Fr. Daniel Gifford
This weekend, we reflect on another of the windows in the nave of our church, which is simultaneously very striking and very puzzling. I will begin simply by confessing that I don’t really know for certain what the intended representation in the window actually is. I can only acknowledge what the images contained within are and then begin to reflect upon what they seem to speak of. The window depicts an orb with a cross on top, both of which are resting on an open book. The cross and the orb are evocative of the badge of the Carthusian Order, founded by Saint Bruno in the Eleventh Century. On that Carthusian image, beneath the orb and the cross are the words of the motto: Stat crux, dum volvitur orbis (The Cross Is Steady While The World Is Turning). These words of wisdom apply to us all, whatever our vocations. As the world turns, even when it seems that very little remains steady and constant, the cross stands at the center, reliable, fixed and firm. This is not meant to be a pessimistic indication that suffering is indeed the only
constant in life. For Christians, the cross is more than suffering. It is our salvation. It is compassion. It is our only hope (Ave Crux Spes Unica). Christ has transformed the cross. It was created as the ultimate instrument of torture and humiliation, used for execution. It was indeed the ultimate symbol of suffering. Christ made it the source of our salvation. The constant in life, then, is not merely suffering. It is the awareness that, even in the midst of our suffering, which may indeed seem to be a reliable certainty, which we ought to learn to expect… we are not alone and it is not meaningless. Christ suffers with us. He carries our crosses with us. And He will not turn away from them and abandon them, because He will not abandon us. He is nailed to our crosses. As we learn to carry them with Him, to be nailed to them with Him, not giving up, He makes them redemptive and even instrumental for our salvation and the salvation of others. So, as the world turns, as everything around us seems to be in flux, it is constant and sure that we can be certain that Christ will be there. Opening the Book, spending time with the Lord in the Scriptures, especially through Lectio Divina, helps us to recognize that. It helps us to find Him in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the world turning. This summer, as summers tend to be, has indeed been such a time for seemingly constant flux. Personally, I have been many places, with various people, for various reasons - retreat, mission trip, and a vacation that consisted largely of a road trip from one city in a foreign state to another! In the midst of it all, Christ remained constant. He was always with me, as He is always with us all! Since then, we have hit the ground running, as Saint Louis Parish went from two straight weeks of many funerals and hosting a visiting priest, to our annual Totus Tuus program, including the launch of Totus Tots! The world indeed keeps turning. The cross continually needs carrying. So, one thing is constant, steady and reliable: Christ has always been there, working through it all, drawing hearts nearer to Himself. In the coming weeks, this ongoing change will continue and reach new stages, as we draw very near to the end of the summer and the “back to school” season. Families will be busy preparing for this in many ways. As for our parish family, we are excitedly preparing for a new season of growth for children, teens and adults alike, for opportunities to grow together as intentional disciples of Jesus Christ in the Heart of His Church. With confidence, we turn all of these efforts over to the One who is constant in the midst of it all, the One who brings meaning and salvific power to the crosses that we carry. All is a gift from Him, so we turn it back over to Him. To quote the motto of another religious family (The Society of Jesus, a.k.a. Jesuits): Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam! All for the greater glory of God!
SAVE THE DATE: As we begin to think about the fall, please mark your calendars for Sunday, August 25. This is a date I encourage you to always remember, as it is our parish feast day, The Feast of Saint Louis IX of France! This year, we have a special treat, as it falls on Sunday. Both in order to celebrate our feast day in due measure and also to focus on the quality of our events, rather than multiplying the quantity of them, we are going to combine this celebration with the Fall Kick-off, which last year included both a parish potluck and activities fair. So, we hope you can join us and be a part of our Saint Louis Celebration: Parish Feast Day, Potluck and Activities Fair, after the 10:30 Mass on Sunday, August 25th. See you then.
JUST KEEP SWIMMING: I would like to reiterate the invitation you’ve seen in the bulletin the last few weeks, I encourage all families to join us for our end of summer Family Pool Party on Saturday, August 3rd. Thank you to Laury Mavity for organizing this event for our parish family.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!