Thomas wished for “Nothing but You, Lord:” Father Chris shared this homily today with Fenwick students at an all-school Mass.
By Fr. Christopher Johnson, O.P., Fenwick High School
Let’s pretend for a moment that you stumbled across a magic lamp in the attic of your grandmother’s house. A magic lamp seems like a probable thing to find among other mementos and items from yesterday. After finding this lamp, you rub it, a genie pops out and offers you one wish. What will you ask for? All “A’s” for this semester and every semester to come? Admission into your dream college? Fame? Wealth? The opportunity to play or perform your favorite activity at the professional level? A successful marriage with perfect children?
What about a relationship with God?
There is a story about St. Thomas Aquinas that describes him as fervently praying in the chapel of his priory one evening, in front of the crucifix. The crucifix suddenly began to speak, and Jesus tells Thomas that he has written well of Jesus and the faith. Jesus then asks what Thomas would like as a reward. Thomas responds, “Non nisi te domine.” “Nothing but You, Lord.”
Think about that. St. Thomas could have asked for anything he desired — a long life, good health, to be well known and well liked by people, to become the smartest person in all of human history, you name it. Yet he says that he simply wants to be known and loved by God.
Isn’t that amazing?
Can we honestly answer that God is the number one priority in our lives?
Does he rank ahead of our desires for success — be it academic, extracurricular, familial, career?
Does God rank ahead of all our relationships? Whether they be romantic, familial or friendship?
Does he rank ahead of our desire for fame, wealth and esteem?
Nothing but You, Lord.
It’s Catholic Schools Week
This week the U.S. Catholic Church celebrates Catholic Schools Week. It is fitting that we celebrate our brother, Thomas, today since he is the patron saint of students.
What does it mean to be a Catholic school student? What does it mean to be a Catholic school? It means more than just wearing uniforms, or celebrating Catholic Schools Week each year with pajama day, field trips and class parties, as you may have done at your Catholic grade school.
Catholic education is more than that. As Carl mentioned, St. Thomas was known for both his deep intellectual knowledge, but also his spiritual wisdom. We are called to pursue the same thing as Fenwick Friars. May you not only learn about math, science, writing, reading, history, economics and so forth during your time as a Friar. I pray that you also learn what it means to love God and to be loved by Him.
Any student at any school can learn to add, subtract, read, write and memorize. That should be a given for anyone who has the opportunity to attend school. But most students do not have the opportunity to learn as Carl did — to ask the big questions — “What is the meaning of life?” “Who am I?” “What is my place in the world?” The questions that reason and intellect alone cannot answer.
I pray that you have the opportunity at Fenwick to not only learn math, business, economics, science and the like, but to consider how people are to be treated. After you graduate from college and begin to work in business or any other industry, may you view the world through a Catholic lens. Consider the questions of:
I hope that you do not leave Fenwick simply glad that you got into a good college; won a state championship in your activity; were involved with some successful organizations; and proud of all you learned.
Success inside the classroom and in the community is a good thing. Likewise with setting oneself up for good opportunities in the future. But that cannot be it.
Keep God in your life
I hope you leave Fenwick with an understanding of who you are in light of your relationship with your Creator. God loves you and has given you an immortal soul. He has formed you in His image and likeness, and nothing can change that.
He has also made all your classmates and loves them more than you can imagine. They too share in God’s image and likeness.
Look to your left … to your right ….
All the people you see are God’s beloved children and deserve respect, compassion and love. The same goes for all those you encounter throughout the rest of your life. Treat them as such.Continue reading “What Does It Mean to be a Catholic School Student?”