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Benet Academy Freshman Retreat

Posted by Jeanine Jelinek on October 12, 2017 at 12:35 PM

As part of the Benet Academy Freshman Retreat, students visited the Abbey on October 11th and celebrated the Mass with Abbot Austin. Thank you to all the Benet faculty and student leaders that worked hard to arrange a special retreat for the freshman students. Abbot Austin's homily, "You're more valuable than you think", is provided below and can also be found on St. Procopius Abbey's Facebook page.



Homily for Wed. of 27th wk. in Ord. time, Oct. 11, 2017, St. Procopius Abbey, given to Benet freshmen retreat

Part of life is having to deal with competing voices. One person says one thing, another person says another thing. The competing voices can be speaking about things that, at the end of the day, are not that important: for example, some voices say the Cubs are the best baseball organization, others say the White Sox. Other competing voices are about things like the arts or movies: one movie critic will review a movie and say that it is great, while another will review it and say that it's not so great. And there are competing voices are about politics, current events, and so on.

Such is life. You have to deal with competing voices. And being an adult means having to decide which voices we will believe and follow.

Now, there are also competing voices about religion. In school or at home, you'll hear voices that tell you to live and take seriously your Catholic faith. But in our culture, you'll also hear many voices that tell you not to do that. Some of those voices will say things incompatible with our faith; others will say things directly critical of our faith.

Again, this is part of life in this world. And each of us will have to make decisions about which voices to follow.

Now, here's something to remember as you consider what our Catholic faith says. Some criticize our faith as being too negative. It tells us not to do this or that. I think that criticism is a bit overplayed, but I can understand where it comes from. The Catholic faith can come across as negative, if we fail to grasp something. What we often fail to grasp is how valuable we are. In other words, you are more valuable than you think.

Look at the gospel reading today. In it, Jesus tells us to call God our Father. The thing about a father and his child is that they resemble each other. So, each of us resembles God.

That's a big deal. Nothing is greater than God. So, to resemble God means that you have incredible worth. Again, you are more valuable than you think.

Or look at the first reading today. The Prophet Jonah gets upset when a plant dies. The plant was giving him shade and comfort on a hot day. When it dies, Jonah becomes very mad! God replies: You care so much about a plant. Shouldn't I care about human beings?!

Of course, He should and He does. Indeed, God values us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. In theological talk, we speak of our worth by saying each human being is made in the image of God. We resemble God, for we have been created in the image of God. Once again, you are more valuable than you think.

The thing about valuable things is that we treat them with care. We give them special attention and we protect them. Thus, if a person has a valuable antique car, he gives it special care and protects it. If a person has a valuable piece of clothing, perhaps a jacket or dress, she takes special care of it. And yet each human being is more valuable than any possession.

We have immortal souls. We will live even after bodily death. And God is working so that we will live with Him forever, in His joy and peace, which is beyond understanding. We need to work with him on this.

So, if our Catholic faith seems to demand much, it is because we are worth it. You are more valuable than you think. And that's worth remembering as we deal with competing voices.

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