The Stars Had Not Lied

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 25 October 2016)

Good Morning, ladies and gentlemen!

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God!


Allow me to tell you a story.  Once, long ago, a king who was also an astrologer nightly studied the stars for signs and messages.  One night he decoded a strange pattern of stars and was terrified to read of a great calamity that would befall him on a certain day in the near future.  Frightened, the next day he ordered a great stronghold to be built out of massive rock in which he would be safe from the predicted catastrophe.  When the day of his calamity predicted by the stars arrived, he entered the stronghold and placed armed guards all around it.  Once inside he was shocked to see daylight.  With leftover mortar he quickly filled the small hole so the disaster couldn’t slip through.  He sat down, relieved that he was finally safe.  But he was quickly seized with panic as he realized that by blocking every possible opening through which disaster could enter, he had imprisoned himself without air or light.  The king died that night.  The stars had not lied.


How many of us, like the king, fearing some misfortune, build walls of defenses around us only to become imprisoned in circumstances far worse than that of which we were afraid in the beginning?


I think of the student who has not studied for a test and, fearful of not passing, sets up an elaborate scheme of cheating—looking at the answers of another, having information stored in an electronic device, writing on one’s sleeve or hand or forearm, having cheat notes—only to be discovered by the teacher.  That student is now faced with a situation far worse than the first!!


I think of the student who is afraid of some relationship—an abusive relative, an abusive girlfriend or boyfriend—who builds up walls of silence, unwilling and ashamed to talk with someone, denying that anything is wrong.  That student has shut off any way to get free from his or her fears.


I think of the persons who fear what other people think of them or who fear the anger they have inside or the hate or the questions they harbor about who they are.  Sometimes these people allow that fear to eat away inside them, to blind their judgment, to move them to act not out of the light of love but out of the blackness of discouragement or frustration.


All of us have fears in our life—fears of illness or death either for ourselves or for a loved one, fears of failure in school or in sports or in our job, fears about the world and all the human and natural disasters around us—from terrorism to tsunamis, fears about our future and our well-being.  The natural reaction is to run from fear, to hide from fear, to curl up and pretend the fear does not exist (it is all a bad dream and will go away).  However, our faith reminds us that Jesus has conquered all fears.  So frequently he tells his disciples and he tells us: Do not be afraid!!  Trust in God and trust in me!!  Heavens and earth will pass away but I, Jesus, will not pass away.


Jesus is with us at all times and in all seasons.  O, fears and troubles and disasters are not going to disappear—that’s a part of life!!  The challenge is how we face those fears.  Do we give into our fear?  Do we build walls to protect us from our fears, closing ourselves up like the king in the story?  Or do we look our fears in the face, take them on head on, trust in God, and do the best we can.  When we do that, we summon our courage and use our freedom and call upon our best selves and say: “I need not be afraid, for God is with me and God has given me the gifts needed to face whatever challenge is before me.”  Do not be afraid!!



Let us pray:  Lord, life has its challenges, its ups and downs, and life is not always easy.  Give us the wisdom to recognize your constant presence and the courage to use the gifts you have given us to face whatever fears or dangers come our way.  AMEN.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

Peacemakers in a Messy World

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 21 October 2016–the final day of the International Lasallian Days of Prayer for Peace)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

What a great week to be a Lasallian!  At the beginning of the week we had the canonization of Brother Solomon Le Clercq.  Brother Solomon was martyred during the French Revolution, the first follower of Saint la Salle to be martyred.  His canonization is an important event in our Lasallian world.


And today as we end the week we come to the final day of the International Lasallian Days for Peace, which began a month ago on September 21.  So this morning we say “yes” to the morning, and we say “yes” to peace.


My own involvement with the issue of peace began in this very school in the early 1960s.  Wise teachers introduced me to the work of Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, two of the great Americans praised by Pope Francis during his visit to Washington.  But in those days the work of these two was not widely accepted.  In fact, in Merton’s case, his superiors in the Trappist order, forbade him to publish work about war and peace.


The issue of peace was very much on the minds of me and my friends, and not only because of what we were reading.  There was the Cuban missile crisis, and then the growing Vietnam War, with its daily “body counts.”  It was a time of great tension.  And then there was the draft, with nearly every American family aware that the next draftee could be a son, brother, or cousin.


There was also the Second Vatican Council, with a strong prohibition (the Council’s only prohibition) of the bombing of innocent civilians.  The Council Fathers also wrote positive statements about conscientious objection, to which I was being drawn.

After much reading and prayer and thought, I became a conscientious objector, immediately lost my student deferment, and served as an unarmed field medic.

And you, students of the current generation, are also living in a time of war – many wars.  Yet it seems so easy today to keep the problem of war at arm’s length.  Not so much tension here at home.  No draft.

Let us try to keep the tragic violence of war on our minds – today, and all days.  Let us be peacemakers, in our families, in our classrooms, on our playing fields.  Let us find ways to live in solidarity with the victims of war and other violence, through prayer and hospitality and almsgiving.  And we must not forget to pray for, and try to love those who do violence, who wage war.  This Jesus commanded of us.  These sincere efforts will help His Kingdom come.


Let us pray.

Creator God, we, your creatures, are often proud, and weak, and lazy.  Help us to find the humility, the strength, and the vigor to be peacemakers, and to be your loving presence in our messy world.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts. Forever!

Michael McNamara–Mathematics Teacher

Say “Yes” To The Morning

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 18 October 2016)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Crash!  Bang!  Slam!

Sorry if I startled you, but those are just the sounds of a typical morning at my house growing up.  You see, my father was a chef at a hotel in Boston, and he thought the best time of day to do anything, especially cooking, was as early in the morning as possible.  It was totally normal for me to wake up at 6am on a Saturday morning and find 100 meatballs or crab cakes on our kitchen counter, waiting to be cooked and frozen.


My dad’s habit of doing everything early in the morning meant that, by necessity, we were a family of early risers.  So, I like getting up early and I like the morning.  Every morning is a fresh start, and it is when I’m feeling the most positive and the most productive.  There’s nothing I like more than a first period math class (see you in a few minutes, Algebra 1, Period F!).

But here’s a secret.  Even though I love the morning, what I love more is that moment just before you get up where you are suspended between awake and asleep.  This is a little moment of peace, the calm before the storm of our busy days begins.  In that moment, it is tempting to stay in bed, to push starting the day off until the very last moment.


Once I no longer lived at home and had the clanging of pots and pans to make it impossible to stay in bed, this temptation to put off starting the day for a few more minutes was a real struggle for me.

This all changed a few years ago when I met a teacher, much older and much much wiser than I, who changed my perspective.  I learned that when she would find her homeroom students looking tired, weary, and generally less than enthusiastic about the school day ahead — much like you might be feeling on this Tuesday morning — she would say to them, “Say yes to the morning, love!”


Until I heard it, I didn’t realize how important it was to say yes to the morning, to embrace starting a new day without reserve.

You see, when you don’t make a habit of saying yes to the morning, it’s harder to say yes to the other things that happen in your day.  You get in the habit of making excuses to remain comfortable for just a few more moments, and you aren’t able to be your best for yourself and others.

This is an especially appropriate thought today, on the feast of St. Luke, the evangelist who writes about the greatest ‘yes’ in all of history.

In the Gospel of Luke, we hear that the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to an unsuspecting young woman named Mary, to announce to her that she would become the mother of God through miraculous circumstances.  This meeting between Gabriel and Mary was a moment of peace, the calm before the storm that would be the rest of her life, Mary did not try to push it off, to keep her normal life a little longer.  Rather, she replied without hesitating, “I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”


We probably aren’t going to be called today to say ‘yes’ to something in quite as huge a way as Mary, but we will be called to be the instruments of everyday miracles.  We are called to ask an upset friend what is wrong instead of looking the other way; we are called to volunteer instead of waiting for someone else to do it first; we are called to speak out when we see someone falling victim to injustice instead of pretending we didn’t see.   We are called to say ‘yes.’


Let us pray:

Heavenly Father,

Help us to say yes to this morning and every thing that comes after it.  Help us to live this day according to your will, serving others needs even when it invades our moments of peace and comfort.

St. John Baptist de La Salle — Pray for us!

Live Jesus in our Hearts — Forever!

Lia Wahl–Mathematics Teacher

Kermit the Frog and Being True to Oneself

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 7 October 2016)

Before I begin, there is a reason that I volunteered to do a morning prayer, after so many years of teaching at La Salle.  There is an amazing tenth grader, a former PEGASUS student, that has continually challenged me to do things that I was not comfortable doing or may have been nervous to try.  She herself has struggled to overcome many fears and has been a real-life inspiration.  So, after I heard her do a morning prayer all on her own last year, I figured that it was time that I stepped up and tried it myself.

So, Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God….

Why are there so many songs about rainbows? And what’s on the other side.  Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide.

These lyrics are sung by one of the greatest entertainers that the world has ever known… Mr. Kermit the Frog.


Students and friends are always giving me a hard time and making comments to me such as “You’re a grown man.  Why do you like the Muppets so much?”  I will usually then spend a fair amount of time defending my reasons.  But what it really boils down to is I find them to be amazingly entertaining and funny.  I found them to be great as a child, and my love for them has only grown as I have moved towards becoming an old man.

There are plenty of other interests that I have that would not be considered adult.  I very much enjoy sharing my knowledge of the Autobots and the Decepticons.  Each week, I can’t wait to discuss Barry Allen’s latest frustrating muddling with time on the Flash. When students ask me what I would do for a living if I wasn’t a teacher, I tell them that I would want to be a Ghostbuster.  Being an English teacher, my favorite literary characters should be people like Huckleberry Finn, or Macbeth.  But personally I would argue that Batman and the Joker are just as complex and interesting literary characters.


Why is it that we are “supposed” to grow out of things?  Why are some things alright for us to enjoy when we are young but not alright to enjoy after we reach a certain age?  Our interests are part of what define us.  I know that I am not the only adult out there that still LOVES the Ninja Turtles and can’t wait to see Doctor Strange in the theaters next month.  We can all sometimes be uncomfortable or unwilling to proclaim our nerdiness.

Last year my 7th grade class read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  The novel shows a very different depiction of what it was like to be a kid, much different than today’s crazy, fast-paced, plugged-in world.  These very intelligent children pointed out how different life is for kids today. You are all expected to become more mature at a much younger age.  You are asked to start thinking about college by the time you hit middle school.  You are told things like “grow up” or “get your head out of the clouds”.  But like the legendary John Candy said in the fine film Uncle Buck:  “I don’t think I want to know a kid who isn’t a dreamer, or a silly-heart.”    One day you’ll look in the mirror and wonder where all those grey hairs came from. Give yourselves time to dream, create, and be kids every once in a while.


Now I may wish that I lived in Neverland, but we cannot live in a fantasy world 24 hours a day; nothing would ever get done.  At some point we do need to “grow up”.  Go to college, get a job, pay the bills.  But growing up does not mean that you have to give up what you love or who you are.

Now my message here is not strictly based around waving our freak flags for all the world to see.  It also has to do with our faith.  We should all be proud of our faith and wear it on our sleeves.  We should be very confident and comfortable talking about what we believe in, about the man that came down here to tell us to just be excellent to each other for a change.

My point also has to do with how we choose and treat our friends.  We sometimes abandon certain friends because they aren’t seen as “cool” by others’ standards.  I am no saint when it comes to this fact. Even Peter, an actual saint, denied knowing his best friend, after Jesus wasn’t the most popular guy in town anymore.


Too many times we allow others to dictate what is “cool” and what is not.  But our interests, faith, and friends are what make each of us unique.

Maybe we can all look to Kermit the Frog as an example of what it truly means to be yourself. He does not care about other people’s opinions of him.  He dates a pig.  His best friend is a bear that has spent his life trying to be a comedian, but isn’t actually funny at all.  Yet Kermit stands by Miss Piggy and Fozzy Bear at every turn.  He never abandons his friends.    He believes in his dream and never gives up.  And just like rainbows, he has nothing to hide.


Let us pray….

Lord, let us never forget what makes us each unique and special.  Don’t let us succumb to other’s idea of what is “cool”.  Let us be comfortable being who we are, with what we believe in, and what makes each of us special.  Let us be proud of our uniqueness, our faith, and our friends. As we grow and mature, don’t let us to give up what makes each of us, us.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle….Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts….Forever.

Evan Gilroy–English Teacher (De La Salle Middle School)

Hide Us in the Hollows of Your Wounds

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 4 October 2016)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Those of you who have had me in class know that I change the traditional prayer of “Live Jesus in our hearts,” by inserting a line from the Anima Christi.  Instead, I close prayer, after, of course, a long litany of saints, with “Lord Jesus, hide us in the hollows of your wounds, and live in our hearts, forever.”  Hide us in the hollows of your wounds.  What an evocative phrase.  Our Creator, Our Savior, becomes human, only to be eternally wounded.  What are we to make of this?  Are we to focus on feeling shameful for the injuries we’ve caused Our Redeemer?  Or are we to take comfort and shelter in His wounds?


I believe that we are called to gaze into the devastation of Christ’s wounds, and emerge changed, utterly.  I believe we are chosen to be a similar shelter to each other.  To see the tragedy, to experience it, to live in it, and to be born into its beauty.  When Thomas doubts that Jesus has risen, Our Lord does not convince him through a well-structured argument.  Rather, Thomas knows his Salvation through the wounds.


When we, in our lives, are afflicted, are struggling, we need not suffer alone.  Let us welcome others into our hearts, and share in their pain, as they share in ours.  Let us stand with our sisters and brothers and assure them that they are not alone.  When we hear about a friend having a rough time in school, or at home, let us be a shelter for them.  When we hear about poverty on our streets, about violence on our campuses, about death throughout the world, let us not push it out, in fear of it.  Let us rather embrace those suffering, because together we can be a safe haven, and in time, we will find shelter in the wounds of Our Savior.  For in the words of Dorothy Day, “We cannot love God, unless we love each other.”


Let us pray:

Soul of Christ, sanctify us
Body of Christ, save us
Blood of Christ, inebriate us
Water from Christ’s side, wash us
Passion of Christ, strengthen us
O good Jesus, hear us
Hide us in the hollows of your wounds
Suffer us not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend us
In the hour of our death call us,

And bid us come unto Thee
That we may praise Thee with Thy saints

and with Thy angels

Forever and ever



Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Lord Jesus, hide us in the hollows of your wounds, and live in our hearts, forever.


Sarah Allen–Religion Teacher