Dear St. X Parents, Students, and Friends,
I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the last few days of October. As our community prepares for the final two months of the first semester, we are grateful for the smooth and positive start to the year, excited about the wonderful experiences and opportunities our students and teachers are having, and extremely grateful for the families who have chosen to partner with us for their sons’ education and St. X experience.
The heart, strength, and resilience of the Saint Xavier community that we see reflected in this promising start is particularly meaningful this school year. Despite the obstacles our school community was left to face with the loss of our school president last May, the administration, faculty, and staff have accepted the reality of our situation, welcomed the additional responsibilities of our roles, and are marching on as servant leaders determined to continue the legacy that was left to us by the Xaverian Brothers, and all the current and former lay teachers and administrators of Saint Xavier. It is such an honor to serve as one of the academic leaders of this school, and every day I feel the love and support of the entire community as we move ahead.
As I live with and work through the healing of our school community, I often find myself reciting the abridged version of the Prayer for Serenity. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Of course, and as you can imagine, the lack of control isn’t always an easy thing to accept. Yet my faith teaches me to have hope, and I have great resolve and confidence that everything will be okay. As a parent, I have often talked to my children about how unpredictable life experiences can be and encouraged them to possess attitudes of gratitude because a grateful perspective can make a great difference in our lives. Indeed, as we have all been reminded, life will not always go as planned, but from that altered plan, there may come blessings they never could have imagined. Simply put from the words of the ancient Greek writer, Aesop, “Gratitude turns what you have into enough.”
As the Thanksgiving holiday draws near, Aesop’s words remind us that as we gather together, it is not just a time to thank God for the things that went well for us; it’s also about thanking Him for the strength and patience that each of us must cultivate when faced with disappointment. Maybe it’s also a time to thank Him for opening our minds to alternatives we couldn’t fathom or for reminding us that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.
This attitude can be difficult to achieve as we live in a society where MORE is supposed to make us happy. But I am reminded of the wandering mendicants in India who give up all worldly belongings. They carry a begging bowl and focus only on what lands in that bowl each day. They regard whatever is put into that bowl as both GOOD and ENOUGH. The meaning of Advent is the arrival of something or someone of importance. When we are grateful for whatever arrives in our bowl each day, we can revel in what we have rather than being disappointed that the gift didn’t meet our expectations.
A true celebration of Thanksgiving means living the season of Advent in gratitude for what we have and treasuring the fullness of God’s love in our lives, whether it comes in a form we anticipate or not. Through that lens, our lives are good and they are enough.
I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and Advent season!
Francisco M. Espinosa, Jr.