in life, maybe using all that you’ve learned along the way to aid those who are in the springtime of life, young people.  People like me have the autumn of life written all over us; you can see that we have left youth behind.  Life is richest when people in every season of life are mingling and working together to share what they know and use their skills to assist others.  Those of you who are seniors and juniors are in a different season even from the Foundations students and you use your seniority to assist the new students, just as you are definitely in a different season from those truly young people in the Early Learning Center.  This is the way a school, or any organization, flourishes: it uses the contributions of each age group to form a healthy, breathing organism that is fully alive.

The following is a short poem by Amy Lowell entitled “Autumn”:

All day I have watched the purple vine leaves
Fall into the water.
And now in the moonlight they still fall,
But each leaf is fringed with silver.

Let us pray.

O God, we bring you all that we are, always incomplete and always in need of your fulfillment, your grace.  Help us to see the silver, to see the blessing in whatever passes in front of us today, so that we might give you the praise that is due for your wonder, your magnificence, for your springtimes that become autumns and for all the days in between.  May we love you more dearly for the love of the passing of each day and the bounty that it brings.  Make us mindful of those whose days are not long and of those whose days are filled with challenge and suffering.  In all that, we praise your gracious presence, especially in the form of Jesus, your Son, who is our Lord, this day and forever.  Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom. Pray for Us.

Why Uniforms?

Morning Prayer:
August 30, 2016
Prayer by Ms. Perrin Rains, English Department

I love uniforms.  They’re simple.  When you put on a uniform before school, you save yourself tons of time, and energy.  I don’t know about you, but those are two things that I never have enough of in the morning.  I love uniforms because they help you practice dressing neatly for a career in a profession one day.  I love that they make you look scholarly and serious about your studies.

I’m proud to work at Marist, where we ask our students to wear uniforms.  And, not just for the reasons I already mentioned.  The word “uniform” comes from the Latin “uni,” meaning “one,” and “formis,” meaning “shape.”  Things that are uniform have one shape.  They are constant.  Unvarying.  So, I love that our uniforms help blur some of our differences and make it harder, at least for a little while, to figure out who belongs in which clique.  I love that our uniforms challenge you to express who you are as a person in an authentic way.  Now, I know, you’re probably outraged right now at the suggestion that your uniform actually helps you express yourself, but bear with me.  Your uniform takes away your ability to show others your interests through your style choices.  So, you can’t rely on superficial things like brand names, and piercings, and jerseys, to show everyone else what you like or dislike.  Instead, when you’re in uniform, you have to show other people who you are.  Are you a competitive athlete?  We won’t know until you show us by training beyond what Coach asks of you.  Are you a performer?  We won’t know until you sing for us in Woodruff.  Are you intelligent?  We won’t know until you ask a really interesting question in class.  Are you a nice?  Are you a good friend?  Are you honest?  You have to show us.  Uniforms push us to be more fully ourselves, and more fully who God calls us to be as individuals.

But, at the same time, our constant, unvarying uniforms are an outward reminder that we are one family here.  You, in your simple, tidy uniform are no more valuable and no less valuable than anyone else here.  You are fully and really part of this community.  You belong here.  And when you put on your Marist uniform every morning, you are stepping into the community and traditions of three generations of Marist students who have come before you.  When you put on your uniform, you are accepting the responsibilities and opportunities that have been given to you through the hard work and sacrifice of your parents and families.

Let us pray.

God, thank you for giving us the opportunity to come to Marist and wear its uniform every day.  Please give us courage to show others who we really are through our actions and our words.  And, help us to be the people our uniforms call us to be today – simple and authentic.

Amen.

Mary, seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

Opening School Prayer

Morning Prayer:
August 22, 2016
Prayer by Fr. Joel Konzen, S.M., Principal

Good morning.  This is, schedule-wise, a normal week.  Who knows when the next one will be?  Let’s make the most of it and get busy.  Let us pray.

Lord God, source of who we are and provider of what we have, show us the way in the days ahead to be mindful of each other’s burdens, to seek to cheer a heart that is heavy—be that our own or that of a friend, and to remain steadfast in our desire to be faithful followers of Jesus your Son, day in and day out.  By your Holy Spirit, may we know how to fill our minds and hearts with all that we will need to be good stewards of your creation and of the future that lies ahead.  This we ask in Jesus Christ, our way and truth and life.  Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Pray for Us.

Gratitude for the Blessings of Another Year

Morning Prayer
May 26, 2016
Fr. Ralph Olek, S.M. English Department

This is the last morning homeroom of the year and only 11 classes remain. But who is counting? However, as we reflect on the past nine months, we have much for which to be thankful. I know I am thankful for teaching one of the most enjoyable 7th grade classes in my career. And many of you have experienced being part of outstanding athletic events, musicals, concerts, debates, robotics, academic teams, just to mention a few. We have been blessed with Peer Leaders, retreat leaders, student ambassadors and shadow hosts. And through all these experiences we have grown, shared, challenged, and laughed with so many. And that has been the best part of the year, for in the end, God will not care about how many A’s or B’s we receive or what university we attended or job we held. God will be more concerned with the person we have become and how we treated each other along the way. So let us pray.

Heavenly Father, thank you for all the opportunities you have given us this year to grow, to learn more about ourselves, to live simply and more humbly. Thank you for the friends we have made throughout the year and for all the opportunities of thinking and doing more for others than ourselves. Thank you for helping us through those classes we thought would never end. But most of all, thank you for creating us just as we are, for loving us just as we are, and for always forgiving us when we stumble along the way. Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Pray for us.

St. Joseph the Worker

Morning Prayer:
April 28, 2016
Prayer by Fr. Joel Konzen, S.M., Principal

Good morning. You have probably seen an elderly priest walking with a cane on the property. He is Father Tom Ellerman, and he’s an alumnus of Marist, Class of 1958. Yesterday, May 1, was his birthday, so if you see him today, you can offer birthday greetings. May 1st, is also the day that the Catholic Church honors workers of the world by celebrating the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. All of us work, but this is a special remembrance of the people who do ordinary jobs and make the world go around—tailors and housekeepers and bus drivers and home builders and dog groomers and manicurists and highway workers, folks who don’t necessarily have college degrees but who work as hard as or harder than those who do. Most of us have relatives who are workers like this, and all of us depend every day on these workers.

Marist is in the business of preparing people for college, but we’re also in the business of reminding each other from time to time that a person’s worth in the eyes of God and fellow women and men does not depend on college. We affirm the basic value of all life and remain thankful for the assistance of those at Marist School, in our homes, in our stores, and elsewhere who spend their days working in order to live a life of dignity and promise. I thank those of you who assist in the Centro GED Program and in your service projects, reaching out to the people who have not been as blessed as we have been with education. We appreciate their help, and we want to help others to attain an education that can lift their prospects for the future.

Here is a poem, a sonnet, in the form of a prayer. It’s based on the “Working Man’s Prayer” by Billye Phillips Beck:

Dear Lord, excuse my beat-up boots, my Wranglers, and my cap.
I’m praying on my way to work; I’m just a working chap.
I didn’t go to college, I’m only a common man.
You, too, were a carpenter, Lord, so I know you understand.
My hands are calloused, my voice is tired, my clothes are not first-rate.
Will you be checking labels, Lord, when I enter Heaven’s gate?
My truck is old, and people laugh from their shiny cars and vans.
Did they also laugh at you, my Lord, as you walked your native land?
Please help me not to worry, Lord, about my lack of worldly gain.
I’ll be as rich as all the rest when I reach Heaven’s plain.
I’ll trade my jeans and dusty boots for wings and a robe of white.
I’ll leave my cap and put on a crown, Oh, what a blessed sight!
Work time is almost here, but I’ve still got time to pray,
Just help me, Lord, to be content with what I have today.

And that is our prayer: help us to be content with what God has given us to do today and to be mindful of all others who allow us to carry on in our work and our lives. Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom.

St. Peter Chanel, S.M.

Morning Prayer:
April 28, 2016
Prayer by Ms. Perrin Rains, English Department

Good morning!

As you will recall, this time last week, we were celebrating St. Peter Chanel Day. We talked a lot about his incredible bravery and sacrifice. And Archbishop Gregory preached beautifully about success and used Peter Chanel as an example. Then, we put on our sunscreen and listened to music and played dodgeball. It was a fun day.

But, the real feast day of St. Peter Chanel is today, April the 28th, because it was 175 years ago today that he was martyred for his work on the island of Futuna, and I want to celebrate him and his courage again, but in a different way.

Before the dramatic part of his life that we all know, that harrowing ocean voyage, the isolation, and his difficult work in the mission field, Peter Chanel did something else that was extraordinarily brave. You see, he started his career as a parish priest. He was already living a very good life – a life of generosity and true service to his community. But, his heart wasn’t in it. And here’s the remarkable and brave part: he listened to his heart. He gave up parish ministry and joined the Society of Mary. He walked away from what other’s expected of him. He walked away from a life that, even though was very good, was not right. And that takes incredible courage.

So, I want to ask you to join me in celebrating St. Peter Chanel, again, today, but this time you don’t need face paint, or barbeque, or four-square. Celebrate by listening to the small voice inside of you, and take a step toward what you already know in your heart is the right thing to do.

Let us pray.

St. Peter Chanel, you left your homeland
to proclaim Jesus, Saviour of the world,
to the peoples of Oceania.
Guided by the Spirit of God,
who is the strength of the gentle,
you bore witness to love,
even laying down your life.
Grant that, like you, we may live our daily life
in peace, in joy, and in fraternal love.
May your prayer and example
call forth from our midst
many workers for the Gospel
so that God’s Kingdom may reach
to the ends of the earth. Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

Change…

Morning Prayer:
April 26, 2016
Prayer by Michael Williams ’18

Change. Change is something that we all go through in our lives whether it’s a small change or something that changes your whole life. When change comes, we often worry that things won’t be as good. We have to see change as the same or better than the situation we are already in. Many people do not see change as positive, primarily because it is unfair. But the truth about change is this- life moves on whether you like it or not. Paul wrote, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace shall be yours.” (Phil. 4:6,7).

Serenity Prayer
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

Let us Pray:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Pray for Us.

Rapidification…

Morning Prayer:
April 26, 2016
Prayer by Dr. Anne Washington Saunders, MCLD Teacher

Good morning,

To begin his encyclical Laudato si, Pope Francis seems to have introduced a new word to the world: rapidification. Rapidification describes the “intensified pace of human life and work” in our modern, technological world. Change is good and necessary for us; but constant and ever accelerating change –  rapidification – the kind of change the world is now experiencing, goes against our very nature.

As creatures, human beings are healthiest when we keep our fundamental relationships healthy: with God, with our neighbor. We know the commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength; Love your neighbor as yourself. But Laudato si urges attention to a third relationship, relationship with the earth, that is, with nature, with our fellow creatures. I had not thought of my enjoyment of creation, of Earth, as a relationship.

A frenzy to do more, more, more, faster, faster, faster, and always, of course, better and better. Can we relate to this experience at Marist School?

In stark contrast to rapidification, Pope Francis says, is the slower movement of creation, God’s creation, as opposed to the world that human beings engineer. Attention to creation slows us down, gives us physical health, and spiritual peace. Ideally, its goals are geared to the common good and sustainable.

In Matthew Chapter 6 Jesus tells us,

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

So, today, try, try to take something slow. Unplug. Stare into space. Talk face to face. Walk through the garden. Lie in the grass. Enjoy Brother Sun.

Let us Pray:

SLOW US DOWN, O Lord God, our Creator,
We thank you for the beauty of this earth, our campus and garden, creek and woods, and for all who take care of these gifts from you.
We thank you for our sharp eyes and ears and our ability to smell and taste and touch the many good things you have created.
Thank you for good weather and sunshine.
Thank you for the animals in our care, our friends, and families.
Help us to slow down and to be mindful.
Allow us to give generously to those in need.
In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Pray for Us.

 

Praying for Wholeness during Holy Week

Morning Prayer:
March 21, 2016
Prayer by Fr. John Harhager, S.M., President

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, and with it we began that very special week in the Church’s calendar which is called Holy Week.

The word “holy” means being sacred or being close to the divine. It comes from an old English word which is derived from a German word which means: wholly (spelled W H O L L Y). This word means to become whole or complete. And so this Holy Week is a time for us to become whole.

This would suggest that we may not be whole or complete. And that reminds me of another word, “holey” (spelled H O L E Y) which means having holes or gaps or openings. It is the opposite of being “whole.” Shirts are said to be holey, if they have many holes in them. We are not shirts but we too can have holes in us: spaces of emptiness, pockets of darkness, little places of loneliness, sinful spots… anything within us which makes us feel less than whole, incomplete, unsatisfied, resistant to wholeness.

Holy Week then is that very special week at the end of Lent when we work extra hard at filling the holes in our lives with God so that we are made whole and become God’s Holy People.

And we are not alone in needing to be made whole. Pope Francis tells us all of creation strives for wholeness. And in Laudato Si, he gives us a prayer which fits perfectly with this Holy Week.

So, let us pray an abbreviated version of that prayer. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All-powerful God,
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us/in us each day.

Mary, seat of wisdom…. pray for us.

Spiders and Cockroaches and Mosquitoes, oh My!

Morning Prayer:
February 26, 2016
Prayer by Mrs. Jenni Justus, Theology Department

I am really scared of spiders. And cockroaches. And mosquitoes. And ants. And basically all bugs with the exception of lady bugs. If it crawls or flies or looks vaguely insect-like, I will run screaming in the other direction. This Lent, I committed to reading Laudautio Si, which as you know, is the Pope’s recent encyclical on the environment. Considering my lack of appreciation for God’s creepy, crawly creatures, I definitely felt like Pope Francis was calling me out in the following passage, and I wanted to share that with you today. It is a reminder that every single piece of creation has worth and is in need of protection:

No creature is superfluous, all of creation speaks of God’s love:

“ Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God.

…So what [we] all need is an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of [our] encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in [our] relationship with the world around us. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience…”

Let us Pray.

God our Father, you created the world and sent your own Son to live among us, made of the same stuff, breathing the same air, marveling at sunrise and sunset just as we do. Help us to participate in the life around and within us as your life, as you living in us and we living in you and in each other. God of love and life, bring all of us to an “ecological conversion” and help us to appreciate more deeply each and every aspect of this masterpiece of yours. Restore us to your peace, renew us through your power and teach us to love all that you have created and to care for the earth as your gift and our home.

Mary, seat of Wisdom, pray for us.