What I Said at the First Day of School Prayer Service

Let us remember

That we are in the Holy Presence of God.

Welcome to the first day of school. The first day of a whole new year. Right now this could be the best year of your life. Right now in this moment, everything good is possible. You could, from this second forward, choose to live in God’s light. Because the truth is you are in the holy presence of God all the time. You could choose to take care of yourself as if you truly understood that. You could choose to take care of others as though you truly understood that you are always in the Holy Presence of God.

You could choose from this moment on to get your work done, to make healthy choices, and to choose to treat people with kindness and mercy.

You could choose to do your math homework every single night.

You could choose to do all the reading.

You could choose to raise your hand and ask a question when you don’t understand something.

You could choose to be on task.

You could choose to invite that kid sitting alone to sit with you and your friends. You could choose to say yes to someone who asks you for help. You could choose to reach out to someone who seems to be in trouble. You could choose to be the one person a kid can talk to because he or she knows you will be kind.

Think about that for just one second. All of the power of the sum total of all of those Christ-centered choices are within your reach right now. You could have that. All of that. You deserve it. It already exists. It’s up to you to take it by making the choices that put you in the way of success and friendship.

Sometimes things won’t work out. Sometimes you’ll study or work hard and you still won’t get it right. Sometimes you’ll mean to study but you’ll go online instead and then you’ll fail. Sometimes the person you like will not like you back.

What do you do then?

I’m here to tell you brothers and sisters that you have to take heart and keep going in the knowledge that there is nobody better than you. You were born in the perfection of God’s love, and there is nothing to fix. And when I say there is nothing to fix, I don’t mean there is no way you can improve and grow. I mean that there is no limit to how you can improve and grow. You have within you a deep well of God’s love and mercy, and that is an infinite power source. All you have to do is be quiet for a second. All you have to do is open your heart to our brother Christ who loves you.

Isaiah 4:13 tells us: For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”

And in the Gospel of John, Jesus makes it clear: As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Live on in my love. You will live in my love if you keep my commandments, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and live in his love. All this I tell you that my joy may be yours and your joy may be compete. This is my commandment: Love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this; To lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

My brothers and sisters, how powerful you are already, for you are made by God, you are made of God and you are always in the presence of a loving God who loves you. Wrap your brain around that on your first day of school. You are an incredibly powerful person. Use your power for good today. No matter what, use your power for good every day.

Now take a deep breath. Bow your heads and pray with me as we prepare ourselves for a fabulous new school year at Christian Brothers High School.

My brothers and sisters we are gathered together

At the start of this yellow brick road no matter the weather

You’ve got six or seven classes and homework are you stressin’?

Teachers must be crazy or maybe you better learn a lesson

You’ve got some choices to make kids, now more than ever

But you’ve got this so here let me pull the lever

Our family bond is so strong no storm could ever hope to sever

You work hard and you’re strong and you’re ready for this endeavor

Beloved students, you were made in God’s perfection,

You don’t need to run for love, you already won the election.

This is straight outta Sacramento

Let me give you this memento

This is straight outta God’s mercy

This is straight outta where we go to school

You think you’re ready for this?

Are you ready for this?

This is straight outta love for one another

This is straight outta what it means to be a Brother.

You’re surrounded by love, not alone, never

St. John Baptiste de la Salle, Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts FOREVER.

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