25 September 2015

The Truth Is Personal


The Atonement Academy teachers have regularly-scheduled conferences with the parents of our students, and today was a conference day. We began the day as usual with Mass, and all the teachers were present. The appointed Gospel reading was from St. Luke’s Gospel:

Now it happened that as Jesus was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, "Who do the people say that I am?" And they answered, "John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen." And he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered, "The Christ of God." But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." - Luke 9:18-22

In many ways this very familiar passage describes the work of Catholic educators. Jesus began by asking what men were saying about him; and then, suddenly, he aims the question at the Twelve, "Who do you say that I am?"

Those of us who are Catholic educators do teach our students what “others have said” – whether it be about Jesus, or His moral teaching, or the various philosophies and concepts which are part of the search for truth, or the principles of science, or the mystery and beauty of music, all of which open up truth to them. It is important for students to know what others who have come before them have said. But when it comes to the ultimate Truth – the fullness of Truth which we know in Christ Jesus, it is never enough to know only what other people have said. A person educated only in what others have said might be able to pass any examination on what has been said and thought about Truth; he might have read every book about theology and philosophy, about science and the arts, and he might have read all the great literature ever written in every language upon earth and still not be engaged with the Incarnate Word as the final and highest and most personal expression of the fullness of Truth. The greater part of our task as Catholic educators must always be to have our students answer the question our Lord asked the apostles, “Who do you say that I am?”

In the end, any educational institution which cannot engage its students in that question cannot be educating the whole person. It is the fatal weakness of public schools, including charter schools. Truth can never be something that is only talked about. Ultimately, Christ comes to each person asking not, "Can you tell me what others have said and written about me?" but, "Who do you say that I am?" When he was writing to St. Timothy, St. Paul did not say, "I know what I have believed"; but he said, "I know whom I have believed" (2 Tim. 1:12). This is our great task as Catholic educators – that of presenting the truth, and then making it personal because Truth is a Person.

22 September 2015

Prayer for the Pope's safety


O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve our Holy Father, Pope Francis, as he travels; surround him with your loving care; protect him from every danger; and bring him in safety to his journey's end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

20 September 2015

The King's Fair


The King's Fair was a wonderful event once again this year, beginning with a beautiful Sung Mass in the morning, and moving on to all sorts of food and festivities, including a visit from the Knights of the Guild and their magnificent horses, showing off their jousting skills.

You'll find some pictures here.

16 September 2015

True Motherhood: Love and Discipline



Earlier this week at the commemoration of Our Lady of Sorrows, while preaching at the Mass celebrated in the Santa Marta Residence, the Holy Father’s homily contained these words:
“In these times where I don’t know if it’s the prevailing sense but there is a great sense in the world of being orphaned, it’s an orphaned world. This word has a great importance, the importance when Jesus tells us: ‘I am not leaving you as orphans, I’m giving you a mother.’ And this is also a (source of) pride for us: we have a mother, a mother who is with us, protects us, accompanies us, who helps us, even in difficult or terrible times.”

Pope Francis went on to explain that this motherhood of Mary goes beyond her and is contagious. From it, comes a second motherhood, that of the Church.
“Without motherhood, only rigidity and discipline remain. The Church is our mother. She is our ‘Holy Mother Church’ that is generated through our baptism, makes us grow up in her community and has that motherly attitude, of meekness and goodness: Our Mother Mary and our Mother Church know how to caress their children and show tenderness. To think of the Church without that motherly feeling is to think of a rigid association, an association without human warmth, an orphan. The Church is our mother and welcomes all of us as a mother: Mary our Mother, our Mother Church, and this motherhood are expressed through an attitude of welcome, understanding, goodness, forgiveness and tenderness.”

Those are comforting words, and true words, as far as they go. Most of us know them to be true because of our own experience.

When it came to her three sons, my mother always sought to understand, she was certainly good, quick to forgive and treated each of us with great tenderness. But she was not a push-over. There were standards in our family – certain expectations concerning behavior – and we knew they were unchanging. Also, because my mother and father agreed on those expectations, there was nowhere to hide and it was impossible to play one parent against the other. Our understanding and forgiving mother could also be a demanding mother, when it came to our transgressions.

And so it is with our Holy Mother the Church, which is why I venture to say that I think the Holy Father didn’t go quite far enough, and in fact, even borders on setting up a false dichotomy. Having standards and expectations when it comes to what is right or wrong is not being rigid; rather, having discipline is being realistic and loving.

When my brothers and I were young boys it would not have occurred to us to say to our father, “You’re too rigid – we’re going to appeal to Mom!” We knew the rules, we knew they agreed on the expectations, and we knew we would receive a just verdict from each of them.

So also, the motherhood of Mary and of the Church is a just and true motherhood, embracing us in love while also holding us accountable, and it's through that loving discipline that we know we’re not orphans.

14 September 2015

Exposition of the Relic

A relic of the True Cross is made available each year on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, for the veneration of the Faithful.




09 September 2015

THE CRUSADER TIMES

Here is the link to the latest issue of THE CRUSADER TIMES, which keeps you up to date on the happenings at The Atonement Academy.

06 September 2015

Church Doors

I like good, solid church doors. There's something beautiful about them, with the promise of great possibilities behind them. These are the doors at Our Lady of the Atonement Church...

The Great West Doors


The original doors, now opening from the nave onto the courtyard.


The Sacred Heart Chapel door.

03 September 2015

Divine Worship - The Missal


For more than thirty years we have been waiting for this harvest. In 1983 the seeds were carefully planted with the compilation of The Book of Divine Worship, now resulting in this beautiful DIVINE WORSHIP altar missal. Although it is available only for pre-ordering, it won't be long before it is in actual use. Deo gratias.