These past few weeks we’ve been talking about the importance of the Mass, how the tradition of what we do and say as well as the sacrifice of the altar dates back 2000 years to Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection.
But how can we actively participate in the Mass to have a more fruitful experience, whether or not we are Catholic? This week we hear from members of our De Smet Jesuit community about specific ways they engage their time at Mass so that they can grow spiritually and leave ready to love and serve the Lord. Watch the entire video here to reflect on how you might better participate the next time you attend Mass.
Why is the Mass called a Sacrifice? What is a sacrifice, anyway, and what does it mean in Christianity? This week we discuss the ancient roots of sacrifices as offerings to God. One important sacrifice was the Passover lamb that the Israelites offered in Egypt. Jesus later became the Passover Lamb of God in dying for our sins. At the Last Supper Jesus instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist; he gave us his body and blood so that we could continue to celebrate and share in his ultimate sacrifice. At Mass, when we receive the Eucharist we are partaking in that great Pascal Mystery of Jesus’ death, Resurrection, and Ascension into Heaven. Next time you attend Mass how will you partake in the sacrifice of the altar? Watch the entire video to learn more.
What do your clothing and posture say about you? Did you know research shows that what you wear affects your mood and your behavior? This is why when we celebrate Mass we wear nice clothing, to not only show our inward disposition but to prepare us for the importance of the act we are performing. Just like we have distinct clothing for special occasions or sporting events, Mass is a celebration. Our clothing and our posture demonstrate the importance of the act and ready us to participate better.
The last few weeks we’ve been hearing about our very unique calling from God so that we can experience his joy for our lives. We learned that discernment is the prayerful way to figure out what that calling is. But what does St. Ignatius have to say about discernment? Before his conversion, Ignatius had his own plans for his life, until he realized that God was calling him to something greater. He invited God into his life and into his decision making. St. Ignatius offers us the Suscipe, which is a prayer that offers up one’s desires in order to ask God to reveal his plans. We can invite God into our decision making, both the small everyday choices and the large impactful choices, with this prayer.
As we wrap up the school year and look to the future, watch the full video to reflect on how the Suscipe can help you to discern your vocation each and every day.
In the previous videos, we’ve been discussing what it means to be called by God and how each person has a unique vocation for their life. But how does one figure out what God has planned? This week, Fr. Zac Povis, 2007 De Smet Jesuit graduate and Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral Basilica, explains to us how to discover what God’s plan is for us, which is known as discernment. Fr. Povis offers three pieces of advice on how to go about living our day-to-day life and figuring out to where God is calling us to serve so that we might find the peace, joy, and fulfillment that he made us for.
Seniors, you’re about to embark on a new journey in college. It will be a time filled with many new experiences and the opportunity to truly manage your time on your own in whatever way you choose. How will you spend your time? This week, hear from 2014 De Smet graduate Chris Jansson and 2022 graduate Bryce Pattison as they discuss ways to grow in your faith life in college and to not let the busyness overwhelm you. Pope Benedict XVI once said that the world promises us comfort, but we were not made for comfort, we were made for greatness. Class of 2023, how will you pursue greatness during college? How will you ensure that God is a priority in your life?
Each one of us has a vocation, or a calling, from God. The process of discernment is noticing and understanding that calling. This week, Fr. Brian Fallon, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, explains that part of this process requires us to recognize what gifts, skills, hobbies, and interests God has given us, and how He wants us to use them to make the world a better place. Often we think certain things are better for our lives, a specific job, material possessions, etc., but we must exhibit Ignatian indifference, the ability to not desire anything other than what will help lead us to God. Fr. Fallon encourages us to strengthen our prayer life and to invite God into both the good and bad parts of lives. Watch the entire video to reflect upon your vocation and how you might go about discerning.
The word vocation derives from the Latin root meaning “to call.” As Christians, we all have a vocation from God, an identity, not to be discovered for ourselves, but that we have received from our maker. As a follow-up to last week’s video about St. Ignatius’ First Principle and Foundation, we now focus on our Christian vocation. Fr. Joseph Hill, S.J., Vocations Promoter for the Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus, explains that the Church’s answer to many of the world’s problems and the emptiness that many of us experience is our Christian vocation, Christ’s invitation to us to be who we are and to follow him on the way towards salvation. This vocation manifests itself differently in each one of us, but the spiritual goal is the same for everyone. Where might God be calling you? Have you ever stopped to listen for his call?
After St. Ignatius’ conversion in 1521, he spent time in Manresa, Spain writing the Spiritual Exercises, which are a set of prayers, meditations, and guidelines to help a person grow closer to God. These exercises are founded upon the idea that humans were created to praise, reverence, and serve God and that all other things on this Earth should be used to help man for this purpose. This week, De Smet Jesuit 2012 alumnus and Jesuit Scholastic, Nick Blair, explains to us the concept of Ignatian indifference. Contrary to its usage in everyday language, "indifference" used in Ignatian spirituality does not mean apathetic. Instead, it is the idea that a person should not desire one thing over another, but rather accept all things in life as a means to pursue the ends for which he was created, whether that be health or sickness, riches or poverty, relationships, possessions, etc. What in your life draws you closer to love of God and love of neighbor? Is there anything you should remove from your life? Watch the entire video to reflect upon St. Ignatius’ First Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises.
What is your least favorite miracle of Jesus? This week Mr. Place tells us about how Jesus’ miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes used to be a difficult concept for him to accept. He explains how the big miracles, like raising people from the dead or walking on water, seemed much more godlike and that the ordinary, mundane miracles were less comprehensible. This idea, along with his visit to the Holy Land in 2018, helped him to reflect on how he prays. He realized that it was much easier for him to ask God for help with the big things in his life, rather than pray about the small, routine things in his life. The miracle of the loaves and fishes allowed him to accept that God cares about and wants to be a part of both the big and small happenings in our lives. So during Lent, reflect on how you pray. What do you bring to God? Are you inviting him into all aspects of your life, both big and small?
Why is almsgiving important, and why do we focus so much on it during Lent? Jesus told his disciples that giving to the poor and needy was necessary to follow him. So as Christians, it is our duty to serve. God tells us in scripture that we will live a more fulfilled life by being a cheerful giver. During Lent, we emphasize our giving to offer it as prayer and fasting in order to empty ourselves to have more room for God and others. St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata, who so selflessly gave her time, often talked about how true giving requires sacrifice. What and how do you give?
Lent is a time when Christians prepare themselves to celebrate God’s sacrifice of his only son for us. One of the three pillars of Lent is fasting. But what really is fasting, and why do we do it? This week, Jesuit Scholastic and former De Smet Jesuit teacher, Mr. William Manaker S.J., explains to us how fasting can be a form of exterior penance for our wrongdoings. He talks about the three main reasons why we partake in these practices.
Watch the video to reflect on what you might give up these next 40 days, with what you will fill in its place, and how you might draw closer to God.
February is Black History Month, a time set aside to remember the work and celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans who have helped shape our country. During this month not only do we look to prominent black figures, but we also become mindful of the experiences of our black brothers and sisters in our own communities. This week Fr. Art Cavitt, pastor of St. Nicholas Parish and Director of the St. Charles Lwanga center, tells us about the achievements of the Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first recognized African American priest, as well as gives us a glimpse into his own experiences as a black priest.
Watch the video to learn a little about black history, but also to examine your own actions and how you can contribute to a world where we see each other first and foremost as children of God, made in his image.
This week during Catholic Schools Week, and in celebration of the anniversary of Fr. De Smet's birthday, we’ve been remembering our school’s namesake. Who was Fr. De Smet, S.J.? Why is he important? What did he contribute to the Jesuits, to Catholicism in St. Louis, and to American history?
Watch the video to learn interesting facts about this brave Flemish young man who traveled to the unknown western frontier to evangelize the Native Americans.
Earlier this week, our school commissioned our juniors off to their service projects. De Smet Jesuit challenges us all to be men for others. St. Ignatius told his early Jesuits to go out and set the world on fire. But from where do these calls originate? Christ told his followers to go out and make disciples of all nations. How do we fare when it comes to our call as Christians to “go out?” Do we have the strength, fearlessness, and patience to endure?
This week, churches around the world are participating in the International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. During the Last Supper, Christ prayed that we would all be one as he is one with his Father. We remember how Christians share in the same baptism and appreciation of scripture that reveals to us God and his son, our savior. Therefore, this week is an opportunity for Christians to focus on what we have in common instead of what divides us. We pray for unity so that we can love one another more fully and continue doing Christ’s work on Earth.
Epiphany is defined as a realization, an understanding, a revelation. In the case of the Epiphany that the church celebrated this past week, the 3 Magi visited baby Jesus, which is how God revealed himself to us as man. But God didn’t only reveal himself to the world through Jesus 2000 years ago, we experience numerous epiphanies in our daily lives. The 3 Magi gave gifts to Jesus to acknowledge his divinity, but these gifts also offered praise to him. When we have these moments throughout our day when God reveals himself to us, how do we respond? What gifts can we give to offer our praise? We don’t have to offer gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but we can offer him humility, repentance, selflessness, sacrifice, etc. Watch the entire video to hear more about everyday epiphanies.
Join us to pray during the second week of Advent as we await Christ’s coming as the Light of the World to dispel all darkness. We especially pray that he dispel the darkness in our hearts. He is the hope, peace, joy, and love that the Israelites awaited long ago, and that all Christians now await at the end of time. The Lord is our light and our salvation! Watch the video to pray along with us.
Every day we use our senses to experience the world around us. Sometimes we use multiple senses in combination with one another to better understand a situation. Our Catholic faith provides us with various items that draw upon our senses to help bring us into deeper and more meaningful prayer. We have music to listen to, incense that we smell, pictures and statues to look at, rosary beads to touch, and we taste the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. These items are called sacramentals. During Advent, we have the sacramental of a wreath, which can be used to prepare ourselves as we await the coming of Christ at Christmas, his coming at the end of time, and as he comes to us in our everyday lives. How can you use the Advent Wreath to draw you closer to God?
What is one of the most fundamental parts of living as a Christian? Gratitude. This week, Fr. Charlie Samson, Assistant Professor at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and brother of De Smet’s Mr. Samson, explains the meaning behind the Eucharistic prayer we hear at every Mass: “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give [God] thanks.” It is just to give God thanks means that we are to repay to him what is due: our gratitude for his sending his son to bear the weight of our sins so we can live with him in Heaven. We as Christians are called to live out of a “perpetual attitude of thankfulness for all that God has done.” Do you make it a priority to be thankful to God? How could you more intentionally express your gratitude?
Faith is a word that is tossed around so often; we hear it in every day conversation; we hear it in songs and that “you gotta have faith.” But what actually is faith? Fr. Zac Povis ’07 explains to us that faith is “the choice to believe something on the authority of the one who reveals it.” We take leaps of faith every day when we accept information from teachers, parents, or people with expertise in certain areas. Every day we make choices to believe things that exceed our own mind’s capacity to demonstrate or prove. In regards to our Catholic teachings, we choose to believe many ideas about God and his love for us because he has revealed them to us. Fr. Povis adds that faith doesn’t contradict our minds, and that our tendency to use reason to understand or when choosing to have faith is good. Do you have difficulty believing in something God has revealed? Pray for an increase in faith. Watch the video for a deeper explanation.
This week we explore the understanding of what God is. Fr. Clark Philipp ’10 explains to us how St. Thomas Aquinas pondered this question for much of his life and sought to describe God in his Summa Theologiae. Because God is so immensely abundant and powerful, it is difficult for our minds to comprehend his existence, for he is existence himself, as he revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. God is infinite, immaterial, perfect, and eternal. He has broken into time to reveal his truth and his heart to us. Have you reflected upon “what is God?” How has God revealed his heart to you?
The Corporal Works of Mercy are "charitable actions by which we help our neighbors in their bodily needs." This week, members of the Spartans for Life continue talking about the value of life and our call to respect and defend it in all forms. The Corporal Works of Mercy come from Jesus’ sermons, when he tells his followers that whatever we do to others, we do to him. Have you seen Christ in all people? How can you be aware of the needs of others and actively seek out ways to incorporate the Works of Mercy into your actions? Watch the entire video for ideas on how you can live out these works in your daily life.
This week we hear from members of our Spartans for Life as they discuss the importance of valuing, defending, and respecting life in all forms, from conception to natural death, and every point in between. The Church celebrates Respect Life Month during October and challenges us to think about how we can stand up to the injustices in our world that degrade and devalue life. The Spartans for Life are partnering with Saint Martha’s Hall, a local charity that helps women and children who have suffered from domestic violence, by hosting a fundraiser to aid in providing resources, a crisis hotline, and shelter for more than 250 women in St. Louis each year. What will you do to respect life this October? Watch the entire video to hear more about issues affecting life.
In this week’s video we continue learning about saints with interesting life stories, as well as some favorites among people in our community. To whom can you turn as a role model? Is there a saint who is similar to you? What saint can help you with a specific need? In the coming days we will begin Saintopoly, our annual game of collecting saint cards in order to win prizes. Perhaps you can find a saint to ask for intercession. All holy men and women of God, pray for us. Check out some favorites by watching the entire video.
Why does the Church care so much about the saints? This week we talk about how the saints, who are living with God, are able to pray for us when we are in need. We can also look to them as role models on how to live our lives. The best part of turning to the saints when we are in need is that there is such a variety of people, from all walks of life, jobs, interests, gifts, etc., that there is likely someone we can each relate to. Who can you ask to pray for your needs?
Last week we celebrated the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. As Christians it’s important to learn about other cultures to get a fuller understanding of who God is. This week, senior Reyli Rico, a Mexican-American, tells the story of St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron of México and all the Americas. Reyli explains the customs that he and many Hispanic-Americans celebrate in honor of Our Lady choosing a lowly indigenous man to help build up God’s kingdom. What can we learn from St. Juan Diego? How are we all called to build up the church on Earth?
National Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15! In this week’s video we hear from Spanish 4 students and members of the Spanish Club about the history of the month as well as interesting traditions and customs from Latin America. But why is this month important to us as Christians? We all make up the body of Christ, and so by learning about other cultures we get a fuller understanding of who our God is. We also catch a glimpse of Heaven, where people of all nations, race, and language are standing before the throne praising our God. How can you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to get a better understanding of who God is by learning about people who are different than you?
Last week we talked about the purpose of life to know, love, and serve God, but when Jesus came to this Earth he gave us another job: to be his witnesses to the ends of the Earth. What does this look like in our lives? What does it look like at our school? What do you do or need to be doing to be God’s witness, Jesus’ hands and feet, in this world? Let us reflect on how we can not only work on ensuring our place in Heaven someday, but how we may help others get there, too. Operation: Pray It Forward. What is it? Watch the entire video to know learn all about Pray It Forward at De Smet Jesuit.
What a heavy question! However, our faith teaches us that the purpose of this life is to love and serve God so that we can live with him forever in our next life. St. Ignatius explains this in The First Principle and Foundation of his spiritual exercises. When you say it like that, it seems pretty simple! Easier said than done. When making a goal, we know that we don’t reach said goal overnight, nor does it just magically happen. We need to take baby steps and practice to reach it—just as athletes practice skills before the big game or people break up big projects into smaller pieces to work on in a given time period. The same is true for our most important goal: to get to Heaven. Therefore, our challenge for the De Smet Jesuit community is to ask yourself: What are you doing to practice your faith life? What are you doing on a daily basis to spiritually “work out?” What baby steps are you taking to improve in what should be the highest priority in your life? We invite you to make a goal now. No matter where you are in your faith journey, let’s take some baby steps. What is one concrete way for you to grow in your faith this school year?
High school students are more likely to suffer from some form of mental illness because of the many pressures of high school, including schoolwork, trying to fit in, and worrying about the future. This week, members of the Class of 2023 talk about why it is our Christian duty to look out for others, not just during May, but all year round. Counselors Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Penberthy share warning signs of mental illness as well as tips for caring for one’s own health and that of others. To show support for Mental Health Awareness, t-shirts will be sold to benefit the National Alliance for Mental Illness. They feature a semi-colon, the national symbol of mental health, which signifies that a person’s story is never over; it will continue. St. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you not only look to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” What are you doing to actively care for your own mental health as well as those of your family, friends, and colleagues?
Happy Easter! Jesus is risen from the dead! Alleluia! During one of the first appearances Jesus made to the apostles after his resurrection, he breathed on them and gave them the Holy Spirit. What does this mean? What is the Holy Spirit and why is Jesus gifting him to the apostles, and us? This week, Fr. Charlie Samson, Archdiocesan Priest and Assistant Professor at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, explains how Jesus is offering the apostles forgiveness. This is also when he instituted the Sacrament of Confession by granting the apostles the power to forgive others’ sins. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection God has reconciled the world to himself and grants us the gift of forgiveness through the Holy Spirit as we confess our sins during Reconciliation. Is there anything for which you need to reconcile with God? Or with others? Receive the Easter peace that Jesus wants to give you.
Why did Jesus have to die on the cross in order to save us from our sins? This week, 2011 De Smet graduate, Fr. Joe Detwiler explains to us that Jesus’ passion fulfills the prophesies of the Old Testament about the suffering servant. But most importantly, Jesus chose such a painful death to save us so that he could relate to us. By suffering not only gruesome physical pain, but also rejection, betrayal, mockery, insults, and abandonment from friends, there is no pain that we humans can experience that Christ has not yet already endured. He understands our pain, can relate to us, and be by our side when we are suffering. As we head into Holy Week, may we remember that Christ took upon himself the punishment we deserve in order to do something we could never do: save ourselves.
Why do we give things up for Lent and why don’t we eat meat on Fridays during Lent? This week Fr. Clark Philipp ’10 explains that “to fast” comes from the word to hold firm or to get a better grip on something. Our fasting helps us get a better grasp on our lives so that we are able to give them away as a gift. He continues that we can only truly find ourselves and discover the richness of who we are meant to be by giving ourselves away. Fasting also reminds us that we hunger for something more in life. Physical needs will only satisfy us temporarily, but it is in Communion with Christ when we will fully be satiated. By not eating meat on Fridays we are offering to Christ a sacrifice in remembering his ultimate gift of self for us, by dying on the cross for our sins. The next time you crave the item you gave up for Lent or maybe even complain about the inconvenience of not eating meat on Fridays, perhaps you can turn it into a prayer or a gift of self, to remember that through your fasting you can build a better relationship with the one who loves you more than life itself.
Did you know that the origin of the Stations of the Cross goes all the way back to Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus? Tradition says that she would retrace Jesus’ final steps every day. Over time, this tradition spread, and many people began walking through the Holy Land where Jesus journeyed his way to Calvary. Those not in the Holy Land would set up plaques or statues to help themselves meditate on Jesus’ way of the cross. The 14 Stations of the Cross commemorate important moments that Jesus endured before his death. Reflecting upon these moments draws us closer to Christ, invites us to experience his suffering, and hopefully leaves us ever more grateful for this most undeserving gift that Christ gives us through his passion, death, and resurrection. We are almost halfway through Lent. How is your prayer and fasting going? Perhaps you can pray the Stations of the Cross as we head closer to Easter.
What is the purpose of Lent? Why do Catholics take this time to spend in prayer and fasting? Fr. Clark Philipp '10 explains in this video how we should use this time to rend our hearts, or in other words, remove the calluses that have built up on our hearts and made them hard. By ridding ourselves of these things that prevent us from living and loving well, God can transform our hearts and better prepare us to celebrate the passion, death, and Resurrection of Christ during Easter.
Why do we focus so much on death during Lent? Catholics begin Lent with Ash Wednesday Mass during which we receive ashes that remind us of our mortality. In this week’s video, Fr. Zac Povis ’07 explains to us how the purpose of focusing on our mortality is to remember the fact that we don’t have forever to live here on this Earth and that we should use the time we are given to best of our ability, to love God and neighbor. Additionally, the ashes remind us that death is not the final step; that we have joy and hope that comes with the Resurrection. We all share in Christ’s death and resurrection, so when we get overwhelmed with sadness, tragic events, or moments of despair we remember that Christ has already been there and redeemed it for us. This season of Lent, will you let Christ into the darkest moments of your life? Will you let Christ be your reason for hope?
Why do we have Black History Month and why should it matter to all of us? In this week’s video, members of the Black Student Union share the history of Black History Month and what it means to them. As Christians we believe that all mankind is created in God’s image and likeness and therefore everyone deserves dignity and respect. Dr. Cox, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, explains that this month is not just about looking back at the difficult times in history, but also celebrating the accomplishments of black Americans that have contributed to our country and have affected all of our lives. The Black Student Union’s challenge for the De Smet community this month is to find a way to commemorate Black History Month in a way that means something to each individual person.
Saints are holy people who once lived on the earth but are now spending eternity with God in Heaven. There are many steps in the process the Church uses to declare someone a saint, a person to whom we can turn to for intercession. This week, the Spanish Club teaches us about the Jesuit priest from El Salvador, Rutilio Garcia Grande, S.J., who will be beatified, one of the steps in the process, this coming Saturday. El Salvador experienced much turmoil in the twentieth century. Rutilio Grande dedicated his life’s work to helping the poor and marginalized, which ultimately led to his assassination in 1977. Our school’s mission calls us to be men for and with others no matter where this may lead us. What opportunities exist for us to use our gifts to help those in need?
This week, the senior leaders of the Campus Ministry homeroom explain what separates De Smet Jesuit from other schools and why we offer so many opportunities for students to engage in their faith. They challenge the student body, as we begin this new year, to be open to God's call and to choose one specific way in which they can grow in their relationship with God through the many experiences they encounter on campus. Finally, they remind everyone of Ignatius' desire to do everything ad majorem Dei gloriam (AMDG). Will you be open this new year?
What exactly is an epiphany? It comes from the Greek word meaning a manifestation, a revealing. The Word of God reveals himself in the flesh as Christ Jesus. The Church celebrates the Epiphany when the three wise men from the East visit Christ the King, which demonstrates that he came not just for the chosen people, but for all mankind. The gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh represent who Jesus was: his kingship, his divinity, and his humanity and death. As we begin a new year, the Campus Ministry Team invites you to reflect upon the past year and make a resolution to improve your relationship with God. How can you offer a gift of yourself to him this coming year?
Advent means "a coming" or "an arrival," and it consists of the four weeks leading up to the birth of Christ. But what is the purpose of Advent? This week, alumni and seminarians for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Nolan Shannon '18 and Adam Gordon '17, explain to us how we anticipate the incarnation of God into the world. The Israelites longed for God to rescue them from captivity, but little did they know that they would be receiving much more, the ability to have life with God and share in his divinity. God wants us to experience everlasting joy in a life with him, so we must lay our burdens down and seek him. How will you prepare your heart this Advent season?
Why do Catholics worship Mary? Why do they pray to her? In this week’s video we discuss how Catholics honor Mary as the mother of God. And in that honoring, we don’t worship Mary, but we ask her to pray for us since she is seated next to Jesus in Heaven. Just like he listened to her at the wedding of Cana, he listens to her pleas, so we ask her to pray on our behalf, especially when we are unable to pray to God ourselves. The prayer “Hail Mary” comes directly from scripture and uses the words that St. Elizabeth greets Mary with when she finds out that Mary is pregnant with Jesus. “Blessed are you among women.” Mary was chosen out of all the women of the world to be the mother of the Savior of the world, so why would we not give her the honor that God saw in her? Next time you need someone to pray for you, consider asking Mary, your heavenly mother, to intercede on your behalf so that when you aren’t able to pray at a certain moment, her prayers can continue as she sits next to and talks to her son in Heaven.
“He took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: take this, all of you, and eat of it: for this is my body which will be given up for you.” Did you know that the word “Eucharist” is derived from the Greek word “eucharistia” meaning “thanksgiving?” Jesus gave thanks to the Father in Heaven and each time we celebrate Mass and the sacrifice at the altar, we are participating in this act of giving thanks to God, just as Jesus did, and just as is happening all the time in Heaven. In this week’s video, alumnus Dennis Stoll ’02 explains to us the beauty of the gift we get to receive in the Eucharist, and challenges us to read Jesus’ words in John 6, to believe that the consecrated bread and wine truly are Jesus’ body, blood, soul, and divinity.
The next time you go to Mass, instead of expecting “to get something out of it,” (because that is not the purpose of Mass), instead ask yourself, “what can I offer during this Mass; what thanks and praise can I give to our Lord in Heaven?” The latter attitude will reap many more benefits than the former. Remember: “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give [Him] thanks.”
Thank you to all veterans who have served or are currently serving our country. In this week’s video, guest speaker, Fr. Brian Reedy, S.J., Jesuit priest, professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, and lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, talks about the risks and sacrifices that the military service members expose themselves to each day. Fr. Reedy serves as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy and is able to provide the sacraments, counseling, and advice to his battalion of more than 500 service members. He highlights how important it is for all of us to be praying for those who serve—not only because of the risks they take upon their lives, but because of the many sacrifices they make by leaving their families and often living the rest of their lives with injuries in mind, body, and spirit. Let us be grateful to these men and women who protect our freedoms and remember them daily in our prayers. St. Ignatius, St. Sebastian, and St. Longinus, patrons of the military, pray for us!
Why do we pray for the dead? In this week’s video, Fr. Zac Povis ’07 explains how our souls go on to live forever, despite the mortality of our bodies. When a person dies without full detachment from sin, he or she cannot enter Heaven immediately, for Revelation 21:27 tells us that “no unclean thing shall enter Heaven.” As Catholics, we believe that these souls go to Purgatory. Purgatory is not a state of punishment, but rather an extension of God’s mercy upon us. The souls in Purgatory will eventually enter Heaven after they’ve been cleansed and fully detached from sin. As a community, one body in Christ, we can pray for the deceased so that their souls might be cleansed and they can enter Heaven. We do not know where the souls of our loved ones go when they die, so we should pray and offer sacrifices on their behalf. If they are already in Heaven, God can use our prayers for another soul in Purgatory.
Have you ever wondered what that smell was at church? Why do Catholics use incense during Mass? This week, Mr. Manaker, SJ, explains how the use of incense dates back to the ancient Israelites to demonstrate the presence of God. Moses constructed an altar of incense to be placed before the Tabernacle in the tent. Now, as Catholics we use incense in the same way, to show how God is really present at Mass, through the Word of God that is proclaimed and physically in the bread and wine as they become Jesus’ body and blood. Furthermore, incense has long been used to symbolize human’s prayers as they rise from Earth up to God in heaven. The next time you are at Mass and see or smell incense, take a moment to pray using your senses and watch as your prayer rises to heaven.
What is an icon? Why do Catholics have so many pictures of Jesus, the Trinity, and the saints—and what are they used for?
This week, Deacon Frank Olmsted, a retired De Smet Jesuit theology teacher of 34 years, shares with us how icons help draw us deeper into reflection about the person or image it is depicting. We’ve been focusing on the Saints this month, and icons can help us reflect upon their lives and how they can be models for us. The next time you see an icon, take note of the message it is depicting, and let it draw you more closely to Jesus in prayer.
Who are your favorite saints? How do you call upon the saints to intercede for your intentions? In a follow-up from last week’s video, this week we hear from some De Smet Jesuit students, faculty, and staff as they reflect upon their favorite saints and blesseds. Do you see yourself becoming a saint? Let us look to these holy men and women who have gone before us and have shown us that no matter the circumstances, there is always a chance to accept God’s grace and forgiveness and to live our lives for his greater glory so that we may one day live with him forever in Heaven.
Have you ever wondered why we as Catholics talk so much about the saints? Who were they and why are so important? Do Catholics pray to or worship saints? This week, Mr. Henry Samson explains what it means to be a saint and why the Church looks to these important figures in our history as role models to emulate in our lives. He continues by explaining how they can intercede for us to the Lord, much like when we ask a friend to pray for us when we have a special need. Who are some of your favorite saints? Perhaps you can look up the saints who have a feast day on your birthday or who had the same interests as you. Next time you need someone to pray for you, don’t be shy to ask the saints to intercede for you so that someone will always be asking God for your need, even when you aren’t able to pray for yourself.
Last week we heard about the Sacraments and how they are outward signs of God’s grace instituted by Christ for our sanctification. This week Mr. Manaker, S.J., explains the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Why do we have to confess our sins to a priest? Why can’t we just say we’re sorry to God directly in our prayers? After his Resurrection, Christ breathed on the Apostles and gave them the power to forgive and retain sins.
Not only does the Sacrament of Reconciliation forgive our sins, it also gives us grace, which renews our hearts and minds and gives us the strength to respond to God’s call for our lives. Need some grace? The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available upon request by scanning the QR code in the hallway and during Friday advisories in the chapel. Face-to-face or behind-the-screen options are both available!
What exactly are the sacraments, and why does the Church promulgate them? This week, seminarian for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Ryan Quarnstrom ’15 talks to us about how these sacraments are outward signs of God’s grace to sanctify us. He explains how the components that make up the sacraments, both matter (physical elements: bread, wine, water, oil) and the form (the words that give meaning to the elements) mimic how we are created as humans, both body and soul.
Anyone who wishes to receive more information about sacraments are invited to reach out to their parishes or contact De Smet Jesuit Campus Ministry for resources and support. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available upon request by scanning the QR code in the hallway and the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist is available every morning at 8 a.m. in the chapel (except Wednesdays). Take a moment to watch the entire explanation about the Sacraments.
What is the Sign of the Cross and why do we do it? This week, De Smet Jesuit alumnus from 2012 and Jesuit Scholastic, Nick Blair, explains to us the origins of the Sign of the Cross and how in doing so we remember the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. Signing ourselves is a way to consecrate and recommit ourselves to our Baptismal promises of a life of love and relationship to each other and to God. Watch the entire explanation here. Will you be more intentional the next time you make the Sign of the Cross?
September 8 is the feast day of St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest who dedicated his life to serving the slaves as they disembarked in Colombia. We invite you to check out this week’s 3-Minute Theology video, which is a collaboration between Campus Ministry student leaders and the Black Student Union to hear their perspective of how St. Peter Claver’s example is relevant to our lives today. How do we work to fight against injustices in the world?
In this week’s 3-Minute Theology video, former faculty member of more than 40 years, Ken Luecke, shares with us on the topic of prayer. What is prayer? What are good ways to pray? We encourage you and your family to discover new ways to pray together and build a strong relationship with our Lord. Ask your son about his preferences of prayer. If you struggle with prayer, perhaps you could designate a set time each week to pray as a family or talk about your spiritual life. If you would like resources on how to pray as a family, please contact Campus Ministry.
In this week’s 3-Minute Theology video, Fr. Zachary Povis, alumnus of 2007, talks to us about how, despite popular belief, faith and reason are interconnected. He encourages our students to dig deeper into their faith, ask questions, and seek the answers. Take a moment to watch and discuss with your son. Encourage him to ask the difficult questions. Campus Ministry, theology teachers, parish priests, and deacons, are great resources to help students and families find the answers to these ponderings.
Do you know how Mass came to be? Where did the tradition start? In our new video series, Campus Ministry will be sharing a snippet of our faith with the student body each Thursday. The hope is to talk about and reflect upon common questions about our Catholic faith. In this week’s 3-Minute Theology video, Fr. Burshek talked about the origin of Mass and what it means to celebrate as a community. We encourage parents to watch the videos as well, and discuss with your sons.