Fr. Daniel Gifford
Built For Joy!
Dear St. Louis Parishioners,
We conclude our Advent reflection on the Old Testament, by considering the Writings, also known as Wisdom Literature. These books contain writings generally attributed to various figures in Salvation History, which are not historical narratives or prophecy given to be handed down, but reflections guided by the Holy Spirit (like all human authors of Sacred Scripture) on how the wisdom of God’s plan is manifest in all of its beauty and wonder in creation, in salvation history, in the law, in the structure of the Temple, and even in human love. For example, the Psalms are traditionally attributed to David the King, who first came into Saul’s court as a young man to calm his spirit with his music.
Thus, these beautiful songs of prayer represent the dynamic and heartfelt relationship of God with His people, through many experiences in history, and have been said to feature the myriad of human emotions we all experience. Meanwhile, King Solomon, his son, is the one with whom much of the remaining Wisdom books (Proverbs, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach) are associated. As a young king, Solomon had already just enough wisdom to recognize that the one thing he needed most was true wisdom, from the Source: God Himself. So, he asked and he received, such that he was renowned through the ages as the paramount model of wisdom. Yet, strikingly, his later actions of taking gentile wives who turned him toward idolatry proved that he was not immune to foolishness and wickedness. Thus, the theme of contrasting wisdom with foolishness, and righteousness (which puts this wisdom into practice) with wickedness (which fails to do so), is a recurring theme throughout Wisdom Literature. Meanwhile, Qoheleth is a Wisdom author of whom we know much less, besides that he gives us a striking reflection on the vanity of all created things, in light of the infinite greatness of the Creator, in Ecclesiastes. The most unique book in the list might be Job, which contains a parable of sorts of a righteous man, whose righteousness is put to the test by great suffering. This leads to an ongoing conversation, which takes up the bulk of the book, representing the many incomplete human attempts to understand human suffering, until the Lord Himself finally speaks. This unique style of storytelling is found in a few other books of the Bible, which also read almost like parables, and may in fact be intended to be so, although they are grouped as Historical (ie. Tobit, Judith) or Prophetic (Jonah) Books. In various ways, we see the message throughout Wisdom Literature that there is beauty and wonder in the plan of God, and fulfillment is found in righteousness. Thus, we must learn to trust our Creator, knowing we are built for joy, which we find in Him.
MORE REASON TO REJOICE: Speaking of being built for joy, we are blessed with many wonderful facilities, which require our care. Toward this end, I am happy to share with you that Bill Uher has taken on the task of overseeing our parish Maintenance. As a longtime parishioner, he is very familiar with our facilities and has a strong investment in attending to them. He has been putting his background and talent to good use for us, in this capacity, for almost two weeks now. And we are already seeing improvement and great hope for continuing to grow as good stewards of all we have been blessed with, in order to make of use of it for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Alleluia!
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!