|Message from the Headmaster|
As we enter Holy Week and appreciate the labors of our Lord, I am proud to release to you the valuable recent labors of our Benedictine community:
1. Diocesan Sale / Use of Proceeds – On 14 April at the Benedictine Abbey, a full Use of Proceeds and Construction Plan presentation was conducted for the parents, student, faculty and alumni of our community. This presentation explained the terms and conditions of the sale of the Sheppard Street property to the Diocese of Richmond , the cash flow of proceeds planned for the high school and Benedictine Society for the next four years, and a time-phased construction plan for the refurbishment of the Abbey campus. The presentation was received well with positive feedback from both parents and alumni. A narrated version of this presentation will be made available online via our website in the coming weeks.
2. Benedictine Branding – During this school year, Benedictine has been privileged to work with Richmond’s acclaimed and award-winning Martin Agency to evaluate and improve the Benedictine brand. We garnered extensive input from our faculty, Board of Trustees, monastic community, and many alumni of multiple generations, and are pleased to finally release the culmination of that work. Benedictine is proud and humbled to return to its roots: “Old BC.” Over the coming years, we will pay special attention to a return to the roots of Benedictine: a well-comported and proud military program (much progress has been made already), an improved classical curriculum that challenges students in all disciplines to improve as conceptual thinkers, writers and public speakers, and a tradition-rich institution with a monastery and school united. Implementation of our new brand, our return to “Old BC,” will be complete for the school year beginning in August 2011 including new uses of our school seal, letterhead, website and other media. More information will follow in future newsletters. Please follow this link to our branding video, starring the Cadets, announcing our new (old) brand, emblematic of our heritage and a heightened academic standard.
Please enjoy Holy Week with your families. All eyes in the Christian community are on Christ this week. All of our eyes are on the Cadets, always. Our goal is to form them in the image of Christ. There is no loftier goal. We hope to take young, impressionable middle school students and return them to their families, saying “Behold the Man” (Jn 19:5) upon their graduation. We will be tireless in pursuit of that goal, the goal of Christ.
Semper Fidelis and God bless,
|CENTENNIAL SENIOR CLASS GIFT – ”Behold the Man” (Jn 19:5)|
|Please stop by our Benedictine’s front office to see the wonderful gift of this year’s senior class, a professional oil-on-canvas reproduction of Antonio Cisari’s Ecce Homo (“Behold the Man”). |
For a Catholic scholarly exegesis on the scriptural passage “Ecce Homo” – Behold the Man (Jn 19:5), please see the attached homily from Father Gregory below.
|From the Advancement Office|
Dear Benedictine Alumni and Friends,
Benedictine Alumni Association's first ever Boxing Smoker is now just two weeks away and tickets are going fast. ONLY 500 WILL BE SOLD. Click here to reserve your tickets on-line, or contact Robin O'Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-342-1311.
If you are interested in sponsoring the first ever Benedictine Boxing Smoker, we only have one Team sponsorship available, and just a few Gold and Silver sponsorships. Contact Robin O’Sullivan at email@example.com if you are interested. Click here for more information on becoming a sponsor.
Many thanks to our generous and loyal sponsors: Royal Chevrolet, Dominion Payroll Services, DPS GreenPay, Mako Builders, ETEC Mechanical Corporation, Automatic Leasing Services, Inc., O'Tooles Restaurant, Karn Custom Woodwork, Loveland Distributing Co., Inc., Atlantic Constructors, Inc., HandCraft Cleaners, Don and Michelle Mosier (Parents of John, Class of 2012), Capital Oil, Old Glory Companies Inc., Geoff McDonald & Associates, VMI Class of 1986, Spotts Fain, Witte Homes Solutions, F.W. Sullivan's Restaurant , and Private Stock.
Benedictine Is Turning 100!
Date: April 29, 2011
Time: 12:30 P.M. LUNCH IN THE LECTURE HALL
(Please enter the door between the school and the old rectory)
All Cadets who graduated between 1911 and 1966 are cordially invited.
Please bring your spouse.
RSVP to Robin O’Sullivan at (804) 342-1311 or
firstname.lastname@example.org by April 25th.
We are delighted to extend you an invitation to watch
Corps PT (special boxing activities) @ 1:30 p.m.
The Fr. Adrian Education Fund (annual fund) has a goal this year of $350,000.
We have raised $326,000 to date!
Every dollar counts, and so does every gift.
We hope you will consider making a gift to the fund.
(If you've already given, THANK YOU!)
We greatly appreciate your support.
|“Behold the Man” (John 19:5) - Homily from Father Gregory|
“Behold the Man” (John 19:5) -- Jesus Christ, Sovereign King of the Universe
Reflections on the New Motto of Benedictine High School
Very Rev. Gregory Gresko, OSB, STL, Prior
9 November 2010, Feast of Saint John Lateran
As the Church prepares for the conclusion of this liturgical year, always marked by the great solemn Feast of Christ the King, it is opportune to reflect for a few moments upon the Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Benedictine High School has chosen to be its new motto: “Behold the Man” (John 19:5). These words proclaimed by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate before the condemnation of Jesus Christ have borne serious theological and anthropological reflection throughout the ages, dating all the way back to the Beloved Apostle John himself. Saint John uses Pilate’s words to illustrate Jesus’ deeper meaning as the Son of Man, Who transforms earthly man into that man brought to perfect completion in Christ.
In examining the context of Pilate’s proclamation of these words to the crowds demanding Jesus’ crucifixion -- a most heinous and horrifying of capital punishments that was so severe, it was not permitted ever to subject a Roman citizen to it – we encounter a Roman official who struggles himself with being a man weak in moral fortitude. Indeed, it is difficult for us to determine who actually is on trial in this scene, Jesus Christ or Pontius Pilate, or who ultimately sits on the judgment seat mentioned only verses later. Exegetical scholars have debated both views throughout the ages, and plenty of arguments substantiate either interpretation. Also unclear and debated actively for generations of scholars is the tone used by Pontius Pilate in stating these three crucial words. Did the Roman governor proclaim them as a personal conviction? Was he speaking these words with contempt, regarding Jesus in His despicable condition and calling Him a king more mockingly, perhaps to appease the crowds and save Jesus’ life or to mock them for their own ridiculous condemnation of our Lord?
Regardless of Pilate’s attitude, the Beloved Apostle uses the words “Behold the Man” to call the Christian community throughout the ages to reflect on the Truth that God proclaims concerning Jesus through such a man as Pontius Pilate, perhaps even unbeknownst to the official. The Roman governor speaks the truth about Christ Jesus as King regardless of his own personal condition of heart and spirit, and irrespective of his personal knowledge or acknowledgement of Jesus as the Son of God and Sovereign King of the Universe. God has the power and right to articulate His Truth for His greatest glory through any created being in heaven or earth, with or without that being’s knowledge and consent. Perfect evidence of this fact is how at the name of Jesus, “every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Chriset is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10). God even stamps the image and likeness of Himself into every human being at our moment of being created, without our knowledge or consent! In this passage, Saint John quotes Pilate’s proclamation of Jesus as Man to indicate our Lord’s being indeed Man fully human and perfect, illustrating for us Him Who is quintessentially Man (in Greek, anthropos).
It is ironic that Pilate makes such a proclamation as “Behold the Man”, as he indicates by so doing that Jesus truly is Son of Man while as the speaker of the phrase certainly does not qualify as fully man himself and easily may have had other purposes in proclaiming Jesus thus. God uses a Roman governor whose weak spine and disintegrated character nonetheless do not hinder the Truth from being proclaimed through him concerning Jesus to be beheld by men of all ages. Curiously, Pontius Pilate speaks boldly and inflexibly when ordering “King of the Jews” to be placed as Jesus’ title – and we might say even his “crime” – on the patibulum, the placard that typically was carried in the procession of the criminal up to his place of crucifixion in order to announce his crime for the people to see. In one sense, Pilate clearly mandates the title to be written in order to provoke the Jews condemning Jesus to death to acknowledge Caesar as their only king, a sentiment that certainly would foment further resentment in the crowds who are living politically in an occupied state. In this manner though, he is able – at least temporarily – to cover himself politically, for he was regarded warily by the Roman Emperor Tiberias for his inability to manage peaceably the often volatile people of Judea, to the point where the emperor even would undermine his own governor. Pilate’s forcing their hand, so to speak, provides Pilate with much needed politically expedient cover and security in the clearly volatile situation at hand.
Ultimately, Pontius Pilate lacks the moral fortitude to do what he knows in his heart to be right, to stand up for the authentic truth concerning Jesus’ innocence. This perspective is further reinforced by Pilate’s numerous attempts -- in the different Passion accounts across all four Gospel narratives -- to call the crowd most seriously to reconsider its bloodlust. Pilate appeals to their reason by declaring, often repeatedly, that he has found their charges totally unsubstantiated. He has Jesus scourged in the hope that the people will relent. The more he talks with Jesus, the more fear strikes his heart in being compelled by the vicious crowds to condemn the innocent Jesus to death. His wife, whom it is fair for us to assume Pilate loves with an intimate heart, even pleads for him to “have nothing to do with that righteous man” (Matthew 27:19). Finally, Pilate makes it very clear through a public demonstration of his washing his hands that he is not guilty of their condemning Jesus to the Cross (Matthew 27:24), saying “I am innocent of this man’s blood”. It is clear that, deep down in his heart, Pilate knew fully well that the only right and good action would be for him to stand for true justice and defend Jesus, but he is in the end proven a coward in condemning our innocent Lord to death.
Lest we condemn Pilate for his lack of moral backbone, we must remember humbly that Jesus does not condemn him, articulating rather that the ones who have delivered the Son of Man into the hands of death are guilty of the greater sin. Pilate’s presence in the Passion account is a poignant reminder to every one of us of our own moral weakness, of the many times when we have failed to honor Jesus as our true King in a spirit of moral cowardice when our faith is put to the test. How many times have we betrayed our Lord by failing to stand up for what is right and good when we have witnessed injustice? How many times have we refused Jesus the rule due to God alone as King in our hearts and lives?
In such a context, “Behold the Man” becomes a most appropriate motto for our School to embrace. When we sin, we find ourselves in the position of Pilate, who fails ultimately to stand for what is right and with initially tragic results, death as the wages of sin. However, despite our weakness, we are able by God’s grace to behold the Man Who is fully human and free of sin, Him Whom we are called to emulate at every turn, the Man who stands in moral righteousness and courage despite the strongest winds of hell blowing against it. As we “behold the Man”, God transforms our moral weakness into moral courage and forms us more deeply as people in His own image. Benedictine embraces this goal as central to our reason for existence as a school: We are weak and must behold Christ Jesus in order to become strong, transformed into our Lord’s perfect image and likeness. In doing so, Jesus imprints His image and likeness more and more fully in our hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit, and we gradually become by His grace more fully human as ever more authentic reflections of Christ Himself.
At this conclusion of the liturgical year, may each one of us in the Benedictine family behold Christ Jesus as our sovereign King, so that He might always reign in our hearts, our families, and our world in a civilization of love that reflects His perfect Will. May our prayer be as our Lord’s: “Thy Kingdom Come, on earth as it is in Heaven.” May God bless Benedictine’s efforts to form young men of conscience, discipline, and achievement whose image of Jesus matures to perfection in their hearts, so that they may carry out the will of God fully in building His Kingdom both on earth and in Heaven. May Benedictine’s efforts be blessed by God so that we may point to our Cadets at the conclusion of their formation at our beloved School and say both in spirit in truth: Behold the man, encountering the image of Christ the Son of Man more fully matured in our students.