Ruminating to avoid idols

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of 
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” - Philippians 3:7

Someone commented to me today that there is a lot going on in my head right now, and none of it seems to be connected. We used to host a podcast entitled, “Ruminations of Formation.” Yea, it didn’t go that far in terms of grabbing an audience. My faint recollection regarding the word rumination emanates from a biblical connotation: to meditate on the word of God. Much like the first compartment in the stomachs of animals where creatures such as cows chew their cud (Latin ruminari from rumen), it denotes a repetitive process of trying to break things down. Rumination is thinking deeply in the simplest sense of the term. 

Alas, without any evident plan, I will see if I can think deeply enough while writing to connect these events that I have been thinking deeply about:

1.  The Walk-A-Thon (October 25) raised the most money since the very first year of the fundraiser, circa 2012 (the year completed construction and began using the St. Joseph Center). I really appreciate the work of HEART - specifically Bonnie Treece and Cathy Peschke - in supporting the operations of our sacred mission. This is always the best bang for our buck in terms of creating opportunities for families to reach their family fundraising commitment. 

2. A current high school senior was fully incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ at St, Patrick’s Church in front of over 225 souls seeking communion with God (October 29). She made this choice on her own after embracing the invitation from fellow sinners seeking sainthood. 

3. The following Monday (October 30), over 15 high school students affiliated with our Knights for Life Chapter participated in the 40 Days for Life vigil down in Manchester. We sat on the sidewalk in the rain for one hour and prayed. We observed several women enter and leave the facility. We remained silent per the policies set forth by this international movement. We received angry outbursts from one of the vehicles that left and kept circling back to yell at us, a certain finger from that same vehicle, and then just as we were about to leave, a woman pulled over and began berating our high school students. No one said anything. We silently witnessed to the sanctity of all human life. 

4. Our school observed the Solemnity of All Saints’ (October 31) and our seniors demonstrated the leadership that our mission deserves, dressing like saints despite their age and showing younger students what we are really about. 

5. A current high school junior was also fully initiated into the Church with his two brothers down at St. Joseph’s Cathedral (November 5). Our school chaplain concelebrated the liturgy and four current students altar served to support their schoolmate and his family. 

6. A beloved faculty member suffered a heart attack (November 6) and when I went to visit him in the hospital (November 7), I discovered an alumni administering care to him (she is a registered nurse). She invited me into the hospital room after seeing me “lurking,” perhaps a shared experience for all students - current and former. I like to think I am lurking in love. 

7. We will end on the number that evokes perfection or completeness in the bible. I came home tonight (November 7) knowing I had to write this newsletter message because tomorrow will have its own detours to handle. One of our children was being his usual cute self, and then my wife commented to me, “Do you ever think, I can’t believe this is my child, and I am his mom?” 

I intentionally left out some of the more intimate details but I am sure you can fill in the dots. 

These are the events since I last wrote. They do not encompass all of the interactions with students and faculty that take place on a daily basis. I tried to write this after getting back from the hospital but there were three students in my office just making conversation and enjoying the company. I told them to put their phones away and the conversation elevated to another level. 

None of this is made up. We can’t make it up. It is all God’s will. 

One final note to tie this altogether: the greatest threat our culture proposes is to idolize the secondary goods over and above the ultimate good of communion with God. Every decision we make on this earth ought to order us to this end. If we displace the higher goods of community, sacredness, family, beauty, and love, with secondary goods - social status, wealth, power, talent, prestige, popularity, career, esteem - then none of these moments will have the same meaning in the eyes of God. It is His wisdom, not ours. - Mr. Derek Tremblay, Headmaster

“The world is afraid of this wisdom because it upsets the old life, rebukes the world, and overturns set values - in short, human nature finds it hard to accept. Nevertheless, humble souls of good will and those little ones fired with youthful enthusiasm have, throughout every period of history, follow this wisdom successfully to the end.”
- Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, The Road of Hope: A Gospel from Prison