This is the time of the year when the pace of life seems to really ramp up. It isn't even that the first two months of school are any different, but I think we all sense the increased rhythm of the academic calendar as we turn to November. Dr. Kalpakgian always taught me the needs resulting from the rhythm: there has to be an element of dance, play, and leisure - even sometimes unplanned - in order to rejuvenate the soul and make us more free to focus on and love the good things that are always happening around us - even when we aren't looking closely enough.
Our liturgical calendar also imparts an opportunity to manage the ups and downs of daily existence. So often I wonder to myself how a day went from where it started, to where it ended. There is the paradoxical nature of routine combined with unpredictability in the life of a school, but even more so in family life. For me, I manage these moments by anchoring to what the Church thinks about from one day to another.
This week, the Church thinks about sainthood in this life and the next. The Solemnity of All Saints' directs our attention to the universal calling to holiness. To be a saint simply means to be holy, and to be holy means to be like God. God became man so that man might become God. And again, when I consider this truth, it helps me move out of moments of confusion into a clarity of purpose. Recalling what I am made for summons me to stay focused on what matters the most, and that is not the minutieua of the many evident and recurring failures, but rather the magnificence of meaning. We are here for a reason. All Souls' on Saturday reminds us that our loved ones still need us, which is really quite a provocative thought: we no longer see them but the love shared transcends time and connects us not simply to their memory, but to their soul.
Here I would just state again that this is the sole purpose of our mission at MRA: we desire nothing less than sainthood for our children.
The challenge is when we measure that purpose to the now. We do not experience immediate results. It is a grind to form children in virtue and teach them truth. Children make mistakes. We make mistakes. There is no way around it.
I have used this quote in the past, but it resonates so loudly I think to the experiences we all share: "There is no saint without a past, nor sinner without a future."
St. Augustine was a great sinner and a great saint. For him to say what he just said, he meant it because he lived it. He was able to leave behind all of his sins for the tangible hope of a life lived well when lived for God. The saints are so human; that is why we look to them daily. On this upcoming solemnity, it is my prayer that we can all look away from the failings of the past (and present) and just move forward. Our children will be who God wants them to be when we decide to leave the past where it is.
Most sincerely in Christ,