St. Teresa of Avila

submitted by Jack Zizza, 8th grade student

Saint Teresa of Avila is known for many quotable quotes. This, is perhaps one of her most famous quotes. She wrote, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on Earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, and you are his body. Christ has no body now on Earth but yours.” In this essay I will explain each part of this quote and what it means to me, and how experiences in my life, and support of Tyburn Academy, have prepared me to put this quote into action.

“Christ has no body now but yours.  No hands, no feet on earth but yours.”

             When picking a word to summarize this quote, I think of the term apostolate. The term apostolate applies to people who continue spreading God’s word around the world. We are called to be an apostolate and spread the Good News. This quote is telling us to use our talents to help spread the Good News.

“Yours are the eyes though which he looks compassion on this world.”

Compassion means to have pity or concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.  This does not mean to feel sorry for the person, rather, it is a desire to alleviate the suffering of another person.  Christ encourages all of us to have mercy on each other.  In order to have mercy, one must first have a tender heart.  Jesus also encourages his followers to be moved by compassion.  Again, when our heart is pure and we allow this to be our guiding force, we come from a place of purity.  People will often begin to question their faith in hard times, but this is exactly when faith is strongest, for those who follow Christ’s word will also provide compassion to those in need.

“Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.”

All of Christ’s followers are examples of Him.  It is through our good deeds that he lives on.  Christ’s “good deeds” are all those things that please him.  When we walk for him, doing good, our goal is not only to continue with his good deeds, but also to increase the good deeds through knowledge of God.  Christ should be at the root of our good work, with the good work being the fruit which we bear.  We hear this in the phrase, “There by the grace of God go I”.  Christians are able to be fruitful in their good work, because of our position with God. God blesses us to be able to do chartable work. In Colossians chapter one, it is written: Your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all the saints, [is] because of the hope which you [have] in heaven, of which you [have] heard in the word [and] truth of the gospel, which has come to you, [and the whole world], is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you head and knew the grace of God in truth.

“Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.”

It is through our work and words that we do well for Christ.  In the verse, “Bless the Lord, O my soul”, it means that we must do God’s goodness from the purity of our soul.  Through our work we praise Him. In the Bible, Christ blesses people by laying his hands on them. The same can be seen today at mass when the priest blesses those who are unable to receive communion by laying his hands on them. This also shows us that they are apostolate’s by following in the tradition of Christ and the apostles.  It is by our actions that we revere, fear and respect God, and the sacrifices he made for us. 

“Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.

 Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

Through our work on Earth we serve God.  Work is an investment of our abilities and our way to contribute good in our society.  Our goal is to match our work with the love of our talents, and to let it carry us through challenges or problems.  God calls us to invest in our lives and those around us, so that we may become who He wanted us to be.  This is not to be confused with trying to make a lot of money.  Jobs are about money; work is about life.  Work is internally driven from the spirit, which is directly given to us from God.  It is not what you own, but rather understanding that your work is more important than you.

When I reflect upon this quote I think of my involvement in Perform 4 Purpose. Perform 4 Purpose is a non-profit organization that raises money form various organizations around the Cayuga County. I have been their drummer for the past 6 years. We have raised over $700,000 for the community. The shows are spreading joy, hope and the gift of music. St. Tereasa of Avila wrote about doing good, and I think raising money for charitable events puts doing good into action.

A Catholic school education can help you hone your particular skill set and help you spread God’s word.  Tyburn Academy helps to prepare me to put St. Teresa of Avila’s quote into action.  My belief is that Tyburn focuses on educating the whole person, as opposed to solely teaching us subjects.  We are taught about the importance of giving back and living by Christ’s teachings.

God created humankind to ultimately become His children (Revelation 21:7).  Our greatest gift to God is to fulfill our purpose in life as He created us.  Besides teaching us academics, attending a Catholic school educates us spiritually by teaching us how to be good Christians and educates us on matters of Theology. Attending a Catholic school helps to nurture this purpose and encourages us to reach our full potential.

 

Existence of God

submitted by Conor O'Donnell, teacher-Theology, Logic, History, Government

In a recent Confirmation Prep discussion that I oversaw, one of my students stated that he believed in God because of the bible. While this is a beautiful act of Faith, most Atheists claiming to be the voice of reason could easily refute his testimony as being childish and turn it against him. An Atheist might state, “Several books about Christmas tell me Santa Claus is real, should I believe them?” and the reality is that the 2 arguments share a parallel structure (both claim the existence of something based off a book)

 

Indeed, claiming the existence of God based on the authority of the bible is a childish thought process, and I mean that in a good way. Jesus himself said “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3). While we are called to move forward in life with child-like faith, our Lord also gives us another commandment elsewhere, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16).

 

In an intellectual discussion, appealing to the bible as proof of the existence of God is an argument based on an appeal to an authority, which is the weakest form of argumentation. If there is no mutual respect for the authority being appealed to, it will be an entirely unconvincing argument. For example, between Catholics it should be sufficient to argue that contraception is wrong based on an appeal to the fact that it is a teaching of the Catholic Church. However, if this was going to be my argument when I encounter an non-Catholic volunteer at Planned Parenthood, little to no progress would be made in our discussion because there would be little to no respect for the authority I was appealing to on the part of the volunteer.

 

Because we live in a world of wolves (atheists who attack our belief in God for example), it important that we heed Christ’s words and become as wise as serpents. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

 

Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of "converging and convincing arguments", which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These "ways" of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.

 

As St. Paul says of the Gentiles: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made” (Rom 1:19-20)

 

The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe.

 

Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith. The proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason. (CCC 31, 32, 35)


Having established that as Catholics, we ought to understand that the existence of God is knowable by reason, we shall begin examining some the proofs for God’s existence that are provided by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica. That way, the next time someone asks us why we believe in God, we can give them an answer that will make them really think.

The Importance of Mission & Curriculum

What is the curriculum of the Catholic School?  Leaders of the Church have written many documents for the purpose of putting in place a foundation for all Catholic schools.  At Tyburn Academy our mission is unique to our community and those we serve, however, it points in an upward direction towards the mission of the Church.

“The curriculum is how the school community makes explicit its goals and objectives, the content of its teaching and the means for communicating it effectively.”
                                                                                -Educating for Intercultural Dialogue #64

WHAT IS TAUGHT:
“The various school subjects do not present only knowledge to be attained, but also values to be acquired and truths to be discovered.”  
                                                -The Catholic School on the Threshold of Third Millennium, #14

At Tyburn Academy we set our standards high for achievement.  We know that forming virtue in our students brings about good habits which is integral to formation. Virtue leads us to discover what is true, what is good and what is beautiful. It gives us a sense of purpose.

IN WHAT CONTEXT IT IS TAUGHT:
“But it’s proper function is to create for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity, to help youth grow according to the new creatures they were made through baptism as they develop their own personalities, and finally to order the whole of human culture to the news of salvation so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life and man is illumined by faith.”
                                                                               -The Catholic School #39

At Tyburn Academy our commitment to spiritual growth is key to our vibrant joyful atmosphere. This atmosphere provides the best learning environment to nurture the potential of each student.

HOW IT IS TAUGHT:
“Individual subjects may be taught according to their own particular methods. …They enable the pupil to assimilate skills, knowledge, intellectual methods and moral and social attitudes, all of which help to develop his personality and lead him to take his place as an active member or the community of man.”
                                                                                -The Catholic School #39

At Tyburn Academy we provide a college preparatory program rooted in the classical liberal arts. We educate the whole person; mind, body and soul. This means that we allow a natural maturity process that builds confidence and dignity in each individual encouraging them to be competitive in a healthy way. Our curriculum reflects standards that exceed NY State requirements and it reflects a methodology that encourages the students to actively participate in the classroom. Teachers utilize their talents, wisdom and reason to create the best learning environment for their particular subject. We do not allow ourselves to fall into a hyper vigilant mindset to constantly change what we do. We make thoughtful and prudent changes as we see necessary to provide our students with the proper tools for success.  

 

TO WHOM IT IS TAUGHT:

“The Catholic school sets out to be a school for the human person and of human persons...in the awareness that all human values find their fulfillment and unity in Christ.”
                                       -The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium #9
At Tyburn Academy we have a distinct community of families from different academic, faith and socio-economic backgrounds. We have students who have excelled to a National Merit Scholarship level. We also have students who require special assistance.  We make prudent budget decisions that enable us to cut wasteful spending, keep tuition low and provide financial assistance.

 

BY WHOM IT IS TAUGHT:

“Most of all, students should be able to recognize authentic human qualities in their teachers. They are teachers of the faith; however, they must also be teachers of what it means to be human.”
                                                  -The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School #96

At Tyburn Academy we believe that teaching is a vocation; not simply a profession. Our teachers create a familial environment where each student is loved and respected.

 

FOR WHAT PUPOSE:

“For a true education aims at the formation of the human person in the pursuit of his ultimate end and of the good of the societies of which, as man, he is a member, and in whose obligation, as an adult, he will share.”
                                                                             -Declaration on Christian Education # 1

At Tyburn Academy we are building the leaders that will shape future generations. We often ask, “What kind of world are we leaving our children?” We should also ask, “What kind of children are we giving to the world?”