SEEK THE SILENCE
Updated: Oct 14, 2019
Every senior class has a coat-of-arms that they design based upon the themes and mentality that they wish to embody during their time at the Academy and most especially during their senior year.
The Class of 2020 has put forward a coat-of-arms as impressive in its looks as it is in its meaning.
The scene is striking. A white garbed monk stands at attention. He is a monk of the Carthusian Order, the most austere and committed monastic order of the Catholic Church. The reason for this monk is because the class in their freshman year chose St. Bruno, the founder of the Carthusian Order, as their class patron. The austerity and toughness of body, mind and spirit of the Carthusians is how the class wishes to mark the Academy and every year of their lives after graduation. Not necessarily a monastic austerity, but a profound understanding that only through self denial can one be the man of God that they are each called to be.
The monk holds a round shield that is split into darkness and light. The bottom half of the shield symbolizes the darkness of night, the intensity of self denial. A skull surrounded by seven stars symbolizes St. Bruno and his original seven followers. During the days of St. Bruno, the local bishop had a dream foretelling St. Bruno and his order by a vision of these stars in the night sky. From the death of self denial and through the narrow Gate of Dawn comes the light of true life . This is a symbol of their Patroness, Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn. The life of Catholic toughness of soul and body is a narrow road full of trials and obstacles. It is a life only for the strong and the brave. But all along that path, they will see standing strong in the distance their Mother, the Queen of Victories, showing them the way and giving them an example to live and be inspired by.
The monk is standing in a cold and harsh winter tundra leading up into the mountains. The Carthusians live for the cold. It is where they face the reality of death to all that is not necessary. It is in the cold winter where they understand that only what leads to God is important and everything else is nothing. It is the winter where they face the greatest trials and testing of their will. Most survive the winter thinking of the coming spring and warmth it brings. Only the hard and strong face the winter cold and embrace it, battle against it and are strengthened by it. For the weak it brings suffering and discomfort. For the hard and strong, winter brings challenge, endurance and greater strength. And for these few, winter ultimately brings death. But once again, this is not a useless death but rather the death of self and ego. The birch trees that shoot up and around the monk like a gate in itself, are, according to American Indian legend, a sign of rebirth and renewal. It is from this cold and bitter winter, where the Catholic spirit is truly tested, that the rebirth of the soul given completely to its God will be brought about.
The monk also stands strong and erect recalling the motto of the Carthusian Order - "The Cross Stands Still While the World Turns". Although everything will be chaos and distraction around them, they will stand at attention; resilient and unwavering and determined to push past all limitations set by the world and the enemy.
The background displays where the monk is headed. He is walking to the mountains. He seeks to be rid of all that will distract him from the prize. St. Bruno referred to the Carthusians as the "great athletes of God" and it is this idea that the monk now seeks. He knows what his goal is; God alone. And he is ready and willing to suffer all and to be rid of all in order to attain the prize.
The final mark of this stunning coat-of-arms is the motto - Quaerite Silentium. Seek The Silence. The silence that they seek is not necessarily a material one. The silence is a state of being, a way of life. A great man knows what he wants and in order to focus on that one thing, he drowns out all the noise that will stop him from reaching that goal and embraces whatever pain it might cost in order to attain it. Whether that be pride, human respect, selfishness, vanity, bad friends or various attachments, all is to be left for "The Silence" in order to be the man that God has created each of them to be. The world tells them it is impossible to be great for God. But when they silence the distracting noise of the world and its weak taunts, they realize that with their God and their Mother - everything is attainable, every battle against self is winnable, and the great crown of Glory is within their grasp.
St. Bruno, pray for us.
Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, pray for us.