Hastening to Heaven

Ash Wednesday

From a letter to the Corinthians by Saint Clement I, pope and martyr:

Let us fix our attention on the blood of Christ and recognize how precious it is to God his Father, since it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to all the world.

If we review the various ages of history, we will see that in every generation the Lord has offered the opportunity of repentance to any who were willing to turn to him. When Noah preached God’s message of repentance, all who listened to him were saved. Jonah told the Ninevites they were going to be destroyed, but when they repented, their prayers gained God’s forgiveness for their sins, and they were saved, even though they were not of God’s people.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the ministers of God’s grace have spoken of repentance; indeed, the Master of the whole universe himself spoke of repentance with an oath: As I live, says the Lord, I do not wish the death of the sinner but his repentance. He added this evidence of his goodness: House of Israel, repent of your wickedness. Tell the sons of my people: If their sins should reach from earth to heaven, if they are brighter than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, you need only turn to me with your whole heart and say, “Father”, and I will listen to you as a holy people.

In other words, God wanted all his beloved ones to have the opportunity to repent and he confirmed this desire by his own almighty will. That is why we should obey his sovereign and glorious will and prayerfully entreat his mercy and kindness. We should be suppliant before him and turn to his compassion, rejecting empty works and quarreling and jealousy which only lead to death.

Brothers, we should be humble in mind, putting aside all arrogance, pride and foolish anger. Rather, we should act in accordance with the Scriptures, as the Holy Spirit says: The wise man must not glory in his wisdom nor the strong man in his strength nor the rich man in his riches. Rather, let him who glories glory in the Lord by seeking him and doing what is right and just. Recall especially what the Lord Jesus said when he taught gentleness and forbearance. Be merciful, he said, so that you may have mercy shown to you. Forgive, so that you may be forgiven. As you treat others, so you will be treated. As you give, so you will receive. As you judge, so you will be judged. As you are kind to others, so you will be treated kindly. The measure of your giving will be the measure of your receiving.

Let these commandments and precepts strengthen us to live in humble obedience to his sacred words. As Scripture asks: Whom shall I look upon with favor except the humble, peaceful man who trembles at my words?

Sharing then in the heritage of so many vast and glorious achievements, let us hasten toward the goal of peace, set before us from the beginning. Let us keep our eyes firmly fixed on the Father and Creator of the whole universe, and hold fast to his splendid and transcendent gifts of peace and all his blessings.

Dear Families,

I was excited to read this headline in the Washington Post recently: Study Finds the Significant Value of a Liberal Arts Education. The article details the practical reasons why a formal program of liberal arts study is valuable. Although counter-intuitive to modern ideas of practicality and career preparation, the study found completing a degree in liberal arts was productive in many ways. Graduates credit such training as an ability to “be prepared, be ready to answer tough questions, appreciate multiple perspectives, and explain … ideas effectively” (Svrluga, 2020).

As I read this I was once again proud that Mount Royal is ahead of the curve. By following God’s will and our hearts-- through prayer-- this is a course we embarked upon more than 25 years ago. And we do not wait until college to begin. No matter the age, we engage in the pursuit of the liberal arts-- we expose students to the good, the true and the beautiful-- it is something we have purposefully cultivated. 

Students are able to take their well-formed ideas and views into modern spheres; they are able to treasure and defend them. As the article continues to describe, “Liberal arts helped her to be nimble and speak up… allows a person to be flexible and draw on a wealth of knowledge… critical thinking, writing skills, the ability to think across disciplines… all provide good preparation for the workforce and what employers are seeking”. 

So if you want to use a metric of the world (money): “The median 40-year return… at liberal arts colleges is more than 25% higher than the median for all colleges”.  Survey says: your child will make more money. But to use the metrics of heaven: your child will have the tools to not only defend their beliefs and ideas, but to share and spread them. That is what is most important. That is what we help, train, and prepare them to do.

Yours truly in Christ,

Amy Sansone
Academic Dean