Prep Inspired by the Lives of the Saints

In his homily, the Prep's Chaplain, Fr. Michael Gribbon, challenged the community to be inspired by the lives of the Saints to realize the gifts God has uniquely given us and to find ways to use them for the betterment of our community, our world and the Church. 
Below is a reprint of Fr. Gribbon's homily delivered at the Mass.
Today we celebrate All Saints Day, a day to think about the Saints of our Church. We will begin the homily with a brief reflection by two students of our community who are going to talk about two saints that really inspire them and touch their hearts.

Gabrielle Bonello ’18 - I chose St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. St. Madeleine was born in France in 1779. her father was well educated and her brother was a monk. They did their best to teach her about the world at a time when education was not readily available to young women. Her brother brought her Paris where later in her life she founded the Society of the Sacred Heart. Her aim was to provide education to girls who did not have access to education. In her lifetime she founded over 100 houses and schools in several countries. She inspires me because she stood up for what she believed in. At a time when education was not available to most girls, she dedicated her life not only to God but to the service of young women makes her truly admirable.

Vincent Flores ’18 - I chose St. Lorenzo Ruiz. He was born in 1600 in Manila, The Philippines. He died a martyr’s death in 1637 along with five of his companions in Japan. He is the patron saint of Altar Servers, those living in poverty, and of separated families. All martyrs died for God and for what they believed in. We live in a day where it is difficult to be different, where it is frowned upon to “not fit in”. St. Lorenzo Ruiz inspires me to stand up for what we believe in and to not be afraid to “do our own thing”.

Those are just two examples of how we can be inspired by the lives of the Saints. I hope that you all have a patron saint of your own. A saint who you look to, who you learn from, who inspires something about your life. This is why we look back on history. This is why we look back on the Saints who lived 600 years ago, 1000 years ago.

A funny thing happened to me today as I came into school this morning. Someone left in my mailbox a prayer card with a medal on it. This card is dedicated to St. Louis IX, The King of France. Now I don’t know a lot about him off hand, but I read this very beautiful prayer on the back of the card and I would like to share a part of it with you. it says “His love for You, O Lord was exemplified in his love for the poor, the unfortunate, and the afflicted. His religious spirit was the focus of his earthly cares.” This inspired me greatly this morning as I was preparing to celebrate this liturgy with you. This question came to me as I read this prayer. If St. Louis IX did those things so many years ago, who will do those things today? When we think about the Saints we have heard about today, who will be as courageous as St. Lorenzo Ruiz was? Where is that courage needed in the world today and where will we find it? St. Madeleine’s love for those girls who had no education was in direct response to the great need of the time. Who will respond to that need in our world today? Well, we are.

The call to holiness exists as strongly today in us as it did in those Saints of history. Just at St. Madeleine responded to that need, so did our Volleyball team respond to the call for help to fight for breast cancer awareness by organizing our DigPink efforts and Volleyball game. Just as those who will gathered together today to raise money for Hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. When see our brothers and sisters in need and we respond to them, we are acting in the same holiness that has motivated saints throughout history. Today we are to get in touch with that holiness, to become aware of that holiness and say to ourselves, if they did their part, not it is time for us to do our part.

One of the things that I am always inspired by in the Saints is this: They were not perfect. We in America particularly, tend to look for perfection. We always talk about competition, asking ourselves who is the best athlete? who is the best student? who is the best artist? who is the best this or that? The reality is that the best knowledge does not exist in one person. it exists in the community, in all of us. There is not one person in this room today who can do it all by themselves. Not Mrs. McGinnis, not the faculty, not the priests, the deacons, we can not do it by ourselves! We nee each other. Today the Feast of All Saints begs us to ask the question what can I give? What can I do to make the love of Christ more visible and more powerful in the world?

We look at this Altar in front of us as a table, which it is, and think of all the Saints sitting around that table with us today honoring God and his Son Jesus. Who sits at that table? Maybe we see St. Thomas Aquinas, regarded perhaps as one of the most intellectual of all the Saints in history, a philosopher, a theologian, a genius. At the same table is St. John Vianney. A priest who struggled terribly to complete his studies for the priesthood, who did very poorly on most of his exams. When he first became a priest they told him he could say mass, but he couldn’t hear confessions as they believed he was smart enough to give advice to people, counsel people and bring them comfort in the confessional. By his humility, his simplicity, and by his own gift of love he became the most popular priest in France during his time.

So it is not a matter of who is the smartest, it is a matter of making the most of the gifts we have to serve the Lord. How do we add to the goodness of the Church? How, in this particular place today, do we add to the strength and holiness of the St. Edmund Prep community? What talent have you been given? What wisdom do you bring? It all can’t be found in one group, one student one aspect of our community. Our wisdom and goodness is found in our academics, in our athletics, in our art, in our music, in our service, in our kindness, in our humor, in the goodness that we show. All of these things matter! Without you, they can not be accomplished to the fullest! They can not be accomplished without you recognizing that you are a gift from God, and that your gift belongs not to you alone, but to the community, to the world and to the Church. St. Edmund Prep is a place where in discovering that gift, developing it and sharing it you become a better person, we become a better school, and the world becomes a better place. That is what All Saints Day is all about. We all have a gift to give. We all have a part to play. We are the Church!

My brother and sisters, I beg you, recognize your gift! Give thanks for it today! Then in your heart decide to share that gift. Discern how God is challenging you to use that gift for the benefit of Christ and His Church to make our community stronger, more spiritual, more beautiful more wise, more loving, more like Christ himself. May God bless us on this All Saints Day. May each of us be inspired by the Saints. Whether it be St. Madeleine, St. Louis IX, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, St. Edmund, St. Joseph, St. Michael, St. Anthony, whoever your Saint is. May they inspire us to discover our own gift more deeply today and use it in love and in service of God and neighbor. Amen.

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