• Fr. Daniel Gifford

A GREAT ABUNDANCE

This weekend, friends, I want to discuss a very intriguing image which hangs inconspicuously in our church, in a place where I am quite certain most of us don’t even realize it is there. Hanging over the table which holds the gifts in one of the niches in the back of the Church, is the image of Madonna of the Pomegranate. The first thing I would like to share about it is that it always makes me think of my days in college at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, MN. This famous image by Italian

Renaissance artist Sandro Boticelli hung in one of the halls of the seminary, which I would often walk at all hours of the day and night, praying the rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet. Without knowing the name of the image or anything about it, I would often pause before this image, as it drew me in. Perhaps it was a factor that some of those times were at night, when most of the lights were off or turned low, but I never really noticed exactly what Mary was holding in her hand. Rather, perhaps I should say that I was struck by it, but without noticing what it actually was. I always thought of it as symbolizing the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Mary tenderly held in her hands, as she held her beloved Child. Clearly this was symbolism, since the “heart” was on the outside (and I do believe this is an important part of the intended symbolism), giving us all a glimpse of the tender love between Mother and Child, both for one another and for all of us. All those years, there was even more symbolism at play that I was missing. While I realized that she was holding a symbol of the Sacred Heart, I never noticed what that symbol actually is. It is a pomegranate. The pomegranate is a Judeo-Christian symbol that is evoked numerous times in both Scripture and religious art. Filled with an abundance of seeds, waiting to burst forth when it is cut open, this unique fruit has been used as a symbol of the Resurrection and of eternal life. As Mary holds her Child with a tender love, she also holds this symbol meant to show us that He carries within Himself an abundance of eternal life by His Resurrection, waiting to pour forth for all of His children. Consider the images we reflected upon the past two weeks: the glory of God hidden within the tabernacle (last week) and the Divine Mercy (two weeks ago) pouring forth from His Heart, when it is broken open by a lance upon the cross. What an abundance of Mercy and Grace the Lord has waiting for each and every one of us. This week, as we consider the example of the widow in the parable in the Gospel, who persistently goes pleading before the judge, may we be empowered to persevere in our pleading before the Lord, confident that He has hidden within His Sacred Heart an abundance of grace, waiting to pour forth for us.

LIFE CHAIN THANKS: Speaking of being persistent about going before the Lord asking boldly for what we need, I want to thank all who participated in the Life Chain earlier this month. This silent witness of prayer for life is more than just a public demonstration. While it is a peaceful public witness, it is also a time of quiet prayer vigil for life. Thank you to Rita Tracey for organizing, as well as all who came out to participate.

CONTINUED PRAYERS FOR LIFE: Next weekend, we continue our prayers for life and for the Mercy of God to pour forth for every human life, as we pray for those participating in the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. Let us pray that all those who are suffering from the pain of an abortion experience may consider the abundance of Mercy, Grace, and New Life waiting within the Sacred Heart for them.

DAY OF RECOLLECTION THANKS: One virtue we need in order to be so bold about going before the Lord is humility. You may have heard me say it before, but: authentic humility does not make us shy; it makes us bold. It reminds us that it’s not about us, but it is the Lord who brings about the good we desire. This humility becomes a foundation for our prayer. I am grateful that we had a chance to reflect more deeply on this by our Day of Recollection this weekend. I have acknowledged Dr. Lawrence Feingold, our spiritual guide for the day. Today, I also want to acknowledge and thank Susanna Prushinski for all of her hard work in the planning and execution of another great Day of Recollection.

A NIGHT OF FUN: Because of the newness of life offered to us, we have much cause for joy. It is good to simply come together as a community and share in that joy together. Next Saturday night, after Mass, we will have such an opportunity with our Parish Bingo Night. Details can be found elsewhere in this bulletin. I hope you can join us. Again, thanks to Laury Mavity and her team for their help in organizing this fun night.

In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Gifford

St. Louis, pray for us!

Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!

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